The event? The ‘wedding of the year’
The location? A remote island off the western Irish coast
The result? Murder
When the blurb on a book claims that the novel in question is “in the style of”, it can often be translated as meaning that the author has taken somebody else’s story and tweaked it just enough so as not to fall foul of plagiarism laws. When The Guest List came up for review, it sounded possible that this was one of those occasions – a group of people are brought to a remote island, resulting in murder, “in the style of Agatha Christie” sounds remarkably familiar. As a staunch fan of the Queen of Crime, I immediately decoded this as being a possible clone of And Then There Were None, and was determined to come out all guns blazing in defence of Christie.
It was a pleasant surprise, then, to discover that The Guest List is actually its own story. In fact, the comparison to Christie is quite misleading – Christie wrote her mysteries in a way that made it possible for the reader to deduce the identity and motive of the perpetrator for themselves, all the clues having been scattered along the way. If the reader got to the end without knowing who the murderer was, that was because they hadn’t paid enough attention, not because the clues weren’t there. The Guest List isn’t really like that but that’s not to say it’s not a great read, it’s just that the role of the reader is to observe rather than participate.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable read that’s full of suspense and twists, but won’t tax your little grey cells too much, then The Guest List is for you. Most of the story is engrossing, although it’s not without its share of eye-rolling moments, and rolls along at a decent pace without sacrificing characterisation or detail.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.