3 Sentence Summary
Lucy Foley’s gripping novel, The Paris Apartment takes you to a thrilling journey of Jess as she unravels the mysteries surrounding her missing half-brother and delves into the hidden secrets of the building’s inhabitants. Foley masterfully combines classic mystery elements with insightful social commentary. That makes this instant bestseller a must-read for fans of suspenseful thrillers like Lock Every Door and lovers of Clue-like intrigue.
Summary Read Time: Less than 4 minutes
Actual Book Length: 360
First Published in: 2022
Below is the detailed yet quick The Paris Apartment summary:
Journalist Ben is working on a story in his Paris apartment when he’s suddenly attacked. Soon after, his half-sister Jess arrives, only to find him missing. She discovers a metal card and contact information for Theo Mendelson, an editor at The Guardian, in Ben’s wallet. As Jess familiarizes herself with the building and its residents, she encounters Sophie, an older woman receiving blackmail letters, and other intriguing neighbors.
Jess uncovers a hidden stairwell and explores the building’s wine cellar, where Nick, an old friend of Ben’s, assists her when she gets trapped. Meeting Theo at a café, she learns Ben was supposed to pitch a story that day. On her way back, a mysterious Eastern European woman inquires about Ben but flees before Jess can learn more. Later, Jess finds notes on “Le Petite Mort” in Ben’s apartment, but they’re stolen during the night.
On Sunday, Nick helps Jess report Ben as missing to Commissaire Blanchot from the police. While visiting Sophie’s penthouse apartment, Jess discovers a Russian passport and a photograph revealing the residents are actually a family, with Sophie and Jacques being the parents of Antoine, Nick, and Mimi.
At a Halloween party thrown by Mimi and Camille, Jess searches for information about Ben’s disappearance. She stumbles upon torn canvases of paintings of Ben in Mimi’s apartment. However, Jess’s drink is drugged, causing her to pass out before she can uncover more.
On a reflective Monday, Nick recalls a transformative experience shared with Ben in Amsterdam. A stolen kiss between them awakened Nick’s realization of his queer identity, a truth he has grappled with ever since. Meanwhile, Theo deciphers the mystery of the metal card found in Ben’s wallet. It turns out to be a pass to an elite club, a veneer for a sinister operation. This high-end ‘wine’ club, owned by the Meunier family, is a disturbing front for sex trafficking. Jess recognizes one of the young victims from a chance encounter at the Metro.
Back at the apartment, Sophie ponders her intricate past. She thinks about her clandestine affair with Ben and reflects on Mimi, her adopted daughter. The Concierge had confessed to Ben that Mimi was her granddaughter, adopted by Sophie after Mimi’s mother tragically died during childbirth.
The plot thickens when Antoine reveals to Sophie that he’s been the source of her blackmail. He has unearthed her hidden past; Sophie was once one of the girls from their family’s illicit club. He demands more hush money, threatening to expose her secret to Jacques, but Sophie stands her ground, refusing his demands.
Returning to the building, Jess is confronted by Nick and Antoine, aware of her investigations. In self-defense, Jess stabs Antoine and escapes to the Maid’s Quarters, where she discovers Ben, alive but gravely injured. Nick arrives, astounded to find Ben living. The backstory of Ben’s disappearance unfolds, revealing Jacques’ attack on Ben, Mimi’s defense leading to Jacques’ death, and Sophie’s orchestration of the cover-up.
Sophie hid the injured Ben in the Maid’s Quarters while the others unknowingly buried Jacques, thinking him to be Ben. In the present, Jess convinces Sophie to let her get medical help for Ben. Following his recovery, Theo publishes a damning exposé about the club. Jess persuades Sophie to financially assist the girls from the club, allowing them to escape their current predicament. With her share of the money, Jess commences a new chapter in her life.