The Last Will & Testament of Elwyn Huw Madoc

Extract from Chapter 5: The Strange Death of Elwyn Huw Madoc

I didn’t feel like eating and picked at some breakfast before calling. The first attempt had been a complete anti-climax. The guy had been at lunch, at two thirty! I guess English lawyers were no different from their American cousins when it came to lunches. The call hadn’t been a total waste of time: I’d discovered the Partner’s name dealing with my ‘file’. Twenty minutes later, I punched in the telephone number and was through to Richard Randall on his direct line.

“Good Afternoon, Mr MacMaddock or rather Good Morning for you over in New York,” said a voice in a smooth English accent.

“Yes, Good Morning.”

“You’ve received our letter then I assume?”

“Yes, it came as a big surprise, a shock.”

There was a pause. “Yes, it must have done. Our condolences of course, Huw Madoc was quite a fit for a man of his age, it was somewhat of a surprise…”

“Actually, I meant it was shock to discover I had a relative in Britain I didn’t know existed.”

“Well, he certainly knew about you,” said Randall.

“He did. Are you sure?”

“Absolutely, we merely confirmed the enquiries he himself had undertaken.”

“I see,” I said nonplussed and still feeling this might be one big case of mistaken identity. “So, you’re sure I am the heir to the estate? I’d hate to waste everyone’s time.”

Randall laughed. “Quite sure Mr MacMaddock, I have absolutely no doubt.”

“There’s no one else?”

“Absolutely no one else!” He paused before resuming. “Having reassured you on that point, you must have quite a few other questions?”

“Well, yes, I do have one. What are the conditions mentioned in the Will?” I held my breath waiting for the response.

“Well, there’s only one really,” he said and paused.

I could sense some reluctance. “Yes, what?”

Randall hesitated. “I hope this isn’t too much of a surprise. This might prove a little impractical…you have to move to the property…live there.”

I shot the words back at him. “Live there!”

“Yes, I’m afraid so, we have quite explicit instructions on how to dispose of the estate should you not wish to fulfil the condition.”

Thoughts raced through my head. Live there! In another country! Hell, I hadn’t thought of that. Okay, so I had no commitments in New York and I was keen for a new start but to live in Britain! This was a bit too radical. What about my job? And I wouldn’t know anyone!

Randall interrupted my thoughts. “You only have to live in the property for two years. The Estate would be put into trust… administered by us until the anniversary of the two years when the entire Estate would become yours. Until then, you’d receive a monthly allowance from the Trust and there’s provision for repair and maintenance of the property….”