A dying billionaire. Nine would-be heirs. But only one will take the prize…
At the lush Villa Calypso on the French Riviera, a dying billionaire launches a devious plan: at midnight each day he appoints a new heir to his vast fortune. If he dies within 24 hours, that person takes it all. If not, their chance is gone forever.
Yet these are no ordinary beneficiaries, these men who crossed him, women who deceived him, and distant relations intent on reclaiming the family fortune. All are determined to lend death a hand and outwit their rivals in pursuit of the prize.
As tensions mount with every passing second, retired Scotland Yard investigator Jasper must stay two steps ahead of every player if he hopes to prevent the billionaire’s devious game from becoming a testament to murder…
This does hark back to the golden age crime dramas – an old man on the verge of dying, having one last “hurrah” in implicating his various hangers on (including his ex wife, who married his now ex-partner – following the affair – and the hope their son will, somehow, inherit) in his ultimate death. Meanwhile he can sit back and watch as everyone involved is played against each other and he gets to watch their behaviour for the sake of money.
Lots of suspects and double crossing – should we talk about the ex-secretary (too old to start again) or the Ingenue nurse (young and perhaps too outrageously NEW) or perhaps the sons/brothers in law, both of whom seem to have “issues”?
Each character has something to hide and everyone lies about something to protect either themselves or someone else. There is also the British ex-policeman who has been friends with the intended murder victim for several years, and is on hand to provide investigations within the English ex-pats in France.
Ultimately, we reach a conclusion, that allows the reader (and also the writer!) a classic “I’ve gathered you here today cos I want to show off” moment, which is what we really want from such a story. Boy do we get it! I wont spoil the ending or those who are involved in the murder plot.
Overall – whilst enjoyable in and of itself and a decent introduction to the author’s way of writing with the “I’ve called you all here moment”….I have read other books by this author (e.g. The Butterfly Conspiracy and A proposal to die for). I personally preferred those worlds as the “i’ve called you here” moment seemed just a little forced. That’s just me however. It will be interesting to hear what others think.