Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Murder of a Silent Man (DCI Isaac Cook #8), by Phillip Strang

Phillip Strang, June 2018

Gilbert Lawrence was a real estate magnate of great wealth, and also an eccentric and a complete recluse. He has not left his home in thirty years, barring weekly visits to the local liquor store, and one visit, twenty years ago, to a dentist.

Now he's dead, murdered in his own front yard, discovered by the postman.

He has also left a will leaving his lawyer in control of his wealth, with relatively small amounts doled out to his daughter, his son, his grandchildren, and his sister, under very tight conditions.

DCI Cook and his team have to untangle the family relationships, the intentions of the lawyers, the other entanglements of family members. Lawrence's son and daughter had every reason to believe they would inherit many millions of pounds on their father's death. No one else seems to have any obvious motive. And yet....

Ralph is in desperate need of money, but he was in police custody in Spain when his father died. Caroline isn't as wealthy as her father, but she has a very comfortable, secure life, wealthy by any normal standards. Ralph's son Michael is also in serious need of money, but was drugged out on heroin when the grandfather he never met died.

Lawyer Leonard Dundas, and his daughter and partner Jill Dundas, don't appear to have an obvious motive, and yet, they are left in actual control of the Lawrence billions.

This is a mystery of character, clues, and police procedure, tightly constructed, and a an absorbing read. These are flawed, complicated characters, and the mystery is further complicated by a shocking discovery inside the home of the dead man. Was he sane? Do the annual "examinations" of him by three different psychiatric teams--conducted by phone and written questionnaire, not even video calls--really prove he was?

It's a complicated, compelling story. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.