It was a dark and stormy night.
The House of the Whispering Pines doesn’t start that way, but it may as well have. This is certainly part of the genre that inspired the Bulwer-Lytton Contest (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/). This was one of the many books that I have found on Project Gutenberg and goes to prove that aging may work well with wine, but not necessarily with books. A case may be made against transcribing some out of print books onto the web and thus perpetuating their crimes against fiction.
The book is a whodunit of the murder of Adelaide Cumberland, found strangled to death in a golf club (the “house” of the whispering pines) that has been closed for the winter. The suspects? Her estranged fiancé Ranelagh, observed with his hands at her neck, and her drunkard brother Arthur, also skulking around the scene of the crime. Each of them suspects younger sister Carmel Cumberland of some involvement, and so tell the police a series of half-truths and lies, in misguided attempts to protect her.
The entire story hinges on the reader’s belief that a) Adelaide is all that, b) Carmel is the bag of chips and c) that they are both willing to do craziness to hold on to Ranelagh who comes across as insipid, self-important and not that great. The ending is very pat. Wealthy people couldn’t possibly have committed a crime, they must have noble reasons for everything they did, and the only crime, well the butler did it.