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entertaining, but not the best of Wycliffe
on 2 January 2010
When local businessman Edwin Garland dies of a heart attack, there's not much surprise in it. But when his son is shot dead on the evening of his funeral, both deaths become the focus of a murder investigation. Was Garland murdered as well? And even if he wasn't, are the deaths connected?
Garland's will hints at some enormous joke perpetrated by Garland and his friend, artist Gifford Tate; a joke that has not yet finished playing out. Tate died some years ago, and the last remaining member of their trio of friends has no idea what his friends were up to. Wycliffe realises that the will may provide more than the obvious financial clues as to motives for murder. But teasing out the real clues from the abundant red herrings may take him a little while...
It's not difficult to work out what joke Gifford and Tate were playing, as the clues are clearly signposted for the reader -- perhaps a little too clearly, because it takes Wycliffe an annoyingly long time to realise what is going on. But there's still plenty of meat in the shifting stories offered by the suspects as they try to protect themselves and their secrets, and knowing what the joke was is only part of what's needed to be sure of whodunnit and why. Watching Wycliffe and his colleagues painstakingly sift through conflicting stories and motives to find the real truth is an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours.