In the town of Carlingford John Brown had been Mrs Thompson's attorney, though he had not been employed to write her will. Upon her death, her will leaves her property to an estranged daughter, unknown in Carlingford. To everyone's astonishment, if the daughter is not found within three years, the property is left to John Brown. Mrs Thompson's nearest relatives in Carlingford, the very poor Christian family, are not mentioned at all.
This story depicts the impact of Mrs Thompson's will on several people, including John Brown, Mr and Mrs Christian, Bessie Christian, and her undeclared suitor Dr Rider. Finally John Brown does something which surprises even himself.
The Executor is the first of seven works set in the delightful country town of Carlingford. Although each work can stand alone, one episode in this story does explain the beginning of the third work, The Doctor's Family.
Biographical and other notes
This little story of Carlingford was followed by The Rector and The Doctor's Family, which latter two are nearly always published together in one volume. Only one recent edition contains all three stories: The Doctor's Family and Other Stories, Oxford World's Classics, 1986, edited by Merryn Williams.
Fyi, in 1868 Margaret Oliphant's novel Brownlows was published, which is a sequel of sorts to this story - see the Related Stories category below.