Kirby Winter's uncle, a philanthropist who everybody assumes is fabulously wealthy, dies without leaving any money at all. Kirby, who has spent years working for his uncle, inherits nothing more than a watch and a letter which mustn't be opened until a year later. Soon various people latch on to Kirby as the person who's likely to know where all the money is. But Kirby doesn't. And no-one seems to know how his uncle managed to obtain, let alone dispose, of all those millions.
This was the first MacDonald book I read - I think after reading a recommendation on a VAXnotes file. The date I wrote in the book when I bought it is 1991, and this must be at least the third time I've read it, so I knew what was going to happen.
The story takes a while to get going - at least, there is quite a bit of book taken up before Kirby works out the significance of the watch. Having read the book before, this felt a bit like padding - I was thinking: come on, get to the exciting bits. But I suppose that once Kirby has the secret, it's going to be hard to make things carry on being suspenseful.
But it is a good yarn, and I think the writing quality is pretty good, for a book which has the flavour of a something a bit pulpy. I think MacDonald is good value for money so I'll probably re-read some more of his books (I have about ten of them, some of which I can't have read in the last ten years).
Recommended, but it's best when you read it for the first time.
Completed : 17-Jul-2010