Grand Central PublishingApril 14th, 2020
The Invitation by Rachel Abbott will remind readers about the game of Clue. In which room and with what weapon did the crime take place? Who was the perpetrator what was their motive?
“The idea came over a number of years. Originally the story was set in Italy because we have a house there. It is quite a big house, so we actually rent it out for events, including weddings. One of the groups that stayed had a murder mystery weekend. I put the wedding and the murder mystery together. The one difference is that in my book it is a real murder. We did go to Cornwall to get a feel for the place, including the path to the sea. Regarding the estate I had the layout of my house in my head so when the characters walked around, I had each location in my head.”
The story begins when a group of childhood friends reunite for a wedding. Their leader, Lucas, the one who everyone wants to impress, is marrying Nina Belanger who he met in France. But a tragic event happens, leaving everyone distraught, especially the groom. One year later, Lucas has all the friends return because he is seeking answers and revenge. He forces each guest to dress in exact replicas of last year’s outfits and eat the same meals. Jenna, married to Matt, pushes back. But the others fear Lucas, the scion of one of Britain’s wealthiest and most influential families, will ruin them professionally or never invite them back if they don’t go along. When the police come to investigate the disappearance of some, the tensions rise even higher.
In my first book, And So It Begins, Stephanie King and Gus Brodie were introduced. He was the senior investigative officer while she was a rookie. This book explores their tumultuous relationship. Gus hurt her very deeply. After she became pregnant with their baby, he walked away. But in this book, they have come together. But they are basically secondary characters because I want the book to be about the victims and preparators of the crimes. The police are in a solid presence in the background to solve the crime.”
Readers will enjoy the way Abbott has set up the story by keeping them off-balance. From the Cornwall setting with the cliffs, ocean, and seaside estate to the way information is revealed. Sometimes it was from character conversations, and sometimes from the police investigation.
This is a riveting mystery, but also a book about relationships. Each of the childhood friends hid something which were clues to the tragedy at the center of the story.