Who is Simon Warwick? is another Forgotten Book that I've chosen by Patricia Moyes, whose memory is being honoured this year at Malice Domestic. This is a book first published in 1978, and whilst I have not read every book that Moyes ever wrote, suffice to say that if she ever wrote a more ingenious whodunit than this one, I would be as surprised as I'd be impressed. Yes, you'll have gathered that I'm very enthusiastic about this one - it's my favourite Moyes.
The starting point is a search for a missing heir - a topic that has driven varied and interesting novels by Josephine Tey (the splendid Brat Farrar) and Julian Symons,(whose novels are nowadays sadly under-estimated, although The Belting Inheritance is enjoyable rather than brilliant) among other crime writers.
A rich man who does not have long to live summons his solicitor, who rejoices in the name Ambrose Quince, and asks him to draw up a new will, disinheriting various hopefuls in favour of his nephew,who was born during the war, and later adopted. This is the very mysterious Simon Warwick of the title.
Despite various well-founded reservations, Ambrose does as he is told, and when his client dies, he advertises for Simon Warwick - but two potentially credible claimants come forward One of them - at least - is an impostor. But which one? When one of them is murdered, the plot thickens further. Did one of those who were disinherited commit the crime?
Henry Tibbett investigates, and as usual his wife Emmy gets in on the act. There are some splendid plot twists, and a neat solution to the various mysteries that Moyes has constructed with real cunning. She was, really, working in Golden Age territory long after the Golden Age - and using some of the freedom given by changes within society to come up with new ideas. A very entertaining puzzle.