The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing by Mary Paulson-Ellis

1. First lines. 2. Published 2019 by Pan Macmillan 3. Dice [Public Domain] via pxhere 4. London Scottish Cap Badge By BuzzWeiser196 [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia 5. George Wilson captures the enemy machine gun (artist’s reconstruction) [Public Domain] via Wikimedia
Rather too long and involved.

Solomon Farthing, in his later years, is an “heir hunter”, someone who investigates deceased estates for unknown heirs for a fee. Thomas Methven has died without any known heirs, and Solomon’s investigations go back to November 1918, and finds connections with his own family.

“Solomon felt as though he was in the grave himself as he hauled himself to his feet and stared into the gloom of a mirror hanging above the tiny cloakroom sink. He looked old. He looked dissolute. He looked drunk. All things that were true.”

“In the parlour, Second Lieutenant Ralph Svenson got up all of a sudden and retrieved a rough wooden cup from the mantel. He placed it on the table before Godfrey, then delved into his uniform and produced a pair of dice. “Tow sixes and it’ll be over in a week.” Ralph called the dice his lucky charm, wouldn’t go anywhere without them.”

~Quotes from “The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing”
  • The Scotsman: “There is always a risk when a novelist harnesses two distinct narratives written in different registers, and not even the greatest of the Victorian masters of this sort of novel always managed to do this successfully. Even Dickens, for example, failed to do so in Our Mutual Friend. So it is not surprising that Paulson-Ellis can’t quite bring it off. Inasmuch as the war chapters ring coldly true, so the comic extravagance of Solomon’s quest rings false.”
  • The Historical Novel Society: “There is so much to enjoy here: the quirky characterisation, the sardonic humour, the parallels between the two eras and the way certain objects – a pawn ticket, the burial suit, a cap badge of the London Scottish – change hands again and again. … but … none of the 1918 section rings true.”

Other edition.

Author: Mary Paulson-Ellis

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