Classic Mystery Spotlight ♦ Georgette Heyer

Recently I had the pleasure of reading three of Georgette Heyers’ murder mysteries. Prior to this I’d only read a Heyers’ Regency novel, so I was unsure just what to expect. However I enjoyed all of these mystery stories quite a bit. Since I’m terribly late in getting the reviews posted, I’ve combined all three together into a single post of mini-reviews.

Meet The Matthews -
Before The Next One Dies…

It’s no ordinary morning at the Poplars – the master is found dead in his bed, and it seems his high blood pressure was not the cause.

When an autopsy reveals a sinister poison, it’s up to the quietly resourceful Inspector Hannasyde to catch the murderer in time to spare the next victim.

But every single member of the quarrelsome Matthews family has a motive and none, of course, has an alibi.


Book Title: Behold, Here’s Poison Genre: British Mystery
Author: Georgette Heyer Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc. Publication Date: February 2009

My Thoughts   
Behold, Here’s Poison was by far my favorite of the three Georgette Heyer mysteries I read. And it’s not even the mystery aspect that was all that great – it was the characters! It’s got that wonderful sort of cliche feeling to it. Head of the family living in a grand old mansion, while all the assorted relatives (who basically despise, envy, belittle) one another all stand around trying to wiggle in and get whatever they can. By the middle of the book I couldn’t have cared less about who poisoned Greg Matthews, I was enjoying the characters and their conversations too much. They were all naturals at throwing out perfectly timed comebacks, smiling while cutting down others, and basically being asses. Completely entertaining.

Other Reviews
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A Houseful Of People
He Loathes Is Not Sir Arthurs’
Worst Problem…

It should have been a lovely English country-house weekend. But the unfortunate guest-list is enough to exasperate a saint, and the host, Sir Arthur Billington-Smith, is an abusive wretch hated by everyone from his disinherited son to his wife’s stoic would-be lover.

When Sir Arthur is found stabbed to death, no one is particularly grieved – and no one has an alibi. The unhappy guests find themselves under the scrutiny of Scotland Yards’ cool-headed Inspector Harding, who has solved tough cases before – but this time, the talented young inspector discovers much more than he’s bargained for.


Book Title: The Unfinished Clue Genre: British Mystery
Author: Georgette Heyer Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc. Publication Date: March 2009

My Thoughts   
The Unfinished Clue was slightly different from the other two mysteries as the reader gets to know a bit about the victim before he meets his end. And in that time I decided that he very well deserved whatever he got. Again there is a large cast of suspects filling the country estate, all of them strange in their own ways. Some relatives, others associates, or acquaintances, but all suspects for different reasons – this made it feel very similar to the cast of Clue. Suspicions and motives are found everywhere in this one. Normally Heyers’ characters are pretty unlikable but I did like the sister-in-law and the inspector from this story. Their interactions were an interesting addition to the story. I also found the mystery in The Unfinished Clue really well-done, with information given at just the right points to keep me guessing and re-guessing until the finale.

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Every Family Has Secrets,
But The Fountains’
Are Turning Deadly…

On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her – at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up…

In a English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it’s the butler who’s the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled. Fortunately, in ferreting out a desperate killer, amateur sleuth Amberley is as brilliant as he is arrogant, but this time he’s not sure he wants to know the truth…


Book Title: Why Shoot A Butler? Genre: British Mystery
Author: Georgette Heyer Type: Trade Paperback 336 Pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc. Publication Date: April 2009

My Thoughts   
Why Shoot A Butler? was the second that I read, it sounded like it had a different set-up than the other two, seeing that the murder victim was found outside the home rather than in the midst of a country house get together. Another difference is that this time the person, Amberley, trying to solve the crime is not a true inspector – he’s more of a hobby detective. Along with Amberley there is a large cast of very peculiar characters, which is always something I enjoy in a mystery. There are lots of clues being cast about, although whether they are relevant or only meant to throw you off the trail is up to the reader to decide. The only thing that made this one my lesser enjoyed of the three is that the involvement of the real police officers seemed to be meant only as a farce. They behaved so idiotically that it took away from the story a bit for me. I’ve always liked the sense of hilarity that comes from all the eclectic suspects, but having the officials behave this way was not expected.

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About The Author

Georgette Heyer wrote over fifty books, including Regency romances, mysteries, and historical fiction. Her barrister husband, Ronad Rougier, provided many of the plots for her detective novels, which are classic English country-house mysteries reminiscent of Agatha Christie. Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy, inventive plots, and sparkling characterizations.



© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.

13 comments:

Pam said...

These look pretty neat. I've recently found my way into the world of mysteries and am enjoying it. My mom lent me a few Maisie Dobbs books and I am wondering how they compare to they compare to the novels of the actual period. I'll have to take a look at Heyers stuff and put them side by side. Thanks for the review!

bermudaonion said...

I didn't know Georgette Heyer wrote any mysteries. I haven't read any of her books, because I'm not into romance, but these sound good!

lilly said...

I have read and reviewed all three of them as well and I also thought that Behold, Here's Poison was the ebst of the bunch not to say thet the other two weren't good though. I love heyer's humor and clever dialogue.
Here are my links:

http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/05/behold-heres-poison-by-georgette-heyer.html

http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/05/unfinished-clue-by-georgette-heyer.html

http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/05/why-shoot-butler-by-georgette-heyer.html

heidenkind said...

I had no idea Heyer wrote mysteries. She's turning out to be a lot more prolific than I expected! I may have to check some of these out... I love hijinx mysteries like Clue.

Care said...

These look great!

Lenore said...

I might try the Poison one. Sounds good!

Belle said...

I never knew Heyer wrote mysteries! I've always thought of her as a Regency romance writer. These sound like good British cozy mystery reads. I think I might check them out.

Zibilee said...

I have only read one book by Heyer, and it was historical fiction/romance. Your review, added with a few other opinions makes me think that her mysteries would be great reads, so I will be adding at least one of these to my list, most probably Behold Here's Poison. Thanks!

Veens said...

ohh Gosh, I have not read Heyer YET!... **runs to hide** :(

Nymeth said...

I know I keep saying this, but I really have to read Heyer. I haven't read all that many mysteries, but I think this old English Mansion/Estate type is one I'd really enjoy.

naida said...

I love Georgette Heyer books :)
great reviews. I especially liked her book Frederica.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Trish said...

She wrote over 50 books??? No wonder I'm seeing her everywhere these days. I thought all her books were Regency novels, so I'm glad you did all these mini-reviews. These books definitely appeal to me a lot more than those others...who doesn't love a good murder mystery?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed The Unfinished Clue and wonder if there are other Inspector Harding novels? Any ideas?