Everyone knew old Silas Kane went for a walk on the cliff top each night, and everyone knew about his weak heart. It came as little surprise, therefore, when his body was found at the foot of the cliffs. What did come as a surprise, however, was when his heir, Clement Kane, was found shot dead in his study. Was Silas Kane's death the accident it appeared to be, or was it something more sinister? This is something Superintendent Hannasyde is determined to discover, but it won't be easy, with so many suspects in the mix. There's the new heir, James, the partners in the family firm, the Mansells, Joe, calm and distinguished, and his son, the hot-headed Paul, as well as Australian Oscar Roberts, keen to put through a lucrative deal with the firm, which both Silas and Clement after him had blocked. And there's Clement's wife, who happily admits to being obsessed with money, and who has been conducting a non-too discreet affair with Trevor Dermott. Superintendent Hannasyde has his work cut out sifting the genuine clues from the red herrings.
Georgette Heyer is most renowned for her historical novels, but she also wrote a dozen mystery novels, many of them featuring Superintendent Hannasyde. They Found Him Dead is one of her best. While not up to the standard of Agatha Christie, they are well-thought-out and the characters are well-conceived, from the stiff matriarch, Emily Kane, to young Timothy Kane, a teenager with a keen interest in detective stories who has his own opinion on the situation, something which may be putting his own life in danger. As usual with Heyer, there is a love-interest, with young heir James Kane setting his sights on Patricia Allison. All the characters are believable, and the mystery unfolds in a very convincing manner. The twists and turns of the plot keep the reader guessing until the final revelation.