The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Posted On 24 February 2022

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My Five Word TL:DR Review : Lucy Foley Does It Again

TheParisA

This is my third read by this author and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed all three.  I would say before I start this review that this book had a slightly different feel to the previous two.  Still, effectively a locked room mystery with plenty of potential suspects but this one had a slightly different tone. I’m trying to put my finger on why this one feels slightly different but it’s eluding me somehow.  I think possibly because the mystery does have outside influences that broaden the story a little and it definitely moves into some much deeper territory along the way.

To quote the description “The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.”

I won’t over elaborate on the plot.  As we begin we meet Jess who has travelled to Paris to stay with her half-brother Ben.  Jess is going through a bad patch and although Ben isn’t enamoured with the idea of her coming to stay blood is thicker than water and he reluctantly agrees.  However, when Jess arrives, her brother is mysteriously absent and the rest of the residents in the apartment building are less than welcoming or forthcoming as to his whereabouts.  As Ben’s disappearing act lengthens Jess becomes increasingly anxious to track him down revealing potentially dangerous secrets as she digs into the other residents.

A little background. Jess and Ben’s mum died while they were both children leading to care and foster parents.  Ben was lucky enough to be adopted fairly quickly which led to their lives taking completely different turns.  Ben had much more opportunity, was well educated and eventually went into journalism.  Jess, traumatised by an event from her past had a more difficult upbringing and her job opportunities were not as forthcoming.  The two still share a strong bond though and this helps to drive the storyline in terms of Jess’s determination to find Ben.

I really liked the setting.  Of course, Paris, but more specifically the once ever so grand but now slightly dilapidated apartment building.  I loved this place and it really lends itself to the whole creepy atmosphere.  Once a stylish house the place is in desperate need of some TLC but this lack of care leads to some great plus points for the setting.  An old, metal cage style lift.  Stylish, if slightly dated apartments with high ceilings and plenty of period charm.  There’s a penthouse with access to a terrace.  An old wine cellar in the basement, the lights in the public areas are motion triggered and frequently time out leaving our main character standing in the dark (at the most inopportune moments), there’s an attic where the servants used to sleep and at least one hidden passageway.  On top of this we do travel beyond the confines of the apartment building as the mystery is ramped up.

The characters themselves.  Well, I think the supporting cast are a little bit ‘hammed’ up but in a way that I really couldn’t help liking.  Everyone is hiding something and there’s a deal of sneaking about and whispering behind closed doors.  I actually really liked Jess.  Her upbringing has definitely hardened her up somewhat and whilst, at first, she comes across as maybe a little bit brash, it’s this unabashed shamelessness that helps her to poke and pry where others would perhaps fear to tread.  She frequently creeps around looking for clues and I was often a bunch of nerves waiting for her to be caught red-handed.

The writing is easy to get along with.  As with her previous novels Foley manages to give you an easy feel for the people and place. Her style is definitely what I would call ‘reader friendly’ and she manages to provide enough information about the characters and setting without going overboard with descriptions. We jump back in time every now and again to catch glimpses of not only Ben and Jess as children but also to look at the other characters and how they eventually became involved in the mystery.

Overall, I had a good time with The Paris Apartment.  It definitely moves into slightly different territory than the past two books I’ve read with the themes involved but it still manages to retain that certain ‘feel’ that a locked room mystery usually provides.  It held plenty of intrigue, there were some moments where I was reading and holding my breath and yet on the whole this doesn’t become too overwhelmingly dark or ‘real’ and I think it’s this element of not taking itself too seriously that I really enjoyed.  On top of which short paragraphs and ever increasing tension definitely gave this one some great pacing and kept the pages turning.  This is definitely the type of book where you repeatedly say to yourself ‘oh, just one more chapter’ before realising you’re into the early hours.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

4 Responses to “The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley”

  1. WordsAndPeace

    Sounds really good, thanks for your great review

  2. Tammy

    This sounds like a book I’d love. If only I had more time to read!! (Story of my life😁)

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    The themes definitely felt different from her previous books, but like you said, it was an easy and enjoyable read regardless. The big reveal halfway through made me go whoa!

  4. pagesandtea

    No way I’ll resist reading this 😀

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