41. Happy New Decade! and, ‘The Hunting Party’ by Lucy Foley.

I must start by wishing all of you a Happy New Decade! Here we are in the Twenties…how astonishing! and also by sharing with you a small anecdote about a British Eccentric…yes, they are alive and well!

I found myself allocated a middle seat in a block of three for the first leg of my flight to Australia on New Years Eve, always a bit of a worry, who are you going to be sitting in between? As it turned out, I had a lovely lady to my left, about my age, en route to Lesotho for work, and to my right, a gentleman who was celebrating the New Year by flying around the world in 80 hours! Good heavens, I exclaimed, and in economy class too! Congratulations to that self confessed aviation geek – London, Dubai, Shanghai, Toronto, Reykjavik, and back to London within three days with no stop overs. I take my hat off!

This is not one of Mum’s books, but an airport grab for the long flight to Australia, and it proved riveting enough to keep me enthralled from London to Dubai! I have never come across this author before, and indeed, this is her debut crime novel. A mention of Agatha Christie on the back cover, and the premise that a group of friends were coming together to celebrate the New Year in a remote Scottish hunting lodge, a gathering which would end in murder, prompted me to choose it, and I must admit I was expecting something along the lines of Ten Little Niggers. (It wasn’t!)

The story starts with the friends, who met at uni, travelling to Scotland on a train. They are all in their early thirties now, but have been spending New Year together every year at a location chosen by one of them. This year it is Emma’s turn, and she has gone to great lengths to find a perfect place to celebrate. The first hint of any discord comes when it turns out she has managed to put eight of them in one carriage, and one in another….

According to the ‘blurb’, Ms Foley visited somewhere very like the hunting lodge described, which gave her the starting point for the book. It really does sound amazing; an ultra modern glass hunting lodge beside a loch in the Highlands, with cabins for the guests. There are only a couple of staff, and each of them also has a sub story within the main, having as they do their own issues. The central characters take turns to narrate chapters, which I personally always enjoy, I find it can be an interesting extra insight into their motivations, feelings and so on, and this is done rather well.

It is a fast and enjoyable read. There are several ‘stories’ going on at once, there is a good twist in the plot, I did not figure out ‘whodunnit’ until very late in the piece, and it was a perfect choice for a plane read…nothing too heavy, but engrossing enough to keep me entertained and turning the pages!

As always, if you would like this, please get in touch and I will happily gift it forward to you. It’s good fun!