The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway is confronted by a murder that seems impossible – no one was near the murder weapon at the time the shot was fired. Everyone on the scene seems to have a motive, not to mention the wherewithal to commit murder, and alibis that simply don't hold up.
The inspector is sorely tried by a wide variety of suspects, including the neglected widow, the neighbour who's in love with her, her resentful daughter, and a patently phony Russian prince preying on the widow's emotional vulnerability and social aspirations. And then there's the blackmail plot that may – or may not – be at the heart of the case....
"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen." (Publishers Weekly)
"Pungent dialogue and A1 characterisation." (Time Magazine)
"Miss Heyer's characters act and speak with an ease and conviction that is as refreshing as it is rare in the ordinary mystery novel." (The Times Literary Supplement)
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Not a good read(er)
Georgette Heyer's mysteries are sprightly and entertaining, though dated in regard to foreigners (teeth gritted), and rather contrived, shallow plotting (about which see comments on narrator). I am also less fond of the Inspector Hemingway novels than the earlier ones--they seem more routine. But like her other books, this was well written, full of fun, and had its share of wonderful characters--especially Vicky. And it is these qualities that make me love Georgette Heyer, even at her less-than-best.
Ingenious, if improbable. The villain is a most satisfying choice. Not sure I like the way one promising character gets reduced to a second-best dull old thing, but the emerging love story is fun.
Aside from pleasant speaking voice, she ruined this book in every possible way. No animation at all and draggy pace. This is especially unbearable when she voices the male characters, for whom she switches to Very. Carefully. Spaced. Monotone. This a serious crime in Heyer novels, which are so dependent on shadings of tone, irony, comedy, and a fine sense of the ridiculous. The reading killed these, so that the only thing left was the not-very-entertaining plot. You don't read Heyer for plot. I was so looking forward to revisiting the rest of the mysteries, but absolutely can't.
Not with this cast/production. No way.
Try again with a different reader? And for Heyer fans who have not read her mysteries, get the books! They're lovely escape reading.
Horrible Naration: Why Use Australian Accents?
The story was OK, but a little corny in the end. The Ulli Birve was just awful. I really can't believe that she can find work. She can do about three different accents, and two of them sound Australian. Just awful reading. The ending was a little silly.
It seemed exceedingly implausible.
Absolutely NOTHING. It was awful.
Hate Ulli Birve's work, and read the next book.
- Paul and Courtney