If you’re looking for a murder mystery, The Guest List is worth checking out
The Guest List by Lucy Foley has been on the list of most sold and most read Amazon books for a good number of weeks. It’s even held the Top 5 position for some time. It may be one of those books you’re considering next.
Is it worth it? For those who love murder mysteries with a twist, this is most definitely a book for you. Those who have been through boarding school will certainly appreciate some of the worse elements of that type of schooling—and I say that from experience.
This book review is spoiler-free. Don’t worry about finding out the details of the murder or who did it.
What is The Guest List about?
The Guest List takes place on a remote island off the coast of Ireland. The location is important, as it’s filled with ghosts and there are a lot of hidden skeletons. Some of them may be literal, but I’ll leave you to watch to find out.
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The location certainly brings back some memories for some of the characters. After all, the group of groomsmen all went to a boarding school on the English coast. It’s an important plot point to remember.
Throughout the book, we get the stories from the Bride, the Bridesmaid, the Best Man, the Plus One, and the Wedding Planner. Each character has their own backstory, but somehow they all connect. Hearts are broken, secrets are revealed, and emotions are high.
We don’t even know if someone was murdered
One of the strongest parts about The Guest List is not even knowing if anyone was murdered in the first place. The book opens with one of the staff members saying there was a body, but then we cut to the buildup to the wedding night. There are plenty of pranks happening and jokes on some of the guests. It sets a question of doubt as to whether a murder has occurred.
And without really knowing if a murder has happened, it’s hard to say who has been murdered. We don’t find that out until closer to the end of the book. It’s brilliantly written, leaving you suspecting but also guessing throughout.
Each chapter is told from a different viewpoint. This helps to flesh out many of the characters, getting to know their personalities but also getting to know how others see them. It’s important as you piece all of the clues together to figure out who was murdered and who possibly did it. After all, everyone has a reason to want the victim dead!
Not all characters are likable
Something that I tend to dislike about murder mysteries is that the main characters are written to be likable. Not everyone is. The Guest List doesn’t do that.
There are some downright awful characters stuck in the past. They want to be back in boarding school, unaware of how ridiculous that makes them. They also don’t care about hurting other people’s feelings, putting the blame on others for their discomfort or dislike of situations instead of accepting that the whole situation is wrong to begin with.
These characters felt real to me. I know too many from boarding school like that, and it helped to really sell the book and the characters within it. They may seem one-dimensional, especially as they don’t get chapters from their own viewpoint, but that’s the type of people they come across as on the outside.
As secrets come out, some of the other characters end up being unlikable. You start to see different shades in people, bringing heartbreak and tears.
However, there are some excellent characters that you just want to hug and comfort. They’re the ones that have kept secrets for a long time. They’re the characters who just try to get on with things, even though their whole world is crashing around them.
The question throughout is who wants revenge.
Quick and easy to read
Many murder mysteries can be dark to read. They’re gritty and descriptive, but that’s not the case for The Guest List. You’re not wishing you weren’t eating the Malteasers you picked up before opening the book.
The focus is on character development. It’s more like an Agatha Christie novel in terms of lack of gore, but there are some excellent scares throughout. If adapted to a TV show, there would be plenty of jump scares for the end of each episode making you need to move onto the next one.
Being quick and easy to read isn’t a bad thing. This is one of those books that has a lot of clues and if you’re too quick, you will miss them. It’s a book that I look forward to rereading in a few months to see what I missed the first time around.
My only complaint was the ending was a little abrupt. It was an excellent twist, please don’t get me wrong. But I felt like we were just getting details and then it was over. I need more and would love to see some sort of sequel with these characters if that was even possible.
Overall rating: 4 stars out of 5.
What did you think of The Guest List by Lucy Foley? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley is available with two-day free shipping with Amazon Prime.