My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Murder by Bequest reads like a classic novel, notably something like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have written in his Sherlock series, with highly complex sentence structure that gave the impression of an author with immense vocabulary and equally complex thought patterns but little regard for the ease of reading. At multiple points in the reading I did think “why so many words for so little being said?”
Having conveyed this sentiment I did enjoy this book, to a degree. Because of the complexity of the composition it was difficult to really get emotionally attached to any of the characters. Since I couldn’t connect with the characters the reading was what I consider an “arm’s length enjoyment” in that I was able to appreciate the mystery and subsequent resolution of said mystery for what it was, but from an intellectual distance. I’m of the mind that even if the text is a slog to get through I should at least be able to become emotionally invested in the characters, their development and eventual outcome. Murder By Bequest did not give me any of that which was disappointing since I’m sure Yantiss intended the ending of the book to be emotionally impactful, indicating as much in Monty’s foreword that this is an account of events that caused him great emotional distress.
I gave this book a higher rating because Yantiss mostly accomplishes what he set out to do, which was to deliver a well-researched, well-planned and executed mystery novel. The older-British-mentor and younger-sidekick archetypes were exceedingly in play here – archetypes overdone in my opinion but effective nonetheless. Thank you for the intellectual read Mr. Yantiss but I think I’ll be passing on your other Sherrod Colsne novels. They’re just not my cup of tea, if you will.