Sir Lawrence Linwood is dead, and his three adopted children -- Alan, Roger, and Caroline -- have returned to the remote village of Linwood Hollow for the funeral. What begins as a bittersweet reunion turns sinister when the visiting chief inspector assures the family that Sir Lawrence was murdered -- and that the evidence points to their own mother, a woman so frail and emotionally devastated that any idea of guilt seems unthinkable.
Is Lady Linwood really stricken by grief? Or is it fear? If she didn’t do it, then it can only be one of the three Linwood siblings. In the event of an unnatural death, a clause in Sir Lawrence’s will leaves the whole estate to whichever one of his children identifies his killer, but how badly does each of them want that prize?
A monkey and a cat sat by a hearth, watching the chestnuts roasting in the embers. Said the monkey to the cat, "Look, we could easily make a meal of those chestnuts if you, with your legendary nimbleness, were to reach between the hot embers and flick the chestnuts out; I will catch them as you do, and between us we could have a chestnut feast."
The cat preened to hear himself praised, and agreed to the deal. Darting into the hearth, he flicked the chestnuts out one by one and burned himself. The monkey caught the chestnuts the cat tossed out and ate them as he did.
"What about my share?" cried the cat, when he saw what the monkey was doing. But at this moment, the housemaid entered the room and the two were forced to flee: the monkey with a belly full of chestnuts, and the cat with nothing but a badly singed paw.
It is from this this fable that we get both the French "tirer les marrons du feu" -- to draw the chestnuts from the fire -- and the English "cat’s paw": a dupe who does another’s dirty work.
Christopher Huang grew up in Singapore and moved to Canada when he was seventeen. He returned to Singapore the following year to serve his two years of National Service, before moving on to McGill University to study Architecture. He currently lives in Montreal.
Though an only child, he grew up with eight uncles and aunts on one side of his family and thirteen on the other. He is familiar with family jeopardy.
His other works include:
You can find his personal webpage at www.ricordius.com