The Search For My Great-Uncle's Head, by Jonathan Latimer 297 pages
Peter Coffin is a young, staid college professor visiting the large estate of his great-uncle Tobias Coffin. Even though his death doesn't appear imminent, Tobias has summoned several other family members there as well, wanting to see them before he dies. However, during the houseguests' first night in the mansion, Tobias is found headless at his desk in his study. With a madman at loose in the area, it's unclear whether the gruesome murder is a random act by the madman or a deliberate act by a relative wanting to get a greater cut in the considerable estate left behind. There's said to be a new will, but if so, it has disappeared along with Tobias's head. Peter and the others search for clues, not quite trusting each other, while waiting for the detective from Tobias's life insurance company to come onto the scene.
This somewhat old-fashioned book (written in 1937, after all) is set in a time when wealthy people routinely "dressed for dinner," and were attended to by butlers and maids. In spite of the story being a bit predictable, it was still an enjoyable read for a winter day.