The Guest List by Lucy Foley is a locked-room mystery in the style of Agatha Christie. It had all the hallmarks of a great mystery, but I want to talk about most is setting, which is a surprise here on a character-focused book blog.
The Guest List
The Guest List by Lucy Foley is really about the guest list. To an exclusive wedding that is.
The cast of characters travel to a remote island off the coast of Ireland for the high class wedding of Jules and Will. As with any big gathering, there are different people from different parts of the bride and groom’s lives, and the mixing of them can cause confusion and in this case, murder.
I don’t often talk about setting on this book blog, but I’ve been reading a lot of locked-room mysteries lately and it occurred to me how important setting can be.
In this case, the setting is a remote island but more it’s The Folly, an old ancestral home full of rambling passages and dark corners.
You know from the get go something bad is going to happen. The right setting can conjure that feeling of tension and unease immediately, and The Folly does that.
I love the description of the ferry ride over, and I particularly enjoyed it as told from the character of Hannah. Hannah is sort of the outsider to this wedding, having married the best friend of the bride.
I loved that we get the ferry journey from Hannah’s perspective because she is the outsider, like us the reader, and we get introduced to the island through a relatable lens.
And Then There Were None
The Guest List has strong Agatha Christie vibes, especially close to And Then There Were None. I’ve talked about the BBC distributed adaptation of this mystery book here on the book blog before, and I would refer you to that discussion if you’re not familiar with this Christie work.
The reason I drew these parallels between The Guest List and And Then There Were None is because of the feeling of isolation drawn immediately from the beginning of the story and the fact that the characters are, indeed, guests. There’s something about being invited to one’s own murder, isn’t there?
Who Should Read The Guest List
If you like…
- Locked room mysteries
- Classic whodunits
- A strong setting
You’ll enjoy The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
I recommend listening to this one in audiobook format if you’re keen to audio. The reason being is the story is told from multiple character perspectives, and it can sometimes get confusing. I found the audiobook version to be incredibly entertaining, and it made it far easier to follow each character.