I was excited about Lucy Foley’s latest novel ‘The Paris Apartment’ as I had loved ‘The Guest List’. The book had an Agatha Christie vibe to it and was outlandish and ominous at the same time. Narrated from six different POVs, the story was fast-paced and gripping. Foley gave me a much-needed break from reality. I desperately wanted her to tell me another story. I wanted to be under the same spell.
The Paris Apartment is about a journalist who mysteriously disappears from an apartment in Paris. His sister then arrives on the scene and starts poking around. It sounds like an engaging plot, and it’s not bad at all. It’s just that my expectations were sky-high after reading The Guest List. Most of the reviews on the GoodReads app say the same thing. Readers have liked The Paris Apartment a lot less than Foley’s other two books—The Guest List and ‘The Hunting Party’.
In the book, we are introduced to Jess, who is lonely, and she’s broke. So, she asks her half-brother Ben if she can crash with him in order to get her life together. Surely, things will be better in Paris, she thinks. When she lands there from London, she finds a nice apartment that she’s not sure how Ben could have afforded in a journalist’s salary. But Ben’s not there. He wouldn’t have just deserted her like that. She knows something is wrong.
She starts wondering if the other people in the apartment building know more than they are letting on about Ben’s disappearance. Everyone appears mysterious and each of them seems to have a motive. The more Jess starts digging around, the more suspicious she becomes that the neighbors are involved in something they want to hide. She repeatedly puts herself in harm’s way as someone isn’t happy with all the questions she’s asking.
The Paris Apartment is dark and unsettling but there’s nothing new here for thriller and murder mystery lovers. It’s a classic locked-room mystery. It’s just that there’s no sense of urgency or claustrophobia which is what makes stories like these menacing. The pacing is also a bit slow. Foley, while trying to flesh out her characters, has sort of dragged on the plot. But a respite comes in the form of short chapters and the book does take off in the second half. All in all, it’s not a great book but you can pick it up when you want something light to read.
The Paris Apartment
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Pages: 410, Paperback