Unnatural Ends

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Pub Date 05 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2022

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Description

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.

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...


A Note From the Publisher

Christopher Huang grew up in Singapore, an only child in a family tree that expands dramatically sideways at his parents’ generation. He moved to Canada after his National Service, studied architecture at McGill, and settled down in Montreal, apparently for good. His first novel, A Gentleman’s Murder, was named a 2018 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year and is in development for television. Unnatural Ends is his second novel.

Christopher Huang grew up in Singapore, an only child in a family tree that expands dramatically sideways at his parents’ generation. He moved to Canada after his National Service, studied...


Advance Praise

"Delightful and immersive." —Foreword Reviews

"A puzzle worthy of Golden Age detective fiction. Fans of historical mysteries and 1920s novels will welcome this twisted, complex story." —Library Journal

"Delightful and immersive." —Foreword Reviews

"A puzzle worthy of Golden Age detective fiction. Fans of historical mysteries and 1920s novels will welcome this twisted, complex story." —Library Journal


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781950301065
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 14 members


Featured Reviews

Gloriously Crafted…. Found dead in his study, battered to death with a mediaeval mace, Sir Lawrence Linwood's death is somewhat of a mystery. The rather dysfunctional Linwood clan have been beckoned from far and wide to attend his funeral, blissfully unaware that a murder has taken place until their arrival and that their task will be to find his killer. With a perfect setting and a gloriously crafted cast of characters, way more than a nod to classic Golden Age crime fiction and a solid locked room mystery at its’ heart, this is an intriguing, immersive and delightful read from start to finish. Aficionados of a vintage mystery will be in their element.

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Wow, I loved this book. Set on an estate perched on a cliff over the village below, just after WWI, 3 adopted, now adult children return when their despot of a father is bludgeoned to death. It’s a wonderful mix of mystery, history, and numerous plot twists. Layers of truth are slowly revealed as the 3 siblings take us back to earlier years. Roger, his motorcar, descriptions of Iris, and the overall ‘stiff upper lip attitude’ take me back to the post War era Downton Abby shows…..Matthew with his car racing down the roads, the family needing to modernize and expand the financial base of the village that relies on them, and the regard with which the village holds the great halls residents are themes that are reflected in this book. I couldn’t put this book down, thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy, Reading how Alan, Roger, and Caroline work their way through their family history and the mystery was a true joy.

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If you are looking for a book with several twists and turns this is a great one. I enjoyed both the main characters, as well as minor characters in the book. Linwood Hall, where the three main characters grew up, seems to have a personality all its own as well. If the several books I've read so far this year, this might be my favorite. While I can't say I didn't see the end coming from fairly early on, the path Huang authored was a wild ride. It was like a puzzle: I knew the end result, but it took me a while to see how the pieces fit together. It was also interesting to see it play out from all three of the Linwood children's point of view. I've seen other reviews stating the characters seem flat, or readers were unable to connect with them; however, I would think this is how Huang intended them to be. The three main characters also had great development through the story. What the Linwood children lacked, the minor characters possessed. The detail with which we got to know the other characters seemed to bring out their humanity, which even affirms my belief Huang intended the Linwoods to be somewhat flat. Linwood Hall was one of the most interesting settings I've encountered recently. The reverence characters have for the structure, the detail with which it is described, and the atrocities that occurred within its walls make it feel like a living, breathing thing. If only these walls could talk. I highly recommend this book, and I certainly hope to read more from Huang in the future.

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Linwood Hall, in the year 1906, was "a jumble of grey stone walls pockmarked with tall, narrow windows. French doors had been punched into the ground floor in the last century opening on the broad terrace cantilevering over the cliff...All around them, the windswept North Yorkshire moors...". A tall tower room rose from the middle of the estate, a playroom nicknamed "Camelot" by the three adopted children of Sir Lawrence Linwood. "Camelot" was accessible through passages behind the walls. In 1921, Alan an archeologist, Roger an engineer, and Caroline, a journalist were called home upon the death of their father. "In the event that my death should be due to unnatural causes, I charge my children with the task of identifying the killer. If one of them finds the killer, to the satisfaction of the police and the courts of law-I rescind previous statements and leave the entirety of this residuary estate to that child." It was determined that Sir Lawrence was murdered in his study, the instrument of death, a medieval flanged mace. "Wasn't one of the suits of armor in the great hall holding a mace?" There had been no way to escape Father's shadow. A portrait of him hung over the marble fireplace. Alan, the eldest child, channeled Father's voice. "Find my killer. Only do this for me, and all of this shall be yours." Three adopted children, raised with an iron fist by a tyrant of a father, began to peal away layers of the past in an attempt to look to the future. The twists, turns and ever widening array of potential murder suspects will keep the reader guessing and reassessing! Even as adults, Sir Lawrence's presence loomed over his children's lives. They soldiered on, looking for clues, finding an old inscribed watch...a rosary. Were these relics of the past connected to the present day search for answers? "Unnatural Ends" by Christopher Huang is a gothic mystery, a who-dun-it thriller, and a family drama created by dysfunction. Alan, Roger, and Caroline each share their perspective of being raised by Sir Lawrence as well as their theories on his demise. Plan to be surprised! Highly recommended. Thank you Inkshares and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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