Lord Alfred Willoughby has finally passed away. His solicitor, Charles, must see to his will, which holds quite the surprise! Once Willoughby’s adopted son Matthew views the will, then the race is on for cryptic poems to be deciphered, more clues discovered, and hopefully the final fortune to be won before the time limit is up. Set in a Gothic mansion somewhere in the British Isles, this tale holds much suspense and a little bit of trickery.
This was a delicious suspenseful book, perfect for the Halloween season. The story opens with a rainy storm and the death of rich, old Lord Willoughby. James, the butler, helps Charles to find Willoughby’s important papers. Eventually, Charles finds a film, which is actually Willoughby’s recorded will. After viewing it, they track down Matthew, Willoughby’s wayward son. From there, the story turns into a treasure quest. Poems contain clues and those clues lead them all over the sprawling estate. This tale is complete with hidden passage ways, an actual crypt, and nearly forgotten family secrets.
While the 4 main characters are all male, there are two more characters, Mrs. Gilkerry (housekeeper/cook) and Meg (retired maid) who are more than they seem. First, I really enjoyed Mrs. Gilkerry’s cooking. The descriptions of her meals made my mouth water. Who says English cooking lacks flavor and zest? Meg doesn’t come into the story until much later so I won’t reveal too much about her. However, I will say that the discussions with her provided some humor in the middle of this tense book.
This treasure hunt reveals much about the natures of not only Charles and Matthew, but also Lord Willoughby. In a way, Charles learns more about his client’s private life through this quest than he ever would through his legal duties. Matthew has a long history of being a bit of a scoundrel, only returning home when he gets into more trouble or debt than he can manage. This hunt provides a background to show his true mettle: misunderstood man who made some mistakes or a man who truly lacks a moral compass? The ending has more than one secret to reveal! The winding suspense was excellent and I quite enjoyed taking an afternoon to read this. My only wish is that I had enjoyed it on a dark and stormy night.
I received this audiobook at no cost via The Audio Book Worm.
The Narration: Jake Urry was a really good choice of narration for this book. I loved his proper English accents along with his range of voices for all the characters. I especially loved his voice for Meg. Here and there, the characters reveal some emotion and Urry portrayed those emotions quite well.