Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Philanthropist's Dan$e

The Philanthropist's Dan$e
Author Paul Wornham
Twelve people. Five days. One fortune. Johnston Thurwell, one of the world’s richest men, dies unexpectedly. His family expects to inherit his wealth, but instead discover the dying philanthropist has spent his last days planning something called The Danse. The twelve most important people in his life are brought together to decide the most important question at the end of it. Who will inherit his fortune? The family is sequestered in the philanthropists’ remote country mansion with a group that includes his best friend, his most loyal servants, and his greatest rival. They must agree who among them will share the fortune, but they must do it against the clock. Every twenty-four hours, the fortune is reduced. In just five days, it will all be gone. The thin veneer of civility among the twelve is ripped away by naked greed as their lust for money drives them into betrayal, blackmail and violence. The desperate family will do anything to save their inheritance. Except share it.
Review: In the vein of a classic whodunnit plot, The Philanthropist's Dan$e gathers a group of people at a country mansion in New York.  However, instead of a murder occurring on the first night, the group is assigned the chore of dividing the fortune of the already decreased Mr. Thruwell. Plotting, scheming and aligning allegiances ensue.  For mystery readers that lean towards classic plot and characterization reminiscent of the BBC classics, Murder She Wrote episodes, or Agatha Christie type reads, you will likely enjoy Paul Wornham's debut novel.  If you're looking for a modern or twist in approach, you won't get it here. The plot and characters (including butlers) follow a typical cozy mystery script and I'm afraid not much of a twist comes in the end. Nevertheless, human nature is interesting when money is at stake. Would I have liked more of a twist and shock of character, breaking the cliche mould?  Yes, because that is usually my preference. However, if you're looking for a stoke the pipe and park the toes in front of a fire classic "Richie Rich" cozy mansion mystery -- this might toast your marshmallows.
tiny blue diamondtiny blue diamondtiny blue diamond1/2 star 

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