An Intense and Atmospheric Mystery from Lucy Foley: The Paris Apartment

17 May

Having vacationed in Paris, I was fascinated by all the cultural opportunities this spectacular city has to offer, including museums, art galleries, fine French dining, the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, etc. It truly is the “City of Lights”and one can get caught up in all the glorious and historical sights. Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment, however, exposes the dark and sinister underbelly of Paris in a creepy and clever whodunit told in alternating points of view. The characters are all dark and edgy and everyone knows something they’re not telling. Even the eerie Paris apartment building where the mystery unfolds is its own wonderfully drawn character, a swanky but unsettling old building with walls, hidden stairways, and secret passageways that seem to know something we don’t. I was completely drawn into this intense and suspenseful murder mystery from the very beginning as Foley’s descriptive narrative and intriguing plot developments lured me in.

The story opens with Jess, a broke and alone young woman, who contacts her half-brother Ben, a journalist in Paris, about crashing with him for a while in order to get a fresh start. She’s just left her bartending job in London under less than ideal circumstances and needs to escape and lay low for a while. Although Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked him, he didn’t say no either and she feels everything will look better in Paris. However, when she shows up, Ben is missing and a cryptic voicemail and some other mysterious clues suggest foul play. 

The longer Ben remains missing, the more Jess is provoked to start digging into his situation and the more questions she has. She discovers that Ben was investigating some criminal activity involving some of the building’s nefarious tenants.  Ben’s dysfunctional neighbors are an eclectic group and not particularly friendly or forthcoming either.  As she interviews the neighbors about Ben’s disappearance, she is met with suspicion and hostility from almost everyone. Only one young man shows her any consideration, even though he says he has no useful information for her. She begins to suspect that none of the tenants are as innocent as they want her to believe.  When Jess probes too deeply and reveals the building’s dark and sinister secrets, she finds herself isolated and in danger. As a last resort, she reports her half-brother’s disappearance to the police, however, even they seem reluctant to get involved and seem to have ulterior motives for keeping Ben’s absence uncovered.

As the twisty, yet engrossing plot unravels and the dark secrets are literally unearthed, the reader feels as though they have devoured a delectable meal, especially the last revealing chapters. The Paris Apartment is yet another entertaining and escapist mystery from the talented Lucy Foley. It’s filled with suspense, intensity, a cast of seedy, yet intriguing characters, and enough plot twists to satisfy any avid fan of atmospheric page-turners or murder mysteries. 

Looking for more mayhem from the city of lights; you can read a previous blog about another mystery set in Paris here.

Written by:
Ethan Galvin
Information and Digital Services Librarian

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