The Hunting Party

This thriller (336 pages) was published in February of 2019 by William Morrow. The book takes you to New Year's Eve in rural Scotland. Melissa read The Hunting Party and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

buy is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.


The Hunting Party

Lucy Foley

It’s a tradition: Every December 31, nine thirty-something friends from Oxford travel to an exotic location to ring in the new year together. This time, they’re vacationing at an isolated hunting lodge in Scotland — and their celebration goes horribly, fabulously wrong.

The trip begins, as a thrilling adventure should, on a train from London to Scotland. There’s a decided party atmosphere on board as the old friends drink bubbly and get caught up on each others’ lives. But by the time they reach the snow-bound lodge of Loch Corrin, it’s painfully evident to all of them that something is off among their formerly tight-knit crew. As the year slowly winds down, tensions ratchet up until eventually, one of them is dead — and another one of them did it.

Author Lucy Foley gleefully vamps on the tropes of Golden-Age mysteries — the train, the isolated manor house, the epic snowstorm, the secrets, the muuurrrder — but it’s all got a modern and lethal edge. Foley pushes the characters — vixen, good girl, playboy, charming gay couple, blissful marrieds with a baby — beyond archetypes into well-rounded, messed-up humans with debilitating secrets and quietly nursed bitterness. They’re gossipy and backstabbing, their friendships are corrupted, and what looks like love is really obsession, habit, and tradition. Plus, there’s a questionable (but distractingly handsome) caretaker, an unpredictable hostess with secrets of her own, and the forbidding landscape of the Scottish highlands.

By the time the New Year’s Eve party begins, they’re all sick of each other and feeling claustrophobic when a blizzard traps them together.

A handful of strategically placed red herrings will keep you guessing, and an unusual structure builds white-knuckle suspense. The story unfurls in chapters that alternate between 2 January — when the murder has already been committed — and 30 and 31 December, when the friends are still pretending to have fun together. Our narrators are two of the women and Doug, the caretaker, with not a single reliable voice to be found. Their accounts circle the truth in ever-tightening concentric rings, and when it’s finally revealed, it’s a stunner.

This sharp, carefully sculpted thriller flawlessly captures the desperation and optimism of New Year’s Eve, as well as the frosty, bleak beauty of a Scottish winter.

New Year’s Eve. The loneliest night of the year, even if you’re with people. Even before my life fell apart. — Lucy Foley

keep reading

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except the book lovers hoping to find a comfy chair, a cozy and compelling read, a cup of hot cocoa, and a plate of cookies.
Writer Elizabeth Held has great taste in books. Her newsletter, 'What To Read If,' is a welcome arrival in our email each week. In this post, she recommends novels in which dramatic snowstorms play a starring role.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got a stunning Czech library, a lost Eiffel Tower restaurant, identity-switching novels, how wonder can transform us, and more.
How idyllic! A group of old friends from Oxford gather in a remote hunting lodge in Scotland to relax by the fire, drink bubbly, and reconnect. Then their New Year's Eve celebration goes horribly, fabulously wrong.
Craggy islands, damp peat bogs, twisty lanes of cobblestones, vast swaths of green to make your heart soar — Scotland is a beautiful country with larger-than-life heroes (and heroines) and more than a few ghosts.
The Emerald Isle is just as pretty and magical as you imagine it to be. Green landscapes beg you to take long rambles through the countryside. Then the pub beckons with good food, warm conversation, and lively music.
Oh, Italy! We see your snow-capped mountains and sunny beaches, your fresh pasta and sweet gelato, your Renaissance artists, iconic cities, and the soft, magical quality of your light. We love all of it. Grazie.
A room service menu and stocked mini-bar, five-star service, a posh guest room, perhaps even a swim-up bar; these are things of which dream vacations are made. But it's so much fun when fictional holidays go awry.

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.