Heathcliff Lennox learns from his butler about the corpse in his compound. The man has a slip of paper in his pocket; ‘Countess Sophia Androvich Zerevki Polyakov’ is written on it. The police suspect Lennox of murdering the man. The next day Lennox is invited to a Christmas party at his uncle’s house. Mr Melrose (the uncle) reveals a secret. He and Countess Sophia are engaged. Edgar, Lennox’s cousin also has an announcement to make. He’s engaged to the Countess’s niece Natasha.
The events leading to the murder is dramatic. The future Mrs Melrose/Countess commands Lennox not to let Mr Fogg, Lennox’s dog, inside the house. It’s Christmas eve and everybody has gathered around to share gifts. The Countess hasn’t arrived yet and Lennox hears from others that Mr Fogg is roaming around in the corridor. He goes in search of the dog and the dog, thinking his master is playing a game, runs around. Lennox hears a gunshot and sees the Countess lying dead in a pool of blood in her room. Lennox sees the pistol and picks it up when the rest of the family arrives at the scene of the crime and accuses him of murdering the beloved countess.
At times, I felt like DNFing this book but I am glad I didn’t coz the denouement was really good. I wish I could say the same about character portrayal or story execution! Hmph!
The plot sounded exciting and this is the only reason I chose to read this book. However, after the first murder, (i.e. finding the corpse in the garden), the story fell flat.
Lennox is one character you wouldn’t like. I am not a fan of characters indulged in a pity party. Either move on or …! For God’s sake, don’t boo-hoo on spilt milk. I am just expressing my frustrations at the poor character portrayal.
Lennox has secrets too. He’s connected to The Countess somehow; hides facts and findings from the family and police until it is too late. This might have been an attempt to pique the reader’s curiosity but this didn’t work for me. It left me frustrated with the way things were proceeding in the story.
The denouement was the best part of this story so yay, finally things ended well. The red herrings were plenty though poorly executed throughout the story. Overall, a good plot but lacks proper story execution and character portrayal. Since I did not like the story as much as I wanted to, I will not talk about recommendations.