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4.3 out of 5 stars
Duplicate Death
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A bridge party results in the death of Dan Seaton-Carew who turns out to have been an extremely unpleasant character. It will be fairly obvious to the modern reader that the victim was involved in the drugs trade though it would not have been as obvious to a reader in the 1950s. Mrs Haddington - in whose house the murder is committed - is nasty to her staff and her friends alike. Her daughter Cynthia is a silly empty headed socialite who her mother is trying to marry off to the highest bidder to secure her own place in society.

Chief Inspector Hemingway is soon on the case though the more he digs the more suspects he finds and the more unpleasant the main characters appear to be. This is a well plotted story with some interesting - though not terribly likeable - characters. There are plenty of red herrings scattered about and plenty of clues though I have to admit I didn't work out who the first murderer was until very close to the end of the story.

I think the book needs to be read in the context in which it was written rather than immediately being condemned as dated and irrelevant. Life was different in the mid 1950s. I enjoyed it and found it worth reading.
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on 13 January 2013
This novel is classified as a mystery novel, but for me it is the dialogue and the scathing and funny character descriptions which attract me most and hold my attention through the book, like always with Heyer's mysteries. I haven't read her regency novels yet, but maybe I must try those as well..
The plot is very briefly: young female secretary (Beulah Birtley) with surly manner is involved in and suspected of two murders, one of the corpses being her hard and slightly vulgar employer. BB's suitor Timothy Harte and his brother James Kane I affectionately recall from an earlier novel of Heyer's, celled " They found him dead", also recommended.
The book has a good pareback binding and agreably big print, which might be interesting to know for readers with weak eyesight.
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on 10 April 2015
There is something about a book by Georgette Heyer that can't be beaten. They encase one in a bubble of enjoyment. I must have read her historical novels over and over again during the last forty five years. I hadn't come across this book before. At first I feared it was going to be based around the bridge game and my heart sank, but it breaks away from that. Although good by any other author's standards it doesn't enter the list of her best books by a long way, hence the missing star. Characters good as always but the plot doesn't glow. Interesting to detect a slightly grittier side of a later book. Would homosexuality been discussed in Powder and Patch?
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on 28 February 2013
I have always loved Georgette Heyer; my love of books started with her historical novels and went on from there. Her murder mysteries are wonderful, in the main because of the humour Ms Heyer injects into her stories. There is always a nice twist at the end and depicts the period between the wars extremely well. It's my favourate light reading and in my opinion she is up there with the other Queens of Crime, Christie, Marsh, Allingham, etc. I am working my way through all her murder mysteries (not enough of them written) for the second time.
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on 13 May 2014
A complex plot for a short novel, involving a huge number of characters and two rather unpleasant murders.

Of course, Georgette Heyer is excellent at characterisation, but the sheer volume of people meant that several of them simply weren’t memorable. So when the mystery was solved, it didn’t feel very satisfying.

Not bad for a light read – perhaps three and a half stars would be a fairer rating – but nowhere near the standard of this author’s other novels.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2003
A better detective story than others by this author we have read. Inspector Hemingway does a good job of discovering the persons who strangled a blackmailer / drug-dealer and his mistress. The identity of the first murderer comes as a distinct surprise, although the alert reader will latch onto the second murderer as soon as the Marriages and Legitimacy Act is mentioned. Several good red herrings, a nice use of the drug trade, and plenty of wit and amusing characters (Insp. Grant, Cynthia Haddington, Lord Guisborough) make this a memorable tale.
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on 5 May 2014
Plenty of entertainment and intrigue. Managed to keep me guessing until near the end.

Some references to an earlier investigation years before by the detective Hemmingway sent me off to buy 'They found him dead' which features the two stepbrothers, Timothy Harte and James Kane at an earlier stage in their lives.
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on 26 January 2014
I love this author. This book is brilliant and I can't ever guess who "did it" before the end.

5 stars isn't really enough.

Anyone who wants to read, get this
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on 20 July 2013
I love Georgette Heyer-have all her regency books and all eleven detective novels. This is brilliant-her style of writing of the era is second to none and the humour is great!!
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on 20 February 2014
Bought this book to complete my set of Georgette Heyer novels I have read most of them more than once, they are a great form of relaxation.
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