The Likeness
by Tana French


West Maui Book Club Discussion Questions

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Any page numbers refer to iPad edition.


1. Do you believe you have a double somewhere in the world?

2. If you believe in “doubles”, let’s play devil’s advocate by asking who believes Cassie could successfully assume the identity “to the tee” of someone living with four others when they were as close as indicated?

3. If you think it’s possible to step into another person’s life without detection, do you really believe that upon arrival, the amnesia story would have kept “Lexie” from at least knowing and acknowledging the last person she was with before being stabbed?

4. Continuing as devil’s advocate, how much time do you think a woman gets preoccupied by her pregnancy once she learns she is, particularly when it could be fathered by someone in the house? How much time is a woman preoccupied after she loses a baby? If you believe it becomes a major focus, do you think Cassie represented Lexi well in both instances? She doesn’t share anything about the loss until 1/3 into the story. 5. Who do you think was the real father of Lexi’s baby? Rafe or Justin?

6. Cassie’s clumsiness hadn’t been an issue during the actual undercover investigation, although it was a major concern prior. Do you think this is due to Cassie’s new focus on the job at hand instead of her lack of direction in Domestic Violence?

7. When Cassie removed her mic and stepped outside to gain Daniel’s trust and disallow Mackey the opportunity to listen in, did you wonder if that was a wise thing to do when the others could have returned prematurely? Why do you think Cassie took this chance?

8. Do you believe Lexi was working through Cassie to get revenge for her killing? Do you believe Lexi was working through Naylor to burn down Whitehorn?

9. Daniel says he’s the one who stabbed Lexi. Did you believe him, or did he as he suspected anyone in the house would have, take the blame to save anyone of them that could have killed Lexi? On the other hand, if they loved each other so much, do you think the real killer would have stepped forward to save the others from taking any blame?

10. Who do you think killed Lexi? Daniel, Justin, Rafe, or Abby?

Questions issued by publisher via

1. Early on in the book, Cassie Maddox says that "all the best undercovers have a dark thread woven into them, somewhere." What is hers?
2. For Cassie, going undercover is almost a compulsion. What drives her to accept Frank's offer and take on Operation Mirror?
3. The rule at Whitethorn House is "no pasts," yet the house is seeped in history and artifacts from earlier eras. How does the house help its inhabitants avoid their own histories?
4. Undercover, Cassie slowly gets drawn into life at Whitethorn House and develops a fondness for Lexie's idiosyncratic housemates. What is it about this world that is so enchanting for her?
5. Cassie says this is Lexie Madison's story, not hers, yet she tells it like it's her own. Whose story do you think it is?
6. Commitment is an issue for Cassie, as she can't seem to settle down with a desk job or her boyfriend. At the same time, she has chosen to work undercover and devote her every hour to this case—a very serious commitment of a different kind. Is this a contradiction in her personality, or are they complementary behaviors?
7. Daniel, Abby, Rafe, Justin, and Lexie's relationship is a fascinating study of group dynamics and each character plays a distinct role. Just as Lexie did before her, Cassie can home in on who she needs to be to fit in. Do you think this is something most people do in social situations or is it a special skill?
8. What does posing as Lexie teach Cassie about herself? What are the differences between the two characters and where does Cassie draw the line?
9. Cassie wonders if Frank Mackey may have had a stronger hunch about the killer than he was admitting all along. Do you think he knew who the killer was?
10. French leaves the story of what happened the night of the stabbing somewhat open. What do you think really happened to Lexie and who was truly responsible?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

(Questions issued by the publisher.)

WMBC Questions compiled by: Elaine Gallant
West Maui Book Club
Oct. 2020