Lucy Foley has signed a “strong six-figure deal” for her first crime novel and one other book with HarperCollins.
Publisher of commercial women’s fiction at the HarperCollins imprint, Kimberley Young, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Hunting Party and one other novel from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. US rights have been acquired by Katherine Nintzel at William Morrow at auction and a “closely-fought five-way” auction is ongoing in Germany.
The Highland-set murder mystery, which “bristles with tension”, is slated for hardback publication in 2019.
HarperFiction has described The Hunting Party as an “exciting new addition to Foley’s portfolio”. Foley's debut novel, The Book of Lost and Found, was acquired at auction for a six-figure sum in 2013.
The Hunting Party is the author’s first crime novel and is described as combining elements of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (HarperCollins) and The Secret History (Penguin) by Donna Tartt.
The novel follows a a tight-knit group of Oxford university alumni as they celebrate New Year’s Eve in the wilderness of the Loch Corrin Estate in Scotland. A HarperFiction spokesperson said: “In these wild, white climes the group reminisce, go deer stalking, and hide friendship-destroying secrets, secrets that set a razor-sharp sequence of events in motion, culminating with a broken body in the snow.”
Young said: “Lucy can imbue her stories with such incredible depth and atmosphere, and it isn’t surprising that she’s added this darker string to her bow with such adeptness. The Hunting Party bristles with tension, rivalries, intoxicating characters, and the backdrop is utterly chilling. It has all the ingredients of a huge bestseller, and we’re so unbelievably excited to be broadening our publishing for such a talented author.”
Foley praised Young and her team’s “fantastic passion and skill”.
She said: “I loved writing it: it was a fantastic challenge turning my hand to a contemporary setting with characters around my own age and exploring my dark side. It’s set in a beautiful but very remote spot in Scotland that I have visited several times and that fired my imagination due to the warnings of what might happen in heavy snowfall: what if no one could get in - and no one escape?”
HarperFiction continues to publish Foley’s historical fiction and her third novel, Last Letter from Istanbul, will be published in April 2018.