Murder and Manor Houses
Heirs and Assigns by Marjorie Eccles
Pub Date: November 1, 2015
Introducing Detective Inspector Herbert Reardon in a new mystery series, set in the Downtown Abbey period.
November, 1928. Family and friends have gathered at the Shropshire country home of Penrose Llewellyn to celebrate the retired wealthy businessman’s 60th birthday. But the morning after what should have been a convivial supper party, their host is found dead in his bed – and the circumstances look decidedly suspicious.
As he questions the victim’s nearest and dearest, DI Reardon discovers there are several longstanding secrets lurking amongst the Llewellyn clan – and he is convinced that not everyone is telling him the truth, or at least not the whole truth. Those who stand to inherit most from Pen Llewellyn’s will – if it can be found – are under the strongest suspicion, and among them hides a ruthless killer.
With the growth in popularity of Downtown Abbey, it is no surprise to see the resurgence of the manor house mystery - a popular staple during the Golden Age of mystery. Set against the backdrop of post WWI England, Heirs and Assigns is a captivating mystery featuring a perceptive and compassionate Detective Inspector.
When the wealthy head of the Llewellyn clan summons family and friends for his forthcoming 60th birthday celebration, none are willing to demur. Penrose’s family are dependent upon his goodwill, as most if not all are living at or beyond their means. At a small dinner party before the celebration attended by close family and a few friends, Penrose Llewellyn announces his forthcoming marriage.
The next morning, the wealthy businessman is found dead, in suspicious circumstances.
Every family has secrets, and the Llewellyn clan has more than their share. It is up to Detective Inspector Reardon and his assistant Gilmour to uncover who murdered Penrose Llewellyn. Many gained from his death, but was the motive greed or something more sinister.
The one weakness of Heirs and Assigns lies in the first part of the novel, set before the murder. The introduction of the characters is at times made awkward by shifting tense and perspective. From the second part of the novel (after the murder) on, the narrative flows much more smoothly. On the whole, Heirs and Assigns is a solid and enjoyable country house mystery.
Heirs and Assigns is available for preorder and will be released November 1, 2015.
I received a copy of Heirs and Assigns from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.