The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley
1/12/22; 318 pages
The Night of the Party by Anna-Lou Weatherley is a highly recommended mystery/psychological thriller.
Evie and Tom Drayton are having their best friends, Una and Jim Hemmings, over for a dinner party. Doting mother Evie begs seventeen-year-old Libby Drayon to play the piano for the group before going out for a couple hours with a friend. Tom's son, Brandon, shows up the night of the dinner too. It's just another normal, pleasant evening among friends at Millbank House, until Libby doesn't text her mom as promised and Evie begins to worry. Evie becomes frantic when Libby doesn't return home. The police are called and DI Daniel Riley and his team begin to investigate. When they retrace the path Libby would take through Windmill Woods, they find a body and the murder investigation begins.
In this well-written mystery/procedural/thriller, everyone is hiding some major secrets, perhaps with the exception of Evie. Libby is hiding the most secrets of all and is not the perfect, dutiful daughter she portrays to her mother. The narrative follows the current investigation and reactions of Evie, with other chapters covering Libby's past actions. All the characters are portrayed as unique individuals with flaws (many, many flaws) and are kept track of easily in the plot.
The suspects are plentiful and Weatherley provides multiple characters that could have a motive. Riley and his team begin to uncover all the secrets and in the process move from one suspect to another. The investigation follows a logical path and clues are provided for those of us who like to try to solve the case while we read. As the new revelations are disclosed, the information will keep you absorbed in the plot. There is plenty of secrets, deception, and scheming to hold your attention throughout. I didn't guess whodunit until I suspect I was supposed to and the final denouement was very satisfying.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Bookouture.