"The Unfinished Clue" by Georgette Heyer
Not an Agatha Christie but the atmosphere is something of the daily lives people are supposed to lead and then, the tragedy strikes. The characters are well-sketched and author takes a lot of effort and time to lead to the cataclysmic moment and pains in description the people. So, at first, the novel may not appear to be moving at all. But, everything is made up by the ending.
Sir Billington-Smith, a retired colonel, is a most odious creature and is hated by all. His first wife left him and ran away, after being fed up by his tyrannical disposition, leaving her son behind. The general had again married a girl who was half his age, Fay. So, the present setting is a weekend home party comprising of a few people at the colonel's house. The party comprises of Dinah (Fay's sister), Stephen Guest (cousin or a relation of the colonel who is violently in love with Fay), Mr. and Mrs. Halliday (guests who had been invited for the party), Geoffrey (colonel's son), Lola (a Mexican Cabaret dancer and Geoffrey's betrothed) and Francis (nephew of the colonel). They are joined for one of the dinners by the vicar of the village, Mr. Chudleigh and his wife. Now, the engagement of Geoffrey was entirely against the principles of the Colonel so he was violently against the match and makes his feelings very much public to the embarrassment of his family and his son.
After a very strained weekend, everyone is packing their bags to leave on Monday by the afternoon train. On Monday, the colonel ends up declaring he will disinherit Geoffrey and a bitter arguement with his wife, Fay, follows this dialog. Francis tries to coax out a little money out of the colonel but he is impervious to the former's attempts. Mrs. Halliday continues to encourage the colonel and receives a check of fifty pounds for her services. Mr. Halliday gets outraged by this action and has a heated dialog with the colonel. Mrs. Twining, a helpful neighbor, visits the Colonel's house talk over the matter of Geoffrey. Mrs. Chudleigh joins the group on the terrace as she is nosy enough to ferret out the fate of Geoffrey and his fiancee.
And, after a matter of 10-15 minutes, the colonel is found dead in his study. Everyone has some or other obscure reason for getting rid of the general and everyone has a chance to do it. So, enters a Scotland Yard inspector, Mr. Harding who tries to put two and two together and find out who the killer is.
From the death of the colonel, the story becomes more interesting. I would say that if you have read Agatha Christie which always has the evil atmosphere surrounding the entire story, this one is not like that. The atmosphere, I will again point out, is just like the day-to-day life. But, a good read overall.
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