In less than three books, Lucy Foley has become renown for serving up stories where nothing and no-one is what or who they seem. She gathers disparate characters into almost claustrophobic settings (a hunting lodge in Scotland, a wedding venue on a remote island and now a Paris apartment block) and gives the reader a chance to “know” them before completely over-turning expectations and allowing the characters (and what we thought might be happening) to unravel.
So it is with The Paris Apartment.
This time, young Jess flees to join her brother in his quite luxurious apartment in the French capital. Broke, escaping an untenable workplace and boss, she’s shocked to find her brother, Ben, despite promises to be there to admit her, absent. When it’s apparent he’s actually missing, his fellow residents (who all knew him) appear loathe to help. What secrets are they keeping? How did they know her brother? How could he afford to rent such a lovely place on his wage? And where the hell is he?
As the days pass and Jess becomes more frantic, the residents behave in suspicious ways, teasing Jess with scraps of knowledge about Ben. Something has happened to her brother, but until someone starts telling the truth, Jess is afraid not only will she never find out, but Ben might not be the only one to disappear.
This is a quick, easy read that just when I thought it might fall into cliché and all-too familiar tropes, fortunately did not. Foley manages to keep the suspense ratcheted up and though the book is populated with really unlikeable characters, tells a cracking yarn.