Book Club Questions for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

by Heather Caliendo
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Book club questions for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse will unravel all the twists and turns in this murder mystery. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.

This is a creepy novel! I liked it a lot. It really confirms to me that I much prefer my thrillers to have a solid mystery component and not just some random plot points that don’t make any sense. And the setting is perfection.

I was very surprised by the reveal of the killer and the roles that the other women played. I’m so curious to hear what you all thought about the ending—be sure to let me know!

The Synopsis

Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .

The Sanatorium Book Club Questions

  1. Why did Elin decide to accept Issac’s invitation to the engagement party despite being estranged?
  2. What did you think about the setting—the Sanatorium and the location in the Swiss Alps? How did it help add to the mystery/creepy vibe of the story? Would you ever stay in a Sanatorium hotel?
  3. There was a lot of outrage in the town with the decision to turn the Sanatorium into a hotel. What is your opinion on taking places like that and repurposing into vacation destinations?
  4. Elin and Isaac share a dark past—their brother Sam tragically died when they were kids. And Elin had suspicions that Isaac was involved. First, let’s talk about how this tragedy ended up influencing Elin’s decision to become a detective.
  5. Did you believe that Isaac had murdered Sam and possibly Laure?
  6. Elin is on leave from her job as a detective after a case went wrong. But once Laure goes missing, she taps right back into her skills to try and solve the mystery. What did you think of Elin’s detective skills?
  7. Who did you initially suspect was behind the murders?
  8. It turns out that Sam’s death was an accident, however, Elin witnessed it happened but was too much in shock to help him. How did learning the truth change everything for Elin?
  9. We eventually learn that this Sanatorium actually conducted horrific experiments on women. Let’s talk about our thoughts about this.
  10. What did you think about the reveal that Cecile was behind the murders and her reasoning for doing so?
  11. What happens next for Elin, Will and Isaac? Will Elin and Issac now have a better relationship going forward?
  12. Who is stalking Elin in the epilogue? Would you read a sequel of this story?

Additional Recommendations

Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Sanatorium! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

If you’re looking for another thriller (that is also a Reese pick), be sure to check out The Guest List by Lucy Foley. It features another great setting!

The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast. 

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.


One by One by Ruth Ware

If you’re in the mood for another winter-themed thriller, check out One by One by Ruth Ware!

Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide. 

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit.

As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Check out my book club questions here.

Happy reading!

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