4.5 star

Review: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

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 always love a good closed-room mystery, and this was really no exception. I’m generally a fan of Lucy Foley’s work, and this one didn’t disappoint me—though I have heard mixed reviews from others.

The Paris Apartment takes place in…you guessed it, a fancy apartment in Paris. The neighbours we meet are certainly something, and above all, of course, suspicious. Just what is going on with these weird neighbours? Each one has their own story to hide, and it all seems to have something to do with Ben, the protagonist’s half-brother, who is missing from the very start. What is the connection between all the neighbours, including the concierge who always watches out front?

The characters were all fantastic. Each was so suspicious, mostly so deplorable and annoying that a reader’s natural biases start to come up, which is a fantastic play on tropes by the author. There were the more foil characters, and then there were the more complex characters that we see play out. However, it does not become immediately obvious who the perpetrator is because of who was focused on more. There was an appropriate level of character development and although it wasn’t a major factor in the development of the mystery, there was enough to satisfy the readers so that we could understand their motives and goals.

I personally felt the plot was excellent. There were so many twists and turns, some obvious, some not, but all equally surprising anyway. Having read many mysteries and thrillers, at this point, most things aren’t a straight-up surprise. But, it also means that the author is able to play on the “obvious” plot lines that I expect with their signals and red herrings. I also enjoy her writing style. Foley likes to do a lot of these short, parallel chapters to build effects and suspense, and that it something I enjoyed both in The Guest List and in this one. Just when I thought there was a reveal and all was solved, there was always so much more. This helped to create drive so that I did not get bored when I figured out one of the surprises in the book. I certainly didn’t see the final few surprises coming, and I had to keep re-wrapping my mind around it. There was one chapter that I think could have been re-ordered for a little bit more dramatic effect at the end but overall I thought it was really excellent how everything built up to the climax and denouement. I definitely didn’t see it coming fully.

Overall the mystery and thriller elements were good, with the slightly unreliable protagonist (but not too much), and the way every character seems shady, and how you just cannot trust anyone you meet. The result is a very exciting story which I plowed through quite quickly. The ending was also pretty exciting, and like I said, I didn’t really see it coming fully so I was pretty genuinely satisfied. I don’t expect endings to be surprising often, but rather I look more for the execution of the ending and how the author ties up certain loose ends (or doesn’t tie up certain loose ends) for a satisfying ending. I definitely enjoyed this one.

Overall Recommendations

The Paris Apartment is a typical closed-room mystery that takes place in a rich apartment. Jess moves to her half-brother’s beautiful apartment, although it seems like he has gone missing and is unable to receive her. So, of course, it is up to Jess to speak with all the neighbours and any contacts Ben might have had in order to figure out where he is. The more she looks, the more locked doors she finds—which means she’s getting closer, right? Just what is the mystery of this Paris apartment, and what lurks behind closed doors? Fast-paced, thrilling, and exciting, this one is sure to be for you if you like a good closed-room mystery novel!


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