Survivor Meets Agatha Christie
The Guest List
By: Lucy Foley
As a child, I loved playing the game Clue. I remember being invited to a Clue themed party in third grade and how disappointed I was because I had to play the part of Professor Plum, dressing up as him for the party – pipe and all. To this day, my children and I play this game often and watch the movie from 1985 starring Tim Curry as the Butler and Lesley Ann Warren as the infamous Miss Scarlett. As a child, I always wanted to be Miss Scarlett, but so did every little girl. No one wanted to be the matronly Mrs. Peacock and certainly not Professor Plum. 35 years later, the game still provides so much entertainment for my family. Who doesn’t like to try and solve a mystery? Clue is suspenseful enough to keep us on our toes without being too scary.
If you are a fan of Clue, you will absolutely love The Guest List, by Lucy Foley. This highly entertaining whodunit invites readers to take part in a wedding that is set on a brooding and mysterious island off the coast of Ireland. Jules, the bride is a beautiful and successful magazine owner. Will, the groom, is the star of a reality TV show called Survive the Night. Their wedding is the event of the season. Every detail has been carefully orchestrated down to the perfect wedding cake that was brought over by boat, piece by piece. The narrators of this story are the bride, the mate of honor’s plus one, the best man, the wedding planner, the bridesmaid, and the dead body. On page one of the book, you learn that a murder has been committed, and the big question is who dies? Your job as the reader is to figure out who died, and of course what was the killer’s motive?
Will, is movie-star handsome and dresses like he stepped out of Saville Row in London. He was raised with a perfect pedigree and educated at all the “right” schools. His father was the Headmaster of Trevellyan, the boarding school that Will and his 4 groomsmen attended. The television show that he now stars in, is based on a game that they played at Trevellyan called Survivor. As the story goes on, you come to discover that this is no ordinary childhood game. Their experiences more closely resembled Lord of the Flies where only the strong survive.
Jules, the beautiful and successful bride has her best friend from childhood, Charlie perform her “mate of honor” duties. Charlie taught Jules to sail when she was younger, and still may be in love with her despite the fact that he is married to Hannah, his plus one. Hannah can’t be too happy about their close relationship.
Olivia is Jules’ younger half-sister. She spends most of the weekend in her room or walking out by the bog staring at the sea. Olivia has always been their mother’s favorite and because of this, there is deep animosity between the sisters.
Johnno, Will’s best man and former classmate, has always been a little bitter because he was on scholarship at Trevellyan and the boys never let him forget it. Now in his 30s, he still hasn’t managed to get his life together and clearly holds some resentment towards Will who seems to have it all.
Aoife, the wedding planner, owns the Folly, the stately castle-like structure on the island. She has purchased it in hopes of it becoming an exclusive wedding destination for the wealthiest jet setters. While we don’t know her connection to the island, we know that she has been coming since she was a child and has a very dark and mysterious secret. She is married to Freddy, her partner and chef, who seems like a very creepy guy.
What seems like the perfect wedding weekend, in the perfect setting, is actually a gathering of old friends who still hold strong feelings, deep resentments, and secrets that have never been shared. As the champagne is popped, and alcohol starts to loosen people’s tongues, long-buried tensions start to emerge staging the perfect setting for a crime. While the island is beautiful, mysterious, and remote, it also holds secrets from a dark past of disappearances, drownings, and deaths, setting the stage for a deep and dark mystery.
As in the game of Clue, Foley, has planted several hints throughout each narrator’s story, so that you will try and solve the puzzle on your own. But she is very good at throwing you off the trail. In the glittering, high society crowd of 150 guests, anyone could be a suspect.
You will get a strong sense of each of the characters while being thoroughly entertained throughout! This is a quick page-turner and an easy read. Take it with you to the beach or pop it in your bag for a great vacation read.
The Guest List
By: Lucy Foley
Publication Date: June 2, 2020