Unnatural Ends by Christopher HuangUnnatural Ends by Christopher Huang
Narrator: Raphael Corkhill
Published by Audible Studios on September 5, 2023
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Historical Mystery
Length: 12 hrs 4 mins
Pages: 402
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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Sir Lawrence Linwood is dead. More accurately, he was murdered—savagely beaten to death in his own study with a mediaeval mace. The murder calls home his three adopted children: Alan, an archeologist; Roger, an engineer; and Caroline, a journalist. But his heirs soon find that his last testament contains a strange proviso—that his estate shall go to the heir who solves his murder.

To secure their future, each Linwood heir must now dig into the past. As their suspicion mounts—of each other and of peculiar strangers in the churchless town of Linwood Hollow—they come to suspect that the perpetrator lurks in the mysterious origins of their own birth.

In April 1921, the three Linwood siblings, Alan, an archeologist, Roger, an engineer, and Caroline, a journalist, return to their family estate in Yorkshire for their adoptive father’s funeral. Their father, the late Sir Lawrence Linwood, had been bludgeoned to death in his study with a medieval flanged mace by an unknown assailant. Upon the reading of Sir Lawrence’s will, they are made aware of a “find my killer” clause wherein in the case of an unnatural death, the one who can solve his murder inherits his estate. As father has in fact been brutally murdered, this is the start of an investigation that will delve into the deeply buried secrets of the Linwood family.

Lawrence Linwood was a terrible person, abusive to his children and wife, controlling and manipulative ov the entire village. I tend to read traditional and cozy mysteries and while abuse is sometimes a topic, it’s not usually shown as often or in detail. Reading of the times the three remember when their father used fear and violence to shape them wa a bit much for me. Honestly, I didn’t care who killed him.

And really, the story is more about the Linwoods getting caught up in their pasts, searching for the truths of their births and adoptions. They are also still deaing with their father’s shadow and expectations. It moved rather slowly. We saw the investigation from multiple points of view, which led to some repetition.

The ending fit with the rest of the book. It was not surprising, but it wrapped up in a way that worked with the theme and characters.

I picked up Unnatural Ends because a.) I loved Huang’s first book, A Gentleman’s Murder, and b.) 1920s England is one of my favorite settings. I can’t say I loved it, but it was worth reading. The setting and atmosphere were well done. Linwood Hall, surrounded by the moors, is appropriately gothic and claustrophobic. The characters are fully-devleoped and the impact of the war is shown well.

About Christopher Huang

Christopher Huang was born in Singapore, where he lived out the first seventeen years of his life. He moved to Canada in the expectation of cooler weather, returning to Singapore the following year to serve his two years of National Service in the Singapore Army. He studied architecture at McGill University, and lived the next twenty-odd years in Montreal. He now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

A longtime fan of the principles of fair play governing the mystery genre, he thinks of detective stories as an early form of interactive fiction. He is, of course, very fond of modern interactive fiction as well.


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