The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

A modern day Agatha Christie-sque setting and an unwanted guest to sleuth – was The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley be as good as her previous books. I loved Foley’s other two books, what about her third? Read my book review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.

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About The Paris Apartment

Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley book cover

Book Name: The Paris Apartment

Author: Lucy Foley

Genre: Fiction –  Thriller

Characters: Jess, Ben, Jacques and Sophie, Nick, Antoine, Mimi, Camille,

Setting:  Paris, France

Plot Summary of The Paris Apartment

When Jess invites herself to her brother Ben’s luxurious apartment, Ben is missing. She was sure he would help her as he did when they were younger, but sure he wouldn’t disappear, would he?

Jess doesn’t know about the adult Ben’s life, nor how he is able to afford this apartment itself. 12 Rue des Amants, a beautiful 5 storey building with a tenant on each floor, is a character by itself.

A nice guy, a socialite, an alcoholic, a reserved student and the concierge – who is a friend and who is lying? Where is Ben and what happened to him? Read The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.

Book review of The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a classic whodunnit with a bunch of questionable characters and a motivated sleuth on the trail. The setting of the house was intriguing and added a sense of doom and eerie to it. It reminded me a lot of “Only Murders in the Building” (which absolutely loved it).

I have read Foley’s previous books and I really had big hopes for this one, as a big fan of closed-room mysteries. I enjoyed how the layers unraveled, even though some elements were unnecessary to the story and were added just to create a distraction.

While the slow pace put me off in places, I think it worked out well. I was not particularly enthused by Jess and her attempt to solve the mystery. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes, often. It felt a little more of thriller than a mystery to me, especially when she was getting any better at solving anything.

I found the multiple person narrative with 6 people tiresome at places, and the book could have been shorter by at least 20 pages. Maybe it was just me, I was getting restless after big twist for the book to end.

What worked for me

  • I loved the setting and the unlikable cast of tenants. It was eerie and sinister.
  • While I didn’t like any of the characters, they were well developed and intriguing.
  • The multiple

What may have been better

  • I felt it was more of a thriller than a mystery.
  • The pace dragged a bit, compared to what is usual for the genre.

Content warning

Murder, Suicide, Alcoholism, Cheating, Domestic violence, Sex work, Sexual harassment (mentioned), Self-harm (mentioned)

Bottom line

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a slow paced, claustrophobic whodunnit. It is different from Foley’s other books in terms of writing and narrative style, but it mostly works. If you like “Only Murders in the Building” you might enjoy The Paris Apartment.

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The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- A book review

As the first read of the year, I picked up Mexican Gothic – a book I have been wanting to read for a while now. Read on my book review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia to see how it worked for me.

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About Mexican Gothic

Cover Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Name: Mexican Gothic

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Fiction – Fantasy, paranormal, horror

Characters: Noemí Taboada, Catalina, Virgil, Florence, Francis and Howard Doyle

Setting: Mexico

Plot Summary of Mexican Gothic

When her father sends Noemí Taboada to High Palace in the Mexican countryside as a response to her newly-wed cousin’s alarming letters about her husband, she is not enthused.

Noemi, a flighty, party loving 23 year old in the 1950s, who wants to get her father’s approval to her dreams of attending university considers this as an opportunity to win him over, as well as to help her dear cousin Catalina.

When she first arrives at the ancient, crumbling mansion, the welcome from her cousin’s husband Virgil Doyle and his family is less than lukewarm. She finds out that Catalina’s health, physically and mentally is fragile and the Doyles’ family doctor doesn’t seem helpful.

With frosty and unhelpful relatives and a house that squeaks and creaks at every turn, Noemi begins to believe that her cousin was correct. And it was up to her to save herself and Catalina.

Was she able to do that? What is it about the house that does not let them escape form the rest of the story in Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book review of Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a well written gothic fantasy thriller, leaning more towards fantasy than the thriller part. I had a huge expectations and I was left with a mixed feeling about it.

I really liked the first few pages of the book, but it took me more than fifty pages to actually get into the story. But until the last fifty pages or so, it moves really slow.

I love reading about dysfunctional families and the Doyles were definitely one of them. An aged patriarch who believes in “natural selection” and eugenics, a creepy, manipulative son, a controlling and matronly aunt and shy young man who is interested in fungus definitely wins the title.

If you like atmospheric horror like the Haunted of hill house, you are in for a treat. But being more of a “The Shining” fan, I was drifting off mentally often. Of course, it is definitely a “me” thing.

Apart from Noemi, Francis is the only other character to catch my attention and has some sort of character arc. But I am definitely not sold on their romance and strongly believe that they would be better of as friends. (I dunno why all stories have to have a romantic angle!)

What worked for me

  • I liked Noemi and her character development from a socialite who was a brat to a person to a matured young lady was interesting.
  • It was interesting to read about Marta and her stories about her ancestors and their culture. I wanted hear more from her about the colonialism and its effect on its Mexican subjects.
  • The whole creepy vibe of the mansion and the family is very well done. I felt sorry for the ladies for having stuck into the mess in the first place, even before realizing what it was about.

What may have been better

  • Mexican Gothic is definitely a slow burn, it takes about 50% of the book to garner the speed.
  • The mystery part is thinly veiled. If you paid close attention, you would stumble upon it quite easily and pretty early on.

Content warning

Sexual assault(s), incest, murder, cannibalism, death of children, stillbirth, miscarriage, death of parent.

Bottom line

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a must read for the fans of The Haunted hill house and other haunted house mysteries. But if you are someone like me, who wants more action than just the eerie atmosphere, you might find your attention wavering.

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The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

Silent Patient, The by Alex Michaelides – A book review

How often do you agree with hype and award winning titles? I had heard so much about The Silent Patient and I was reluctant to pick it up, because I didn’t want another disappointment. But how did it fare on my scale? Read my book of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides to know more.

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About the book

Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Book review

Book Name: The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Genre: Fiction – Mystery, Thriller

Characters:  Alicia Berenson, Theo and Kathy Faber, Christian, Professor Lazarus Diomedes, Gabriel and Max Berenson, Elif, Yuri

Setting: London, England, The UK

Plot Summary

Theo Faber, a psychotherapist can’t wait for this chance to prove himself by helping Alicia, the famed silent patient. And to do that, he has begun to work at The Grove where the artist is being treated for a while now.

About six years ago Alicia Berenson, a well known painter was arrested for murdering her husband, Gabriel. Since then she has not uttered a single word. She is suicidal and unresponsive to any sort of communication.

Theo is also fighting his own demons and for his marriage. Will he be able to save Alicia or himself for that matter? Read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides to find out more.

Book review

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a fast paced murder mystery/thriller. And it is definitely worth its hype. I definitely should be more open to picking hyped books hereon.

While the explosive climax is not novel, I didn’t see it coming. I had several other theories (a few more ingenious than the others ..cough.. cough) of course, but the red herrings worked perfectly. And that says a lot about the author’s ability to weave a web of tangles around it.

I had a few issues with how the “hospital was run” and that Theo’s approach to help Alicia was pretty much unprofessional. There are a few comments about therapy that misleading and harmful, and definitely reduced the credibility factor for me.

What worked for me

  • I didn’t see the classic twist coming at all. And that’s because I was so engrossed in the narration.
  • The short chapters worked well enough to make The Silent Patient a page turner and I couldn’t just stop reading.
  • The red herrings will keep you second guessing and hooked till the end.

What may have been better

  • Theo’s breakthrough treatment was totally unprofessional and kinda lowkey annoying for me. I hated that there were misleading and harmful comments about therapy and therapists.
  • The twist has been done and tested many a times. One of the well known example is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

Bottom line

If you are quite new to the murder mystery genre and you liked books like Girl on the train or The Woman In The Window by Finn A J, you will love this book. If you’ve read as many whodunnits as I have, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides may not surprise you. But it is still worth a read.

Content warning:

Depression, multiple suicide attempts, Drug abuse, Misleading concepts about therapy, extramarital affair,

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The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – A book review

I can’t believe I had not read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie before, given that it is such an acclaimed book. As someone who loves Christie and lists, this is pretty frustrating. Anyway, shall we get on to the book review, then?

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About the book

Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie Book cover

Book Name: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Series: Hercule Poirot #4

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Mystery

Characters: Mrs. Ferrars, Roger Ackroyd, Flora Ackroyd, Ralph Paton, Hercule Poirot, Dr James Sheppard, Caroline Sheppard, Mrs. Ackroyd, Hector Blunt, , Geoffrey Raymond, Parker, Elizabeth Russell, Charles Kent, Inspector Raglan, Mr. Hammond

Setting: England, The UK

Plot Summary

In King’s Abbot, a wealthy widow Mrs Ferrars overdoses on veronal and dies. Within a span of twenty four hours, her fiancé Roger Ackroyd, a another wealthy widower is stabbed to death.

Roger Ackroyd recently had come to the knowledge that the rumors were true and Mrs Ferrars had indeed murdered her violent first husband. He also had suspected that someone was blackmailing her. But before he could act on it, he was murdered too.

With a house of servants, friends and family who had motives and means to do it, it becomes overwhelming for the local cops. When Roger’s niece Flora commissions the now retired detective, Hercule Poirot, to find out the murderer.

Of course he solves it! How he does that forms the rest of the story in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.

Book review

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has been named as one the “1001 books to read before you die” list and its twist is said to have changed the detective fiction genre for ever.

I know it seems like a tall praise, but I completely agree with the statement. And I never saw the twist coming (and you know that has been happening often these days, if you have been reading my Christie’s reviews).

I have read quite a number of Poirot cases, and I have never been a fan of his eccentricities. But The Murder of Roger Ackroyd changed my mind. He is hilarious!

Above all, I love the way author had given subtle clues all through the book and until the detective explains it during his dramatic reveal, I never realized them. I had to re-read those parts to check! I think that is the hallmark of detective novels and there is a reason why Christie is the best selling author of all times.

What worked for me

  • The twist blew my mind off.
  • This is one of those rare Agatha Christie’s books that made me laugh out loud at places. Who knew Christie was this funny!
  • I love the subtle hints and clues buried under the nose all through the book, and they become apparent only during the big reveal.

What may have been better

  • NOTHING!

Bottom line

If you are fan of Agatha Christie, you have to pick The Murder of Roger Ackroyd because it is almost as good as And then there were none. And if you are not a fan of the detective/mystery novel genre, this book might change your mind!

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The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – A book review

Where the Crawdads Sing – A book review

Reading a pretty hyped up book has its own disadvantages, mainly the pressure to like it because everyone else did. But did Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens pass the test for me? Let’s get on to the book review shall we?

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About the book

Where the Crawdads Sing Book cover

Book Name: Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens

Genre: Fiction – Romance; Thriller

Characters: Kya Clark, Tate Walker, Jumpin’ and Mable, Chase Andrews

Setting: Barkley Cove, North CarolinaThe USA

Plot Summary

The book begins when six year old Kya watches her mother leave their shack and her five children with her drunk, violent and often absent father. Soon one by one her siblings also flee, as does her father eventually, leaving her behind to fend for herself.

She attends the school for a day, forced by the authorities and tempted by the meal, but realizes she would be hungry rather than be laughed at. When Kya learns to accept her loneliness, two boys enter her life.

One of them teaches her to read and discover more about the marsh life and another shows what her life could be if she were a “normal” girl. And to make things worse, both of them abandon her at some point, just like her family.

Fast forward to 1969, when they recover a local athlete, Chase Andrews’ body near the marsh. Without much evidence, they arrest Kya when the villagers come to know Chase and Kya were closer to each other than they all thought.

Why was Kya arrested and who murdered Chase? What happens to Kya forms the rest of the story in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Book review

In this historical fiction, there are two timelines – one following six year old Kya’s life from 1952 and the other follows Chase’s murder investigation in 1969. There are vast differences in the writing styles, almost like they were written by two authors.

But I think that worked, because for me they felt like they were different genres (a coming of age romance and a murder/legal thriller). And I am sure fans of both the genres would have something for them.

It is apparent that Delia Owens knows the marshland very well. And her writing ensures the reader gets transported to the wetlands themselves. Once I suspended the skepticism about a kid living all alone, I really liked Kya and her will to survive everything that life throws her way.

I loved how Where the Crawdads Sing spoke of several themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism. And yet made it all about hope and love.

The romance part was a tiny bit melodramatic. But when you are 20 something everyone is allowed to be heart broken and decide to “never love anyone ever again”. There were quite a number of red herring and I was at a point convinced someone particular was the murderer. But surprisingly they were not!

What worked for me

  • Where the Crawdads Sing works mainly for Owen’s writing and her ability to grasp the reader’s attention – be it the romance or the court room drama!
  • Kya herself is an unique character and she will be cherished as one of the strong female literary characters in my mind.
  • Despite talking about so many serious themes like abandonment, parental neglect, alienation, bullying and racism, it is hope and positivity that I ended up feeling.

What may have been better

  • The first part contains a lot of descriptive writing, so if you are not into those type of books be warned.
  • Also a warning people who are not into alternative timelines.

Bottom line

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is one of those books that survived the hype and came through for me. I liked the author’s writing style and her character building. Catch Where the Crawdads Sing before the movie comes out!

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