Reading Ruth Ware’s debut novel, I had a creeping sensation of unease. Which, you know, makes sense in a whodunnit where we’re trying to establish who’s responsible for the murder committed on a weekend away in the woods. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the deja vu of realizing you’ve read something VERY similar. I don’t think that Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party rises to the level of plagiarism, but there are some striking resemblances.
Sure, any mystery is going to have some common elements, but this goes beyond the “everyone owes a debt to Agatha Christie” level. Both books are about a group of friends who aren’t as close as they once were, assembled to celebrate in the middle of nowhere, where the protagonist is the mousy friend who was drawn into the queen bee of the group’s orbit in early childhood. The site itself has a dark past, and there’s a literal Chekov’s gun on the wall in both stories. There’s the new mom who’s barely in the story, a gay best male friend there as an outlier, the Single White Female friend who’s just a little too similar to the queen bee. There’s even a burned out building on site in both books.
The stories diverge; there are different murders with different victims and different motives. This book is unmistakably in Ware’s voice, and I haven’t read enough of Foley to say whether it’s typical of her, but The Hunting Party doesn’t read like it’s parroting Ware. But, Ware’s book predates Foley’s, and the similarities seem too numerous to be accidental. Anyone else in CB land read both? Am I reading too much into it?