||The Pongid Press
||November 14, 2011
James Boyle drops dead, and his relatives gather for the reading of his will--only to begin dying one at a time.
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When wealthy and eccentric patriarch James Boyle dies a peculiar death, the DA declines to investigate, convinced that the victim died of natural causes. Yet even the police are stunned when members of the Boyle family gather at the estate of Rollingwood for the reading of James' will--and begin to die, one at a time. Only when long-lost relative Bradley Smith appears, along with reporter Eric Maxwell, do the mysterious deaths finally receive a proper investigation. Even so, no one is prepared for the lunacy that hides beneath the mansion's bizarre facade.
“Would you pry this cat off the steering wheel?” Eric was saying testily. He and Bradley were driving to Chichiteaux in Eric’s Honda. With them were Bradley’s cats, a calico named Purrball and a white kitten called Muffin. Both cats were wandering loose in the car because Smith thought caging animals was a crime.
“God, Eric, you must never have owned pets before.” Bradley tugged Purrball off and lowered her into the backseat, which he had turned into a playpen for the cats. A tangle of extension cords plugged a pair of battery-heated cat beds into the cigarette lighter, allowing the cats to lounge like pashas. Of course, Bradley had brought along their scratching posts, chase balls, plush toys, feather twitches, and wind-up mice. Smith had looped a pair of swat toys around the head rests, causing Maxwell to fret about his upholstery. And Bradley had not forgotten the more practical items like combs and brushes. Two suitcases alone had been necessary for the cat’s luggage.
Glancing over his shoulder, Eric said with disapproval, “You know, those cats have more toys than I ever did in all the time I was growing up.”
“Want a catnip-stuffed mouse to make you feel better?”
“No, thank you.”
“I was getting rid of one anyway. The seams are coming loose.”
“And a dozen more shall take its place,” Eric proclaimed in Biblical tones. “God only knows what your relatives will say when you show up with those cats.”
“Why are you so worried about my family?”
Eric could not resist grinning. “I’m afraid they’ll be like you.”
“Pah. If they’re like me, they’ll be wonderful people.”
“Besides, I think they might be rich.”
“Hey, I grew up poor but respectable. I’m still poor but respectable. And I’m poor by choice. You don’t become wealthy on a reporter’s salary for a small paper. But rich people don’t understand guys like me. They’ll ask why I don’t have a better paying job, and I’ll have to hurt their doltish feelings when I tell them I don’t give a damn.”
“Oh for God’s sake, rich people are just like you and me. They just have--weirdly dead relatives,” Bradley said with rising surprise.
“What are you looking at?”
Smith was holding a newspaper. “I borrowed this from the library. It’s the latest issue of the Chichiteaux Weekly and it has James Boyle’s obituary in it.”
“You’ll have to return that. Libraries don’t take to thieves,” Eric chided.
“All right. But listen to this. ‘Mr. James Elmont Boyle, 71, died in Chichiteaux on August 8th, while out for a drive in his beloved Mercedes-Knight town car. He was killed by a CD. Mr. Boyle was the son of Hiram Boyle, a local manufacturer, and Christina Howland. He had spent all his life in this community and was well-known as a fancier of antique cars. He was also an honorary colonel in the 1st Chichiteaux Regimental Militia. Mr. Boyle was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Newcombe Boyle. Survivors include his sister, Katherine Boyle, his son, Armagnac Boyle, and his two daughters, Jacquelyn Salisbury of New York City and Rose Cummings of Albany. He is also survived by three grandchildren. The burial was held Friday at the Douthit Cemetery. The family requests that all memorials be sent to the Chichiteaux Garden Club.’ Killed by a CD? What’d he do, swallow it?”
A wacky and wonderful romp by Plurabelle of Bookgasmic Reviews
In A Nutshell:
When wealthy but slightly nutty patriarch James Boyle dies suddenly, his relatives congregate at the family home for the reading of the will. As more questions arise about the true cause of Boyle's death, and more and more relatives begin dropping like flies, utter chaos ensues.
I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book. The over the top wacky story line reminded me of one of my all time favorite movies; Arsenic & Old Lace. The pure chaotic insanity of the characters and some of the situations that unfold in A Will To Murder garnered me so many genuine laugh out loud moments that I have lost track of them all.
Yes there were a LOT of characters to try and keep track of (a little bit difficult to do for the first third of the book), but it was worth it in the end because the author had planted such a huge goofy grin on my face that none of that seemed to matter.
Hands down my favorite character was Arthur. His sections of the book were among the most entertaining. I vote for another book featuring Arthur and his adventures with Flopsy & Mopsy.
A wild and wacky mystery that's bound to be one of my favorite reads of the year.
A Will for Murder is charming, fascinating and thoroughly entertaining, by Wendy Hines of Minding Spot
James Boyle likes things his way. He loves to show off his car to the small town, but a normal excursion into town he is shocked to hear a loud thumping noise. Imagine his dismay when he realizes the rap music is coming from his own car. James dies, from shame or a heart attack, it's hard to say.
The family begins to come out of the woodwork for the reading of James' will. He was very wealthy. His two daughters, Rose and Jac, arrive with their families. His sister Katherine lived with him and assumes she will be the main beneficiary. His son, who also lives with him, and hasn't worked a day in his life, also assumes he will be the main beneficiary. The reading of the will, though, is delayed as they wait on other family to arrive.
Lance and Collette arrive, children from James' long lost sister, and Bradley Smith with his reporter friend, Eric Maxwell. Bradley didn't know he had any family living until he gets the notice from the lawyer. He also brings his two cats, much to the chagrin of the family, who have a dog.
When the will is read, there is stunned silence. Arthur, the only child of Rose, receives a penny - the only grandchild to get anything. Rose and Jac do not receive anything and Katherine is the beneficiary. But the will reading stops when Jac begins to throw a tantrum.
Not long after the will reading, another death occurs. Each time someone dies, the will changes and someone else dies. With such an eccentric family, there are many mishaps, embarrassing moments and mischief as they begin to know one another. As the deaths pile up, all declared natural by the medical examiner, Eric begins to question and investigate. With that much money at stake, no one is safe.
A Will for Murder is charming, fascinating and thoroughly entertaining. It reminded me so much of the game Clue, as different people died in different rooms and you want to know, who did it? I was sad to see it end. Hilary Thomson is a very gifted writer, with an attention to detail and well-depicted characters that keep the pages flowing seamlessly. I can't wait to see what she has in store next!
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