Paris apartment

“The Parisian Apartment” by Lucy Foley

Claudia N. Oltean

“The Parisian apartment”

Author: Lucy Foley

William Morrow, 363 pages, $28.99

Best-selling author Lucy Foley’s new take is “The Paris Apartment,” an atmospheric thriller wrapped in mystery, many mysteries. The setting is current Paris. In fact, most of the action takes place in an elegant, if slightly outdated building, located in an exclusive part of town.

One of its tenants is an Englishman named Ben Daniels, who was invited to take a flat there at a surprisingly low price by an old friend from Cambridge University. Ben is uneasy with the impending arrival of his younger half-sister, Jess. His timing is terrible – he’s about to leave the building. His reason for this is retained. Thus begins a central mystery of the book.

Jess enters the story as she travels from Gare du Nord to the address her brother reluctantly provided. She flees an unnamed situation in Brighton, England. She is broke, does not speak French and seeks refuge with her brother. Her life is a mess ever since they were orphaned and she was placed in foster care. She reflects on how lucky Ben was to be adopted by a large family and to receive a prestigious education.

The mystery accelerates when Jess arrives at her brother’s address. He does not respond to the locked entry or respond to his calls or texts. This, after he was in contact with specific instructions only a few hours ago. She fights her way through the high-security building, then into Ben’s third-floor apartment. Something is seriously wrong. His brother can’t be found, yet his wallet is there and his cat has blood on his fur. Jess finds a broken chain on the floor – a chain that contained a St. Christopher medal identical to hers. She decides to find Ben or at least learn what happened to him.

The narrative takes off from there as Jess struggles to get answers from the residents of a building fancy enough to have one concierge and one occupant per floor. The penthouse is the domain of Sophie, an elegant, fabulously rich woman, married to an absent Jacques. Jess meets the young and seemingly nervous Mimi, the occupant of the fourth floor, as well as her roommate, Camille. Nick, her brother’s old friend, occupies the second floor. Antoine lives in the first floor apartment. Nick seems friendly and compassionate to his lot, but none of the other occupants are welcoming or open. Antoine is openly hostile to him. The group’s overall message, spoken and unspoken, is “go away – not wanted here”.

Jess soon realizes the building holds secrets, strange spaces, and possible danger, but she sinks in to uncover her brother’s fate. His investigation propels the action throughout the rest of the book.

Author Foley tells this story in short chapters, each from the perspective of Jess or one of the other residents, all in first person. Its writing is understated, its plot intricate, and it’s stingy with clues along the way – as a good mystery/thriller writer should be. I recommend “The Paris Apartment” for fans of this genre who particularly like being in the dark for most of the book and quite surprised at the end.

Jacksonville author Claudia N. Oltean is currently completing a two-book series of historical fiction set during Prohibition/The Roaring 20s.

Source link