The Belting Inheritance

The Belting Inheritance by Julian Symons

Part of the British Library Crime Classics Series, this book was originally published in 1964 and is an delightful tale of dead relatives coming back to life, murder, and family dynamics.

As adopted son, and great-nephew to Lady Wainwright, opens the window into the strained family dynamics. Two sons are controlled by their mother who is on death’s door as a presumed dead older brother, and one of mother’s favorite’s  returns. This entertaining read has plot twists that are both anticipated and shocking. The family dynamics give the comedy and light humor to murders and death.

All in all a great read that lets you enjoy a British classic.

Characters/Book Summary:

Lady Wainwright = Aunt of Sarah, cut off Sarah when Sarah married James. Feels it is her duty to care for Christopher. Widow of a general, despised her 2 younger sons, is dying of stomach cancer. Had four sons: David, Hugh, Miles, and Stephen

David Wainwright = died in WWII, nicknamed Rikki Tikki, possibly returns from the dead claiming that he was imprisoned by Russians at Nooruba, was a suspect in Ted Sullivan’s death

Hugh Wainwright = estate agent that was not good at it, wrote bad plays, bet on races, extended his credit with bookies, and died in WWII

Miles Wainwright = in his late 30’s, little bald man, red faced, wrote a book at 22 the book sold 189 copies and he never wrote again. Divorced after his ex-wife cheated on him with his brother David. Feels he has earned his inheritance.

Stephen Wainwright = a year older than Miles, boxed in personality, partner in a firm of surveyors, mean to Christopher

Christopher Barrington = mother was Sarah, his parent died when he was younger. 18 years old, helped Lady W with her research, was told by Lady W he would get 20,000 in the will and could live at Belting after Lady W dies, thinks David is not who he says he is

Sarah Wainwright = married James Barrington (film director) against her family’s wishes

Thorne = butler at Belting, says if David returns there will be trouble, is the first person murdered. His body was found by Christopher

Peterson = Lady W’s maid, think the letter from David is a hoax

Clarissa = Stephen’s wife, raises bulldogs, loud voice, not jolly

Silas Markle = David’s friend who he brings back to Belting with him. Solicitor, going back to London after he was questioned by the police

Betty Urquhart = runs a gallery, was David’s mistress and Miles’s wife

Vivian Foster = doctor, and good friend of David

Elaine Sullivan = George Sullivan’s daughter, Ted’s niece, helps Christopher investigate David and what happened in Paris

Ted Sullivan = drowned 10 years earlier Hugh was a suspect in the murder

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