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4.5 out of 5 stars24
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on 2 March 2007
This is another great Heyer mystery. Timothy Harte is particularly funny as the irrepressible 'helper' of poor long-suffering Sergeant Hemmingway.

But I wish reviewers wouldn't give half the plot away in their enthusiasm to say how great it was. This isn't a book club where we are all discussing what we thought about the novel. People will be reading these reviews in order to decide whether or not to read the novel for the first time - sorry to state the obvious here. The point of a mystery novel is to discover the surprises for yourself!
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on 24 September 2011
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.
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on 26 August 2012
As a big fan of Georgette Heyer's Regency romance novels I think that her mysteries surpass Agatha Christie's levels of brilliance. This is a fantastic light read for a mystery although not in the same style as her Regency novels.

The front cover states that she writes vibrant characters and witty dialogue, and this is so true. Some of the characters are a bit odd and definitely NOT like real people - Timothy being an example as he comes across as quite annoying and precocious, although Ms Heyer may have been striving for this! Hannasyde is at his inscrutable best as usual.

The setting is typical; a large house out in the countryside, and the main cast is a sprawling and higly dysfunctional family. The plot commences with the birthday party of patriarch of the family, soon to be found dead at the bottom of a cliff. An inquest states it's an accidental death but the family are not so sure, although relieved to put it behind them. However then the next heir is murdered with attempts on the one after that.

The crime itself and the reasoning (greed) are clever thought out and I recommend this if you like thinking about what you're reading but don't want to over-tax your brain!
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on 30 March 2002
Silas Kane's 60th birthday went very well - apart from the fact that he fell over a cliff as he took a late-night walk after his party. Was it a tragic accident - or was young Timothy Kane right when he insisted that it was murder? Who wanted him dead? His business partner, or his partner's son, who both resented Silas' refusal to finance a deal with the Australian Mr Roberts? His heir, Clement, who might have been able to hold on to his wife, Rosemary, if he inherited Silas' money?
When Clement is found shot dead, it's definitely murder, and the field is wide open. Rosemary has sent her lover away, having chosen to stay with Silas and his money - but they were both in the grounds when the fatal shot was fired.
When it turns out that the money now passes to Jim, Silas' cousin, there is an attempt on his life - the inheritence is starting to look like a poisoned chalice.
When the Scotland Yard detectives arrive on the scene, Timothy "helps" enthusiastically, with the assistance of Mr Roberts, but is he putting his own life in danger?
In spite of Timothy's spirited attempts to help, the situation does get resolved - and, as you would expect from Georgette Heyer, there is a love interest.
If you haven't read any of Georgette Heyer's detective novels before, this isn't a bad one to start with - and if your only experience of her writing has been her Regency novels, don't be put off.
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on 25 June 2013
In recent years I've come out of the closet as an unashamed Georgette Heyer fan - in my teens I bought all her regency romances, wore them to shreds, and threw them away when I thought it was time to move on to a more respectable read. But in the last decade I've bought and read them all over again, and I can finally appreciate them for the expertly researched, wittily observed and brilliantly polished historical novels that they are.
So after all these years I thought I'd give one of her detective novels a go - I'd left it so long because I always suspected that she only wrote them to ride on the Agatha Christie bandwagon, in the hope of making a few bob. After reading this one (chosen at random, so I suppose it could be the worst of the bunch) it gives me no pleasure to say that I think I was right.
It's the usual 1930s upper middle class country house murder - family gathered for a social occasion, someone gets bumped off, detective gets called in, where were they all at the time, and who will be next? etc - which fans of Poirot and Miss Marple could probably write themselves by now.
Some of Heyer's wit and wicked character assassination is in evidence, and the scene setting and dialogue (apart from the annoying teenager who talks like a 1930s American gangster) are fine. But the plot is hackneyed, the characters are sketchy, there's very little suspense, the revelation of whodunnit at the end is rushed and obvious, and there's a gaping hole at the centre: there's no protagonist, no-one to identify with or care about. Superintendent Hannasyde, who's called in to solve the murders, has no character at all, and I don't think I could pick the very dull young lovers out of a crowd, either.
I've read worse, but surely this is an author who's just going through the motions and rushing to meet a deadline at the end? Three stars is being very generous: if it was someone other than the Great Georgette I'd give it two.
I'm disappointed, but not surprised - I won't be reading any more of these.
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on 28 July 2011
Silas Kane is found dead after his 60th birthday party. No foul play assumed but murder follows meaning Inspector Hannasyde has to investigate.

For the first three quarters, this moves along well. Characterisations are good and the story is reasonably diverting. Unfortunately everything grinds to a halt in the last third as all everyone seems to do is talk, talk, talk. Also I have to say Inspector Hannasyde is one the worst fictional detectives I've read about. Zero personality, he seems to exist purely because the genre demands that a murder mystery needs someone like him. The Kane family could easily have worked the mystery out for themselves.

I'm not sure what to make of Heyer's detective fiction. Some work on a level of parody, others just appear to fill a blank piece of paper. I have a niggling feeling Heyer wrote these purely because this kind of fiction was popular at the time. Sometimes it feels her heart is not in it. An average read at best but entertaining enough to earn three stars.
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on 19 April 2011
after the story got moving with all the twists and possible suspects i wasnt sure if i had figured it all out. i definitely wasnt expecting the last surprise. heyer is a grewat story teller who brings the world od 1930's england to life in a murder mystrey investigation. love it
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on 12 May 2014
If you are looking for a very light, non-demanding read which will not overtax your brain, then this is for you. The perfect antidote to stress. I can't agree that Heyer matches Christie in this genre, although I do think that when she is writing a whodunnit in the Regency period - which she has made her own - then she is probably at her best. When she attempts this in what I assume was her own period of the 40s and 50s it always seems artificial. The characterisation for which she is known seems to desert her - especially when she sometimes seems to get bogged down in the detail of the plot - and then she seems to suddenly remember her characters' left rather in mid-air.
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on 15 August 2013
i haven't read a georgette heyer detective story before and this certainly won't be the last.It did not disappoint it was very witty in parts she has a sharp sense of humour
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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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