Hello, and welcome to my 2022 A to Z Challenge! For a detailed explanation of my theme this year, see my theme reveal. But basically, I am exploring classic mystery novel murder motives, by making up a victim (Sir Adam Bracegirdle Clutterbuck) and then coming up with 26 characters who wanted to kill him. It is part genre exploration and part world-building exercise.
Today’s suspect is Ingrid. I have mentioned Ingrid before. She is Sir Adam’s daughter by his first wife. She and her father are quarreling over her engagement, which I have already talked about in the post Eli’s Elusive Engagement. But! Ingrid has another, related motive, which I haven’t yet touched on. I will now do so. Ahem.
Ingrid is an intelligent and willful woman of nineteen. Sir Adam is a horrid old pig in late middle age. Right there, the alert reader may spot part of the problem between them. They do not get along. They quarrel constantly. Still, Ingrid is Sir Adam’s only child, and so, until recently, Sir Adam had always assumed he would provide for her in his will. In fact, the will current at the time of Sir Adam’s murder does provide for her.
It is certainly lucky for Ingrid that Sir Adam died when he did. Because he was in the process of drawing up a new will, which cut her out more or less completely. I believe the new will would have left her a tea set. And not a nice tea seat. The nasty one reserved for the Vicar and other guests with a known tendency to break things.
Ah, but I hear you asking if Ingrid knew that she was about to be disinherited. This is a good question. Sir Adam told her he would do it, when they quarreled over her engagement, but of course she didn’t listen to him. He’s been threatening to disinherit her for years, and Ingrid has long since ceased taking him seriously. It is just a thing he says when he is angry.
Ingrid didn’t think any more of her father’s threats until about a week before Sir Adam’s death. The family solicitor, who thinks of Ingrid as the daughter he never had, was a touch indiscreet at a recent luncheon with the young lady. In fact, he gave her very full information on the subject of the new will, even going so far as to indicate that the tea set was not a valuable one. He knew it was his duty as a solicitor to say nothing, but he felt that it was his duty as a man to speak. He spoke.
And then… Sir Adam died. Was murdered. The timing looks bad, for Ingrid. The solicitor himself suspects her, though he tries to tell himself that the thing is impossible.
Did Ingrid kill her father, so that she could both marry the man she loves and inherit a nice chunk of the family fortune?
And that’s it for Ingrid! As for her guilt… I think she makes an excellent red herring. But no really nice book would have her as the killer. What do you think?