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.
Who holds the key?
This must be one of the most anticipated books I had on my list this year so I was thrilled when I received approval to read an ecopy of this marvellous mystery. And it really is a great read. What a mastermind Lucy Foley is to bring all of these characters togethers in such an intruiging way. It almost felt like a locked-room type of novel and there are no plotlines I love more so I was compelled from the start, sympathising with the amateur sleuth of the story immediately.
Jess is a waitress at the Copacabana in the UK when one day she’s had enough of the clientele and her sexist boss and makes apparently such a memorable exit that she fears the police. She arrives in Paris where she’s going to stay with her brother Ben until she’s sorted herself out and found a new job. Unfortunately Ben’s not waiting for her as he promised, there is nobody home. She manages to find a way in but it doesn’t give her any clue about where he has gone. Did he go out to follow a lead or did something happen to him in his apartment? The further into the story the more she starts to think it was the last. She has no confidence in the police and would rather avoid them altogether, but can she trust Nick, the one who told Ben about the place he was staying in?
The story is told through the voices of Jess and the tenants in the building and the story always lists the name of the tenant and which floor they occupy on so I made a little drawing myself of the building in my notebook. The ice cold Sophie Meunier (and her husband Jacques) are staying in the penthouse, shy Mimi and her extraverted party-loving friend Camille are on the fourth floor, Jess is staying in Ben’s apartment on the third floor, his old university friend Nick is on the second and the alcoholic Antoine lives on the first floor. In a corner of the property there is also the concierge who seems to be all-seeing and is all-knowing.
I loved being in Paris. Yes it did feel like I was there. Jess drinks a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) and orders a ricard in a Parisian café, she goes to the boulangerie and buys two delicious buttery croissants. What’s more, if you’ve ever wanted to learn the language it’s good to know that the author includes all the most popular swear words in French throughout the story, so you can never really lose sight of the fact that the novel is set in another country. Some readers who don’t enjoy books with profanity might be offended but I found it eh funny. Just when I thought ‘this is the only one missing’ (of course I know my vocabulary) bam, there it was :-).
Everyone in the story is hiding something about who they really are and it was difficult to guess those hidden truths. I really didn’t see that first big twist coming and it was such a good one! Another thing the characters all have in common is that they feel quite invisible. That was before Ben arrived of course because he makes himself liked more than some and loved by others which is very dangerous to do because that leaves plenty of room for jealousy. The story took a whole other turn than what I had imagined though, but it was really well plotted.
If I had known the theme involved in this novel I’m not sure I would have picked this novel so I’m happy that I didn’t know. The goings on in the apartment building did make up for it and it all makes sense in the end why everyone is acting the way that they are. The only thing I really didn’t like was how judgmental some people were about Sophie. She was judged and looked down on because of her past while there was absolutely no reason for it and I wish this opinion of some men wouldn’t find its way into fiction anymore because it keeps these kind of ill-advised thoughts alive. It also made me sad how Nick was afraid for his secret to come out. I think his was the only one I found out on my own.
The Paris Apartment held a lot of mystery and some cracking plot developments, I really enjoyed reading this!
I received a free ecopy from the publisher HarperCollinsUK, HarperFiction via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.