I first read a Georgette Heyer book because Lauren Willig, one of my favorite authors mentioned her Regency Romance books at a book signing. I enjoyed the book (can’t remember which one I read though), but it didn’t wow me like her Regency Romances do to others. Later on that year I discovered her mysteries because they have the most gorgeous re-release covers.
Heyer’s mysteries take place in her present time, which is 1930s England. I have a new obsession with this time between the wars in England. It’s so glamorous, even with the depression going on. Maybe that’s because I only read about relatively well to do people in England in the 20s and 30s…
Back to the book. The Goodreads synopsis reads:Tragedy befalls the Carter family following an eventful visit from a Russian prince and a scandalous blackmail letter. The murder of Wally Carter is a bewildering mystery — how does one shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge without being near the murder weapon when it is fired? The analytical Inspector Hemingway reveals his unnerving talent for solving a fiendish problem.
The murder doesn’t happen until well into the story, which drags the plot a bit, but also lets the reader get acclimated to the interesting array of characters. There is Carter’s wife/widow Ermyntrude who used to be an actress, married into money, and has admirers all over the county. She is prone to drama and excitement and everyone assumes Carter married her for her money. Then there is Ermyntrude’s daughter from her first marriage, Vicky. Vicky is a “bright young thing” and also prone to drama and manipulation. She tries on a new personality and outfit multiple times a day, but is very protective of her mother. Also at the house is Wally’s ward, Mary, who is Vicky’s opposite in almost every way. Lastly, there is the Russian prince, who may or may not be what he claims.
There are, of course, more characters than what I mentioned, but those four are the main ones. With the exception of Wally, our murder victim. But he’s boring. At the beginning I really disliked Vicky, but by the end, she was my favorite character. Perhaps the character matured throughout the book, or maybe she just grew on me. I can’t say I recommend this book if you have not read any Georgette Heyer, but if you have and are looking for a cozy mystery, go ahead!