Q&A: Lucy Foley, Author of THE HUNTING PARTY
Fans of Agatha Christie and Ruth Ware, listen up: today’s featured book is for you! I’m thrilled to welcome Lucy Foley to Crime by the Book today to discuss her brand-new suspense novel, THE HUNTING PARTY - available today, February 12th! This stylish, atmospheric suspense novel takes the concept of the “locked room mystery” and applies it to a luxurious hunting lodge in the Scottish highlands, where a group of friends find themselves snowed in during a blizzard. Part ode to classic crime in the style of Agatha Christie, part modern story of psychological suspense, THE HUNTING PARTY is seriously entertaining and appealing on so many levels. From its claustrophobic premise to its swoon-worthy locale and juicy interpersonal secrets, THE HUNTING PARTY is a fantastic choice for winter reading. Fans of Ruth Ware - and readers who just plain love a fun, engaging suspense read - will find Lucy Foley’s newest release right up their alley.
I’m thrilled to share a Q&A with Lucy Foley on THE HUNTING PARTY with CBTB readers today! In this Q&A, Lucy shares the real-life inspiration behind her book, the characters at the heart of her story, her next project (another murder mystery that sounds fantastic!), and a whole lot more. Many thanks to Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions, and to her publisher for facilitating this Q&A. Read on for details on THE HUNTING PARTY (including a snippet from my “Buzzworthy 2019 Books” post!), and my Q&A with Lucy Foley!
This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. This in no way affects my opinion of the books included in this post.
THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley
Everyone's invited...everyone's a suspect...
For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.
All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?
From My “Buzzworthy 2019 Books” Post:
What do you get when you cross an Agatha Christie-inspired plot, a stylish-yet-rugged atmosphere, and some seriously dark secrets between old friends? Enter Lucy Foley’s addictive, binge-worthy suspense novel THE HUNTING PARTY. A college reunion over New Year’s Eve goes very wrong when a snowstorm descends, trapping the friends in the luxury lodge where they’re spending their holiday. As claustrophobia mounts and old secrets rear their ugly heads, things get darker still… and when one of the group is found dead, the truth is clear: one among them is a murderer. Fans of Ruth Ware will find much to love in Foley’s deliciously atmospheric and transportive writing. Come for the book’s classic crime-inspired premise, stay for its delectable drama and sly plotting—you’ll be left guessing “whodunnit” until the book’s final shocking pages. | Continue Reading
Author Q&A: Lucy Foley
THE HUNTING PARTY
Crime by the Book: First things first - thank you for taking the time to stop by Crime by the Book to give us the inside scoop on your fantastic suspense novel, The Hunting Party! Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
Lucy Foley: Thank you! Delighted to be here. The Hunting Party is about a group of Londoners, old friends since their days at Oxford University, who travel up to a remote hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate New Year’s. This has become a bit of a tradition for them, but this year the isolation and wilderness — for which they’re so ill-equipped — brings out something darker in them and things go very wrong. At first it’s all fun and games: drinking champagne, partying, reminiscing about times past. But gradually old resentments and buried secrets begin to surface. On the morning of New Year’s Day, in the heaviest snowfall the estate has seen in decades, a broken body is found in the snow… whodunnit?
CBTB: The Hunting Party centers around a group of friends who reunite every year to celebrate New Year's Eve together. Could you give us a little rundown of the story’s key characters? If you had to choose a favorite character, who would it be and why?
LF: The key figures in the group of friends are probably Miranda, Katie and Emma — they’re the point of view characters, we see things narrated from their perspectives.
Miranda has been the “golden girl” of the group since Oxford — brilliant, beautiful and confident, she’s their self-appointed ringleader. But things since university haven’t worked out quite as well as she had expected, as she feels she’s ‘owed’ — both in her home life and career — and she harbours some serious disappointments as a result.
Katie’s career, meanwhile, is going fantastically. She’s a lawyer in the city and at work people respect her, look up to her. But in this group she’s always forced back into her role of Miranda’s slightly less brilliant friend, shy and awkward, and she resents this. She’s also hiding some pretty big secrets.
Emma is the newest member of the group — she’s the “new” girlfriend of Mark, one of the other friends. She’s bored of being reminded of it constantly by the others, who have their in-jokes and shared rituals that she’s excluded from. She’s tried to validate her position in the group by organising this trip and is desperate for everything to work out perfectly.
In a way, Miranda’s probably by favourite character, because she was the most fun to write. She’s larger-than-life, she jumps off the page. She says some awful, unforgivable things — but at the same time she’s charismatic, she’s the life and soul of the party. I suspect all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, know someone like this. And I hope that the reader also has an uneasy sort of compassion for her, because they know that she’s also a bit messed up, that some of her outward behaviour is a compensation for what’s going on within.
CBTB: The backdrop to The Hunting Party is wonderfully atmospheric: a luxury hotel set in a remote part of Scotland. Did a real-life experience inspire you to set your book where you did?
LF: It did! My husband and I travelled up to a very remote estate in the Scottish highlands near Fort William to stay in a cottage there one winter. It had the works: heather-covered moorland, dramatic snow-covered peaks, a forest, a huge loch, a herd of beautiful red deer. Before we arrived the staff warned us that in the event of very heavy snow, we might not actually be able to leave. And I could really imagine that suddenly this stunning place might actually take on a darker cast in those sort of circumstances, that the isolation might become oppressive. I suddenly realised it was the perfect setting for a murder mystery!
CBTB: There are so many elements that make the structure of The Hunting Party compelling. First and foremost, I loved its “locked-room mystery” puzzle, which puts readers in a confined location with a limited cast of characters - one of whom is a murderer. You also make excellent use of alternating narrators to give readers unique perspectives on the book’s events. How did you go about plotting this book and all its moving pieces? Did you create a detailed outline for yourself, or did the story develop as you wrote?
LF: Yes! By nature, I’m not a planner AT ALL. I’m more of a “by-the-seat-of-my-pants” writer. But I knew I had to have a detailed plan for this book, because in a murder mystery that underlying structure is absolutely vital — plot really comes before anything else. So I wrote a plan before I began but I still left room around the edges for things to surprise me as I went along — which I also think is crucial for keeping things fresh.
CBTB: The Hunting Party felt quite Agatha Christie-inspired to me, which I absolutely loved. Was her work a source of inspiration for your newest novel?
LF: Absolutely! I’m a huge Christie fan. I’ve literally just watched The Mousetrap at the theatre, which is a bucket-list thing for any Londoner (or crime-writer). I have to ration myself with her books because I don’t want to get through all of them too quickly. I know people reread theirs but I don’t think it would be quite the same — for me it’s all about the reveal. I try desperately to try and guess the murderer before the solution but have only managed to do it a couple of times and was immensely proud of myself! What’s odd is that there seems to be this perception of her books as ‘cosy’, which I really don’t see: they can be incredibly dark (think of Endless Night or And Then There Were None) and can provide some pretty biting social commentary, really taking the pulse of the time.
CBTB: The Hunting Party is your first crime novel, but you actually have a background in publishing and in writing historical novels! How do you think these previous experiences contributed to your newest project?
LF: With the historical novels I’ve written there have always been a lot of moving parts — including narratives with different timelines. I think that really helped juggle the two timelines in The Hunting Party and the pacing of those. More generally, just having written books before helped me push past those moments of self-doubt — the inevitable “this is all such a load of ****” because you learn as a writer to expect those moments and not be too put off by them!
CBTB: What are you working on next? Will you be writing another crime novel? (I hope so!!)
LF: I’m writing a second murder mystery — hurrah! This time it’s set at a wedding, which I wanted to do because I think weddings are such emotionally intense times. You’ve got old friends, new friends, guests of all sorts of different backgrounds, family behaving badly… because people can behave incredibly badly at weddings! I’m loving it (evil laugh).
CBTB: When you’re not writing crime fiction, do you read crime fiction, too? If so, could you share with us a few crime books you’ve recently read and loved?
LF: So many to pick from! I’ve just read Belinda Bauer’s Snap. It’s a real testament to the fact that whilst plot is paramount in crime writing it doesn’t have to be at the expense of character — her characterisation is so vivid and she writes like a dream. I’ve also just finished an oldie — Ethel Lina White’s The Lady Vanishes, which was made into a film of the same name by Hitchcock. It’s an absolute masterclass in suspense and I can’t believe I’d never heard of her before. Apparently in her day she was as well-known as Agatha Christie — in my opinion she deserves to be widely read again. I’m also reading Based on a True Story by the French writer Delphine de Vigan, which has a wonderfully creepy Single White Female vibe about it. And finally I enjoyed The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffith, which is a clever homage to Gothic fiction and a gripping murder mystery in its own right.
Many thanks to Lucy for answering my questions, and to her publisher for facilitating this Q&A! THE HUNTING PARTY is available today, February 12th, 2019.
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (February 12, 2019)
Crime by the Book is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way affects my opinion of the books included in this post.