A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut reminiscent of an Agatha Christie page-turner crossed with David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. "A sharp, unshrinking look at the costs of submission--to power and control, to ambition and desire, even to the wish to protect those we love by forcing memory underground."--Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and When the Stars Go Dark
When Elspeth Bell attends the fiftieth birthday party of her ex-husband, Richard Bryant, the Hollywood director who launched her acting career, all she wants is to pass unnoticed through the glamorous crowd in his sprawling Los Angeles mansion. Instead, there are only seven other guests--and Richard's pet octopus, Persephone, watching over them from her tank as the intimate party grows more surreal (and rowdy) by the hour. Come morning, Richard is dead--and all of the guests are suspects.
In the weeks that follow, each guest comes under suspicion: the school friend, the studio producer, the actress, the actor, the new partner, the manager, the cinematographer, and even Elspeth herself. What starts out as a locked-room mystery soon reveals itself to be much more complicated, as dark stories from Richard's past surface, colliding with memories of their marriage that Elspeth vowed never to revisit. She begins to wonder not just who killed Richard, but why these eight guests were invited--and what sort of man would desire to possess a creature as mysterious and unsettling as Persephone. The Last Guest
is a stylish exploration of power--the power of memory, the power of perception, the power of one person over another.
About the Author
Tess Little is a writer and historian. She was born in Norwich, Norfolk, and studied history at Oxford and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-two, she was elected as a fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford, where she completed a doctorate on 1970s feminist activism in the UK, France, and the United States. Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in Words and Women: Two, The Mays Anthology, The Belleville Park Pages, and The White Review, and on posters outside a London tube station. This is her first novel.