Sir Oliver Fairleigh-Stubbs, overweight and overbearing, collapses and dies at his birthday party while indulging his taste for rare liquors. He had promised his daughter he would be polite and charitable for the entire day, but the strain of such exemplary behavior was obviously too great. He leaves a family relieved to be rid of him, and he also leaves a fortune, earned as a bestselling mystery author. But the manuscript of the unpublished volume left to Sir Oliver’s wife, a posthumous “last case” that might be worth millions, has disappeared. And Sir Oliver’s death is beginning to look less than natural.
Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was awarded the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Nero Wolfe Award, as well as the Agatha and Macavity awards. An eight-time Edgar nominee, he was a member of Britain's distinguished Detection Club, and, in May 2003, he received the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in mystery writing. His most recent novel, Charitable Body, was published by Scribner in 2012.