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The Philanthropist's Danse

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  489 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Twelve people. Five days. One fortune.

Johnston Thurwell, one of the world’s richest men, dies unexpectedly. His family expects to inherit his wealth, but instead discover the dying philanthropist has spent his last days planning something called The Danse. The twelve most important people in his life are brought together to decide the most important question at the end of
Kindle Edition, 1, 366 pages
Published June 21st 2011
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I simply can not believe that this is Paul Wornham's first book. I am convinced he has a few hiding somewhere or under a different name because if this is his first full novel then the Mystery world better prepare. Mr. Wornham is going to be causing quite a scene!
Mr.Wornham requested a review through my blog and I was thrilled. No matter how many times it happens, I am always surprised when I get a request because I revere storytellers so much. The irony is I am told I can be a tough reviewer an
Very intriguing idea/concept for a story. How greed devours the best in people. I had a hard time relating to the philanthropist though; he seemed like a bully to me. So I understood why his sons turned out the way they did. I get why the philanthropist is doing the "danse" (and that's spelled that way for a reason that I won't spoil). Some lines just didn't sit well with me, but overall I thought it was a pretty good read. 15 characters to get to know and you don't really get to know any of the ...more
Johnston Thurwell, a fabulously rich businessman, dies in the company of his lawyer and most trusted servants at his rural mansion. Soon after, his attorney arranges for 12 people to spend a week there. These 12 include his three known children, a formerly unknown illegitimate daughter, his best friend, a judge who years ago had pulled strings to have a manslaughter case against his youngest son dismissed, two long-time servants, his paid mistress, the CEO of the charity division of his empire w ...more
3.5 stars
In the vein of a classic whodunnit plot, The Philanthropist's Dan$e gathers a group of people at a country mansion in New York. However, instead of a murder occurring on the first night, the group is assigned the chore of dividing the fortune of the already decreased Mr. Thruwell. Plotting, scheming and aligning allegiances ensue. For mystery readers that lean towards classic plot and characterization reminiscent of the BBC classics, Murder She Wrote episodes, or Agatha Christie type re
Indie Books List
Mar 05, 2012 Indie Books List rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of all things mystery related.
This review originally appeared at

People like stories about wealthy people. My particular affinity for lifestyles the super-rich is not based on the things they own, or the power they possess. I am more interested in the psychology of the rich: The mindset and choices that brought them to, and kept them at the top.
The Philanthropist’s Danse delivers smart, psychological drama of the type I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Take “12 Angry Men”, the psychological gymnas
I must say this is one heck of a debut novel.
The premise intrigued me.. Ive previously read a story with a similar plot "billionaire screws greedy family." And wanted to see how this author would handle it. While many of the situations were the same, (ne'er-do -well kids; illegitimate offspring etc) the author manages to put enough of a twist, in addition to a novel method of handling contingencies.(I'll. Never look at a yellow envelope the same way again)

One star off for style : there are entir
May 19, 2012 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
I'm looking forward to his next novel.

This is a book I kept picking up to read every spare minute I had and it was frustrating that I had a particularly intense work week. Friday evening finally arrived and I read all night until I finished it.

This novel could do with some editing and a bit of pruning. But when it ended, I wanted to know what happens next to each of the characters, good and bad, so I would've liked it to last longer. That's not to say the ending wasn't a good one -- it was. I th
David Foster
A most unusual but compelling story! A few times I wondered if my interest would last. It takes awhile to get familiar with all the characters. Not many action scenes. Almost entirely driven by the wild emotions of the players. It isn't unlike a "survivor" reality show.
Wow, this was quite the book. Initially it was very reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (and I still see several parallels between the two, some of which aren't immediately obvious), but as it went along, I couldn't help thinking it also felt like a rather high-stakes version of Survivor with all the strategizing and gameplay and so on that went on. The twists really weren't all that shocking for the most part, but that's not such a bad thing as long as you don't go into th ...more
Nancy Baker
The Philanthropist's Danse is a story of a multi-millionaire, whose last wish is to have 12 people decide the fate of his monetary legacy. A simple enough task, until you factor in a most annoying human trait we call greed. Many rules and time limits apply, whereby available funds are reduced and benefactors can be eliminated. An interesting read that delves into the human mind and how greed, dishonesty, cruelty and even hatred can rule our actions, thoughts and deeds. It brought to light the fa ...more
Really enjoyed this debut novel which I got as a feebie on my Kindle.

Fantastic story that shows people's true colours and what greed does to families when there is a large inheritance at stake.

The characters were well developed and the novel set a cracking pace with unexpected twists and turns.

Actually made me think of Lord of The Flies in some ways, with regards to people's baser instincts taking over.

Will certainly look out for Paul Wornham's next novel!
I found this book depressing. Most of the characters were greedy and selfish with few redeeming traits. I never figured out why the billionaire created the bizarre "danse" anyway--I kept waiting for something of value to be revealed, something worthwhile to happen, but it never did.
This was a quick, entertaining read. I liked the beginning and the middle a lot but was just not satisfied with the ending. I thought there would be a twist. The ending just fell flat. I do recommend this book. Overall it was a fun read.
I got The Philanthropist's Danse as a Kindle freebie and it was a crazy page-turner. The story has the pacing and sensibilities of a classic Agatha Christie story such as Murder on the Orient Express. An ensemble cast is confined together and, in the case of most of the characters, you like them less and less as the story unfolds. Author Wornham gives background on the characters, but never an excessive info-dump, only what is needed to move the story forward. Sure, a little editing for grammar ...more
Elisa Richardson
Even though it was not advertised as a "cozy murder" book, I kept waiting for a body in the library. Perfect setup as a locked-room mystery. Instead, the book focused on other base sins: greed, lust, corruption, and attempted murder. But it had its sweet side, too. I liked how everyone started the story as a stereotype and ended pretty much the exact opposite.

Good book. I particularly liked the background players, but I thought the last two pages were a little unrealistic (though it did not tak
decent plot. grammar tutorial desperately needed.
I went back and forth about reading this book which was intriguing me and finally broke down and bought it. I am so happy I did. Twelve people are brought together in a mansion to divide a huge fortune left by a man. among the people are his 3 legitimate children, one girl who is illegitimate but he recognizes her, plus various others, employees, friends, enemies, etc. I was drawn into this story from the beginning and the ending was great. I understand this is his first book. Hope he writes mor ...more
Shari Larsen
When Johnston Thurwell. one of the world's wealthiest men, dies unexpectedly, his family expects to inherit his wealth, but the dying philanthropist has spent his last days planning something called The Danse. 12 of the most important people in his life are brought together to decide who will inherit his fortune.

His children are sequestered in Johnston's remote country mansion with a group that includes his best friend, two of his servants, and his greatest business rival. They must agree who am
Joan Adamak
Unique, intriguing, entertaining

This novel had the most unusual, interesting plot. Attorney William Byrd, following the written instructions of his deceased client, the famous philanthropist Johnston C. Thurwell, had to locate twelve people and get them to his client’s mansion. Johnston Thurwell III, known as Junior, Bethany Thurwell and Philip Thurwell, were the three children of this man, all difficult; Dennis and Janice Elliot were house staff at one of Thurwell’ mansions; Winifred Tremethick
A recently passed billionaire gathers family, friends, and enemies together at a reclusive mansion to split his fortune amongst them. Every midnight they do not come to an agreement the fortune is reduce by 20%. Sounds like a simple plan: they should just split it evenly right? Well what if the family feels they should get more? What if his business associates they should get equal?

This is what ensues in Wornham's first novel. The first thing I thought as did I see others did when reading about
Karen Toz
I picked up a copy of The Philanthropist’s Danse, after reading the summary. I found the idea of a group of people, some related, some strangers, who are called together to decide on their own, how a wealthy, deceased man’s fortune is to be divided, to be an interesting story line. The story did in fact hold up to its description. I felt the author did an excellent job of creating curious and varied characters – each with their own mystery/secret. The writing flowed nicely, and the detailed desc ...more
I enjoyed the premise of this book. The characters were interesting and I was eager to see what would happen in the end - so much so that I easily finished the whole thing in less than a day. The only thing bugging me intensely about this book was the excess of grammatical errors, the most egregious of which was the often seen misuse of the word "I" when it should have been "me." Everyone nowadays tries to be proper and use "I" everywhere... like "between Sandy and I" or "she gave cookies to Mik ...more
Truth and Consequences

Reminiscent of Agatha Christie's style, the characters in this book are introduced and then dissected gradually to reveal how their past actions affected the dead but nevertheless omnipresent philanthropist whose will they are assembled to hear. The plot has ingenious twists and as the actors play out their roles, the reader may find it hard not to take sides, only to find it necessary to reevaluate as more factors become evident to the detriment of one or the other heir.
Mary Glass
Mind games done posthumously

Is it only the mega rich that can be so twisted? Or is it the valuation of money over all that does the trick? There are enough books with the premise this one has to make for it's own genre now it seems. This book holds it's own. A big, complex cast with secrets and flaws just oozing all over the place. Unflappable servants and a savvy lawyer move the dance along with admirable aplomb.
I'm sorry, I've read some dry stuff before but I simply could not finish this book. The characters were shallow and really very cliche. I don't want to give things away but it makes no sense as a sustainable plot. We're following the characters and think we understand the rules of the game they're playing but suddenly the rules are tossed out. The family does everything within the rules that are laid out but then when it's convenient for the writer he brings out a secret rule that the players an ...more
I’ve always found interesting things happen when you trap characters together, add some stress, and sit back and watch the show. This reminded me some of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” or the movie “Clue” but without murders. All the players are invited to a remote mansion under the pretext of meeting with a well known businessman and philanthropist Johnston C. Thurwell – but he’s already dead. Some of the guests are his children, some coworkers, and some it’s not really clear at t ...more
A fun and fast read that I couldn't put down. I love the premise of the book that is seemingly simple, but was quickly drawn past cold or friendly exteriors into each character's guarded secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basic humanity. The author does a great job drawing our own sympathies or judgments, often putting them in conflict with one other as we root for or against certain scenarios or characters. I found myself imagining or desiring certain outcomes only to change my mind as I lear ...more
I enjoyed the suspense and drama of the story, especially once their pasts are revealed and you get a better understanding of everyone's relationships. I also enjoyed the fact that the characters are very human at times. For example, after (view spoiler)

However, there were a few major scenes where everyone seemed to act
It is hard to explain how satisfied I was with this story. I picked it up based on the good reviews received by other Amazon reviewers and, for once, the reviews did the story justice. The story reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (Although I always thought that it was called 10 Little Indians until I looked it up). I will forgo the plot explanation as there are ample reviews that contain that. Suffice it to say, that despite the limited locale the author does an ex ...more
Trish Arrowsmith
There were times that this book was very slow-going but the times that it wasn't, more than made up for those slower pages. The way the author was able to weave the characters together was amazing. It could not have been an easy feat considering there were 14 main characters in the book. I need to give credit for that as well. Character development is one of the biggest struggles that I think most authors face and Wornham was able to do it, flawlessly, not with two or three characters but with f ...more
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Paul is the author of the novel The Philanthropist's Danse and The Mercy Contracts.

Paul grew up in the city of Bath in England, a place that everyone should see before they die.

Paul began his work life as a bookseller with WHSmith in the UK before they convinced him to sell music instead. He sold music and movies on both sides of the Atlantic over the next decade and a half, shifting with the tim
More about Paul Wornham...
The Mercy Contracts

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