The family of a deceased millionaire come to Wolfe to mediate a dispute over their brother’s will, which surprisingly left little to the man’s wife and sisters, but left the balance to an unrelated woman. The will didn’t meet many of the brother’s promises including leaving a million dollars to one sister’s university.
Wolfe’s job is simply to negotiate with the man’s unrelated heiress, but the case takes on a whole new complexion when its learned that the millionaire has been murdered, and the only way for Wolfe to question all the suspects is to leave the Brownstone.
Archie and Wolfe are at their best in this novel, and the mystery has a very clever solution.
The big negative of this story is that unlike in both previous and later Wolfe novels, the family is not all that interesting. While the Hawthorne sisters are very accomplished women from a family of very accomplished people that doesn’t make them interesting characters. Indeed, they are a bit flat.
Still, with Wolfe and Archie on the job and no other major snags, I’ll give this one:
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