Guest List (Foley)

The Guest List 
Lucy Foley, 2020
HarperCollins
320 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780062868930


Summary
A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one.

— The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star.
— The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher.

It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human.

As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—1985
Where—London, England, UK
Education—Durham University; University College London
Currently—lives in London, England


Lucy Foley is a British novelist, born and still living in London. She is best known for her works of historical fiction, but she also published two murder mysteries, The Hunting Party (2019) and The Guest List (2020).

After studying English Literature at Durham University in Northeast England and University College London, Foley worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry, before leaving to write full-time. The Hunting Party was inspired by a particularly remote spot in Scotland that fired her imagination.

Foley's historical novels—The Book of Lost and Found (2015), The Invitation (2016) and Last Letter from Istanbul (2018)—have been translated into sixteen languages. Her journalism has appeared in ES Magazine, Sunday Times Style, Grazia and more. (Adapted from Amazon.)



Book Reviews
Evoking the great Agatha Christie classics. Lucy Foley’s clever, taut new novel,… takes us to a creepy island off the coast of Ireland…. Foley builds her suspense slowly and creepily, deploying an array of narrators bristling with personal secrets…. Pay close attention to seemingly throwaway details about the characters’ pasts. They are all clues.
New York Times Book Review


[E]ntertaining if uneven ... Foley defers disclosing the murder victim’s identity until quite late, but she undercuts the suspense with obvious indications of who it is.… [Still,] readers seeking thrills will find plenty.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review) Foley outdoes herself again with this page-turning thriller…. Only a handful of thriller writers can accomplish what Foley does here: weave a complex plot from the perspectives of eight characters plus an omniscient narrator without causing confusion. —Adriana Delgado, West Palm Beach, FL
Library Journal


At times the story threatens to overwhelm itself with a bit too much ominous darkness and "anxious distraction," but fans of the genre will enjoy the proceedings, imagining just how good that sumptuous wedding cake might have tasted.
Booklist



Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, please use our GENERIC MYSTERY QUESTIONS to start a discussion for THE GUEST LIST then take off on your own:



GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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