Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer

I awoke this morning to the sound of rain on the roof. It seemed the perfect morning to snuggle in and finish reading Georgette Heyer's A Blunt Instrument (1938) featuring the intrepid Scotland Yard Superintendent Hannasyde and his sidekick Sergeant Hemingway. 

When wealthy Ernest Fletcher is found dead at his desk in the library of his home Greystones by the bobby on the beat, the Bible-quoting PC Glass, there are plenty of suspects but no murder weapon to be found. 

Was it his nephew and heir, Neville Fletcher, he with the devil-may-care attitude and in debt up to his worn-out hat? Or maybe it was Helen North, a neighbor who had a mild flirtation going with the deceased in an effort to recover her gambling IOUs? Perhaps it was her husband, Mr. North, who in a fit of jealousy, bashed poor Ernie over the head. One might also suspect Helen North's sister, Sally Drew, the plain-speaking, monocle-wearing crime novelist. Then again, who were those two mysterious visitors that came and went through the side gate to the house and were spotted by PC Glass?

Of course it is all a delightful puzzle in the hands of Ms. Heyer. She has much fun with the timing of the murder and at one point Superintendent Hannasyde doesn't see how the murder could even have taken place considering the time of the sighting of suspects, the chiming of the hall clock, and the time of Fletcher's death. But, of course, dead bodies never lie. Or do they?

I have quite a collection of Ms. Heyer's mysteries, she wrote nine of them, and am always happy to be in her world of manners and witty dialogue. It doesn't really matter to me whodunnit. With her, the joy is in the journey to the dénouement!

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