Welcome to No 12 Rue des Amants
A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine.
Where nothing goes unseen, and everyone has a story to unlock.
The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest
There was a murder here last night.
A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.
When things go wrong at home in London, Jess is ready for a fresh start. She’s broke, and she’s suddenly left her job. Maybe things would look better from somewhere else? Jess jumps on the train to Paris and makes a quick call to her brother Ben to say she’s on her way. Ben should be set with work and an apartment now, but he did seem unimpressed or distracted when she called. Or was there someone with him? Either way she’s here now and for some reason Ben isn’t answering her calls or messages. She’s also taken aback by the size and luxury of his apartment block, surely Ben can’t afford to live somewhere like this? So with no money and nowhere else to stay, she manages to pick the lock and get in. Next morning there’s still no word from him and the questions keep coming. Why is the cat bloodstained? Why are his neighbours so unfriendly and mysterious? Jess is sure that her brother has been harmed, but by who and why?
This was an enjoyable thriller and I liked the structure, that allowed us behind the other doors at apartment building No 12 and into the worlds of these strangely eclectic residents. We were also taken back in time to Ben’s arrival at the apartments so we could see how his relationship built with the other residents. Who did he get on with and why? It also showed up my own misconceptions about people: I expected Ben to have made a beeline for the beautiful Camille in her tiny bikini; that the grumpy man Jess sees at the beginning to be a relative of the concierge; that Mimi would be the kind, girl next door type. Nothing is what it seems with these residents. However, the residents were not the only ones with secrets. Ben had never told Jess what he was working on in Paris. As for Jess, we don’t know exactly what forced her to flee England or how she’s ended up alone and penniless. We do find that they are half-brother and sister, forced into care at an early age and very close to each other, because their experience of parents is that they can’t be trusted. It is very out of character for Ben to forget or ignore her in this way. Jess is very resourceful, soon finding people she can talk to about her brother, including the residents, although they were less than welcoming. She has good investigative skills that she’s possibly learned from her brother and meets with a friend of his who may be helpful. I couldn’t decide whether I liked her or not, but kept reminding myself that no one is above suspicion, even family.
The writer immerses us in the less salubrious side of Paris. No fairy lit boat rides on the Seine for Jess as she heads deeper into the city’s underbelly. This is not a pretty Paris, but it is compelling and different especially when compared to the apartment building. Although we don’t have to go into the streets, the difference in social class can be see in the courtyard garden where the concierge lives in what sounds like a shed. It’s a humble home and it seems Ben is the only resident who treats her like an equal. She’s shocked by his kindness and is the person who gives us the most snippets about what’s really going on with the residents of these luxury flats. She is invisible to these wealthy people, but she’s always watching, eager to catch those little indiscreet moments that happen when people think you’re invisible. I had a lot of empathy for her, because she’s stuck. She knows too much and has too little to move on in life. I didn’t really like or connect with any of the other characters and that makes it hard to care about what happens to them. However, I’m not sure we’re meant to like them. We’re obviously drawn to Jess because of the position she’s in and her tenacity (and sometimes recklessness) in pursuit of the truth. This book hangs on the mystery and it’s twists and turns. I did enjoy the revelations and the cliffhangers, because there were things I didn’t expect, especially Ben’s life in the building and interactions with other residents. This is a fast, addictive thriller where you’re never sure what will happen next, but when it does everything can be turned on it’s head.
Meet the Author
Lucy Foley is a No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her contemporary murder mystery thrillers, The Hunting Party and The Guest List, have sold over a million copies worldwide and also hit the New York Times and Irish Times bestseller lists. The Guest List was a Waterstones Thriller of the Month selection, a Reese’s Book Club pick, it was chosen as one of The Times and Sunday Times Crime Books of the Year, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award for best mystery/thriller.
Lucy’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and her journalism has appeared in publications such as Sunday Times Style, Grazia, ES Magazine, Vogue US, Elle, Tatler and Marie Claire. Lucy lives in Brussels with her husband their baby.