Title: Unhappy heirs
By Author: Elizabeth Hawn
Tag line: There’s nothing like the reading of a well to bring out the worst in people!
Police characters: None.
The gist: Helen’s will divided her assets equally between her three grandchildren. When told this by Martha, the executor of the will, only Paula seemed happy. Jake and Adam were unhappy claiming that Paula had plenty of money and that they needed it more. Paula’s comment was that she worked hard and was a success and that grandma would never penalize her for that by leaving her a lesser share. Grandma’s house and most of her assets were sold at auction. When handed the list of items sold along with the selling price of the home though even Paula was not smiling. Another list was given to each showing which family heirlooms Grandma wished to leave to each grandchild. Jake grumbled that Paula’s list had more items of value, particularly a set of silverware, and told Paula she should sell the silver and divide the proceeds. Paula responded that the silver was left to her because grandma knew she would keep it in the family whereas the boys would sell it.
The items the grandkids were left were stored in a storage unit in town. They all drove to the facility. A code was needed to unlock the front door, but no security cameras were seen. This was noted by Adam who was the only one there when the code was entered by Martha. The four of them then proceeded to the storage unit where Martha opened it using a key from her purse. There was much complaining about how to move/ship/store the items that were left to them; heavy desks, boxes of old books, etc. Paula was smiling though as she inspected not only the silverware but the china that was left to her.
That night each grandchild had their own bedroom. They were sleeping in Helen’s home. Helen slept on a pullout bed in the basement. The next day while the two boys were out (one was renting a trailer and one was going to a shipping company to get prices) it was discovered that the silver was missing out of the storage unit. Martha recalled that her purse had been in the living room all night. Martha knew who had taken the silver.
Crime scene: Storage unit.
Clues: Only Adam was there when the front door code was entered.
Suspects: Supposedly the 3 heirs.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Only Adam was there when the front door code was entered. He took the key out of Martha’s purse in the night and hid the silverware in one of the boxes of books his grandma had left him.
My two cents: A female executor of a will is called an executrix.
What woman goes to bed in the cellar and leaves her purse on the living room when there are strangers in the house? None I know of.
We have to eliminate Paula right away as she was the only one happy with the will. That leaves the two boys, of which only one was present when the code was entered.
You don’t have to be Sherlock to figure this one out.
How stupid is Adam to think Paula wouldn’t notice one of her two items was missing from the storage unit the very next day. Did he really think he was going to hide the silverware in a book box and ship it home, and that was going to be the end of it? Did he not think Paula would call the police and report a theft the minute she realized it?
Clue: Yes, the story had a clue. It was not cleverly hidden… but it was in the body of the story.
Motive: Clear motive. Greed.
Police work: None.
Writing: Not particularly impressive. Executor vs. executrix. We have a woman leaving her purse unattended; phone, credit cards, money, car keys. How convenient for the story, but not very believable.
Characters: Cardboard characters, malcontents for men.