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Georgette Heyer / Hannasyde & Hemingway
Georgette Heyer (1902 – 1974) was an English historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel ‘The Black Moth’. After her novel ‘These Old Shades’ became popular, despite its release during the General Strike, Heyer determined that publicity was not necessary for good sales, and refused to grant interviews.
Heyer essentially established the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance. Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting.
Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year. Although many critics describe Heyer’s detective novels as unoriginal, others such as Nancy Wingate praise them “for their wit and comedy as well as for their well-woven plots”.
Heyer’s mysteries followed a pair of detectives named Superintendent Hannasyde and Inspector Hemingway. They were never as popular as other fictional detectives of the era, such as Hercule Poirot, Campion, or Lord Peter Wimsey, but they had a loyal following.
Superintendent Hannasyde Novels
Note: Dressed to die?
An English bobbie returning from night patrol finds a corpse in evening dress locked in the stocks on the village green. He identifies the body immediately. Andrew Vereker was not a well-loved man, and narrowing down the suspects is not going to be an easy job. The Vereker family are corrupt and eccentric – and hardly cooperative …
It’s another case for the resourceful Superintendent Hannasyde, who sets off on the trail of a killer so cunning that even his consummate powers of detection are tested to their limits…
Note: The duck was a bit gamey!
When Gregory Matthews, patriarch of the Poplars is found dead one morning, imperious Aunt Harriet blames it on the roast duck he ate for supper. After all, she had warned him about his blood pressure. But a post-mortem determines that the cause of death is much more sinister. Murder. By poison.
Suspicion falls immediately amongst his bitter, quarrelsome family. Each has a motive; each, opportunity. It falls to Superintendent Hannasyde to sift through all the secrets and lies and discover just who killed Gregory Matthews, before the killer strikes again…
Note: A perfect 60!
The sixtieth birthday party of Silas Kane was marred by argument and dissension amongst his family. And then, the morning after the celebrations, Kane is found dead at the foot of a cliff. The theory that Silas accidentally lost his way in the fog is confirmed when the coroner returns a verdict of death by misadventure.
But then Kane’s nephew and heir is murdered and threats are made on the next in line to the fortune, throwing a new and sinister light on Silas Kane’s death. All clues point to an elderly lady of eighty as the killer. But as the redoubtable Superintendent Hannasyde delves further into the case he discovers that nothing is quite as it seems…
Note: A jolly good dead fellow!
Who would kill the perfect gentleman?
When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well liked and respected, so who would have a motive for killing him?
Superintendent Hannasyde, with consummate skill, uncovers one dirty little secret after another, and with them, a host of people who all have reasons for wanting Fletcher dead. Then, a second murder is committed, giving a grotesque twist to a very unusual case, and Hannasyde realizes he’s up against a killer on a mission…
Inspector Hemingway Novels
Note: An impossible murder?
Tragedy befalls the Carter family following an eventful visit from a Russian prince and a scandalous blackmail letter. The murder of Wally Carter generates a bewildering mystery – how does one shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge without being near the murder weapon when it is fired? The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway reveals his unnerving talent for solving a fiendish problem.
Locked Room Review
Note: A deadly Christmas!
A holiday party takes on a sinister aspect when the colorful assortment of guests discovers there is a killer in their midst. The owner of the substantial estate, that old Scrooge Nathaniel Herriard, is found stabbed in the back. While the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered a locked room to commit the foul deed.
For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is complicated by the fact that every guest is hiding something – throwing all of their testimony into question and casting suspicion far and wide. The clever and daring crime will mystify readers, yet the answer is in plain sight all along…
Note: The game is murder!
A civilised game of Duplicate Bridge ends in a double murder in which both victims were strangled with a tourniquet of picture wire. The crimes seem identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? The odds of solving this crime are stacked up against Inspector Hemingway. Fortunately, this first-rate detective doesn’t miss a trick.
Note: A well deserved murder?
Slumped on a seat under an oak tree is old Sampson Warrenby, with a bullet through his brain. He is discovered by his anxious niece, Mavis, who is just one of the the people in the village in the running for chief suspect, having just cause to dislike Warrenby intensely. Only Chief Inspector Hemingway can uncover which of the ten has turned hatred into murder.
Other Georgette Heyer Mysteries
Note: Things that go bump in the night?
The Priory may be ramshackled in appearance, but Peter, Margaret and Celia, who have inherited it from their uncle, love it for its rambling charm. But there’s more to this house than is at first apparent: for years hardly a single person has set foot in the place, and even their uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this particular property.
Local wisdom says that the house is haunted. And when things start going bump in the night, it certainly seems as if something ghostly is walking the Priory’s halls. Then a murder is committed. Does the key to solving the crime lie in the realm of the supernatural? Or is the explanation much more down to earth?
Note: A dangerous job?
Every family has secrets, but the Fountains’ past is 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 an 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!
Note: He was on a roll!
The stabbing of irascible General Sir Arthur Billington-Smith fails to stir up grief in anyone – least of all his family, which is no wonder considering the way he had treated them all during the fateful weekend. He had disinherited his son, humiliated his wife, refused to help his financially stricken nephew and made no secret of his loathing for his son’s fiancée, a cabaret dancer. Inspector Harding picks his way through a mass of familial discontent to find the culprit – and find much more besides.
Note: Another well deserved family death?
A family tyrant whose murder has shocking and far-reaching consequences…
Hated for his cruel and vicious nature, yet ruling his family with an iron hand from his sickbed, tyrannical patriarch Adam Penhallow is found murdered the day before his birthday. His entire family had assembled for his birthday celebration, and every one of them had the ways and means to commit the crime. As accusation and suspicion turn in one direction, then another, the claws and backstabbing come out, and no one is exempt from the coming implosion.