The Case Of The Missing Will by Agatha Christie, 1923
The magic trick:
Establishing a mystery that’s more of a game than anything
I really like this one. It’s all in the setup. A man has left a very convoluted – but exceptionally interesting – inheritance game for his niece in the wake of his death. If she finds the missing will within a year, she gets the money. If not? It goes to charity. Weird that the worst case is the money falling into the dastardly hands of charitable organizations, but let’s leave that plot oddity aside. It’s a great way to turn a mystery story into a game. And that’s quite a trick on Christie’s part.
“You regard it, then, as a sporting challenge on the part of your uncle?”
“That is exactly how I look upon it.”
“It bears that interpretation, certainly,” said Poirot thoughtfully. “Somewhere in this rambling old manor-house your uncle has concealed either a sum of money in notes or possibly a second will, and has given you a year in which to exercise your ingenuity to find it.”
“Exactly, Monsieur Poirot; and I am paying you the compliment of assuming that your ingenuity will be greater than mine.”
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