The Trust by Ronald H. Balson – 368 pages
When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?
As his investigation draws Liam farther and farther into the past he has abandoned, he realizes he is forced to reopen doors long ago shut and locked. Now, accepting the appointment as sole trustee of the Fergus Taggart Trust, Liam realizes he has stepped into the center of a firestorm.
My Review: 4 stars
The Trust is a mystery that pits the members of an Irish family against one another, as they eagerly await money after their patriarch’s death. The money, property, stocks and deeds are held in trust until certain conditions are met; thus the name of the novel. This book is a departure from Balson’s other books, mostly due to its setting in Ireland. Although Liam, the P.I. and Catherine, the attorney are in Balson’s prior novels, this book can certainly stand on its own.
I enjoyed learning about The Troubles and the civil war that went on for three decades. I didn’t recall much from my high school world history about this so it was a welcome refresher. Understanding that the differences between the nationalists and the loyalists was mostly based on religion and the separation from Britain made we realize that the world never learns from the past. As much as we wish it so, the same mistakes are repeated.
The mystery in this book was not hard to unravel yet it seemed to take Liam far too long to get it. Those who’ve read his prior novels know how smart Liam is. I suppose he and Catherine are so used to solving other families mysteries that it’s hard to do when it’s you own. The twists were good and keep the plot spinning. You can never go wrong with a suspenseful mystery filled with money gained, money lost, debt, guilt, betrayal, former loves, family loyalty and the lack thereof.
Fans of Balson’s will be pleased with his fourth novel. Looking forward to see what’s in store for this awesome duo in the next installment.