About the bookWhen Wisconsin veterinarian Doc dies, his family learns that to inherit his fortune, they must decipher the cryptic codicil he added to his will—“Take Doofus squirrel-fishing”—and they can only do that by talking to Doc’s friends, reading the memoir Doc wrote of a Christmas season decades earlier, searching through Doc’s correspondence, and discovering clues around them. Humor abounds as this mismatched lot tries to find time in their hectic lives to work together to solve the puzzle. In the end, will they realize that fortune comes in many guises?
Doc’s Codicil is a mystery told with gentle humor. It tells the story of a veterinarian who teaches his heirs a lesson from the grave.
What I thoughtThe first thing we need to get clear on is what a codicil is. A codicil is an add-on to a will that supplements or modifies it. In this book, Doc's heirs were given a puzzle to solve in order to get the inheritance. Sneaky.
It's an interesting twist that brought Doc's family closer together after his death. They had to work together and talk to the people that knew their father in order to solve the riddles they were given.
The book went between present day (set in 2014) and a flashback storyline from a Christmas in the 80s. Through the flashbacks we learn a lot about Doc and his life and work. We learn about what really matters to him and how he let some opportunities go without taking advantage. We learn that he had some help along the way in the form of Doofus - the guy in the tutu on the cover of the book - and that maybe Doofus is playing a role with the heirs as well.
There are a lot of characters to learn and while I found that confusing at times, the story was well written. There was a Nativity scene in the flashback timeline where adults and animals replaced the kids. The lead up to the play was full of erg moments where you could feel the characters' frustrations, but the culmination was spectacular! My favourite character in the whole book might just be a camel named Gladys.
A teacher once told me to write what I know, and it's obvious the author did just that. He pulled from his life as a veterinarian and was able to tell a true-to-life story sprinkled with believable characters. You'll want to read through the end to find out if the heirs were able to entangle the mystery that Doc left for them.