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4.5 out of 5 stars22
4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the first Georgette Heyer mystery I've read - even though I've read all her historical novels - and I'm impressed. Wally Carter seems a not particularly likeable guy though nothing really bad is known against him. He lives with his wife - the well off Ermyntrude, step daughter Vicky and Cousin Mary. They couple have many friends and acquaintances in the nearby village.

There is some friction between Ermyntrude and her husband chiefly because of his friends, who she dislikes, and his excessive drinking. Wally doesn't like his wife's house guest - the dubious Russian Prince Alexis and suspects him of designs on his wife and her money.

The plot is complex and there are many suspects - all of whom have a motive for wishing the victim dead and nearly all of whom have the opportunity to carry out the killing. The dialogue is crisp and amusing and the characters are well drawn and interesting. Unlike some crime novels there is only one murder so the reader doesn't get the chance to whittle down the suspects in that way. The local CID are baffled and Scotland Yard are soon called in, in the person of Inspector Hemingway - who sees further through a brick wall than most.

As might be expected of a book written during the Golden Age of British detective fiction the book is well written and the dialogue always convincing as are the plot and the characters. If you like your crime novels with little or no violence then this is one worth trying.
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on 4 October 2011
How do you shoot someone without being anywhere near the murder-weapon? This is the mystery facing Inspector Hemingway when he begins the investigation into the death of Wally Carter. There is no shortage of suspects: his wife, who finances his hare-brained schemes and has admirers a-plenty; his stepdaughter, who had little respect for his profligate ways, and the exiled Russian - actually Georgian - Prince, who would be happy to be married to such a beautiful, and wealthy, woman as Mrs Carter. Then there are the neighbours and other locals, many of whom had reason to wish Wally out of the way.

As usual, Ms Heyer brings her superb gift for characterisation to bear on a varied cast of potential suspects: fortune-hunting princes who may, or may not, be all they seem; grieving family who may not have too much to grieve about; and, as always, the investigating detectives, of varying degrees of perspicacity. There are clues as to how the crime was committed, and by whom, but Heyer's usual mastery of the story-telling art keeps the reader engaged until the last page.
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on 21 May 2013
Georgette Heyer writes in a style that elevates grammar and vocabulary from the merely correct to an experience of the language
rarely matched by other authors. Her plots are clever enough to keep the reader involved, characterisation sharp and historical
detail meticulous. One of the few writers that I can read and re-read purely for the pleasure of the skilful use of a lovely language,
even though I know the stories backwards.
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on 21 January 2013
This was an immensely entertaining read which had me hooked from page one, despite the fact that the murder doesn't happen for a hundred or so pages. The first part of the book is all to do with setting the scene and introducing the rather brilliant cast of characters. The murder, when it does happen, is satisfyingly baffling and the path to solving it strewn with drama, comedy and a spritz of romance.
Given that the victim in this story is presented as being no great loss to society or his family the book has a breezy, cheerful feel with some hilarious comedy dialogue. The histrionically inclined Ermyntrude and her equally dramatic daughter Vicky are great fun as are the reactions these two provoke among the more sensible characters. Every character is vividly written with a distinctive voice.
I'm not a fan of modern murder mysteries. I find them rather grim and miserable and when it comes to crime fiction I like to be puzzled but not disturbed. This book fit the bill perfectly. I also love escaping to the world of butlers, tea on the terrace and dressing for dinner that the characters inhabit. It's definitely part of the appeal for me.
A bewildering murder, engaging characters and setting, some understated romance - I couldn't have asked for more.
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on 8 September 2011
Well drawn characters in a 'agatha christe' style which kept you guessing right up to the last chapter.Not awesome but still a good read.
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on 28 April 2014
Enjoyable, relaxing, non-threatening - but the irony lies in the fact that this is mainly due to the improbability of the plot! The reader realises this early on - and then can relax and just enjoy the nonsense. Even her biographer comments that she became muddled over the technical details of the shooting and that the involvement of her husband in helping her construct this part of the story meant that the plot took over from the characters - which is a pity as that is Heyer's great strength. As usual, plenty of romance, but I thought that the most interesting story line got cut rather too short having been stuck in, almost as an afterthought, on the last page! Another one of those stories which you feel was being finished in a hurry because she was late for the publisher!
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on 29 July 2015
Of course Ms Heyer's characters are often lively and varied, and her very English settings are comfortably authentic. This mystery is solved by the perky, theatre-loving Inspector Hemingway, and is a neat one, although the manner of the murder while clever, seems to me to have been a bit dodgy to get any reasonable accuracy. Nevertheless, luck probably played a hand, and Ms Heyer's tale is, as always, and despite being from a different period (i.e. not modern), satisfactory for an enjoyable read.
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on 18 May 2013
I personally love Georgette Heyer and in particular the humour in her stories. An excellent light read and in particular for those who like murder mysteries. It's a shame she didn't write more books in this genre but concentrated on historical romances of which I have read every single one. Brilliant but still prefer her murder msteries
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on 4 April 2002
Possibly her best - a completely baffling murder and a great cast of characters, especially the exasperating, enchanting Vicky...
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on 6 February 2013
Georgette Heyer ranks among the great writers of detective fiction, alongside Sayers and Christie. What a pity she wrote so few and they tend to be overshadowed by her regency novels. This is one of only half a dozen or so, all well worth reading.
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