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Search tags: Georgette-Heyer
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review 2017-12-25 16:32
A Christmas Party / Envious Casca
A Christmas Party: A Seasonal Murder Mystery - Georgette Heyer

My physical copy of this Georgette Heyer book is titled "A Christmas Party" and as Themis pointed out to me, the original title "Envious Casca" has a specific point to it. Themis was so kind and gave me a hint about the title and I looked it up after finishing the book and she is right: the original is much more fitting for the story than the new one (which is pretty bland and boring, I think).


The murder mystery might not be the strong suit of Envious Casca since I thought it to be a bit predictablebut I loved the dysfunctional family / friends relationships of the Christmas company at Lexham manor. The toxic atmosphere between these people and their lashing out at each other without holding back was highly entertaining.


Overall a really fun read and I´m glad that I managed it to read it this Christmas.


Book themes for Las Posadas: Read a book dealing with visits by family or friends, or set in Mexico, –OR– with a poinsettia on the cover. –OR– a story where the main character is stranded without a place to stay, or find themselves in a 'no room at the Inn’ situation.


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review 2017-12-23 17:34
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 13 - Christmas: Unseasonable Squabblers
Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer,Ulli Birvé
Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer

This was a season- (and 16 Festive Tasks-) induced reread; Envious Casca actually is, however, my favorite among all the Georgette Heyer mysteries I've read so far.  Recently republished under the title A Christmas Party (shame on anybody hearing a cash register tinkling faintly in the background), it's the seasonal entry in Heyer's series of country house mysteries -- investigated first by Inspector Hannasyde and later by his erstwhile sergeant-turned-Inspector Hemingway --, and thus fits nicely into the mold of the wave of Christmas house party mysteries that enjoyed a near-undying popularity in the first half of the 20th century, and which have recently seen a major renaissance.


I like this book considerably better than most of Heyer's other mysteries, as most of her other books are populated by a crowd of just-too-nice-to-be-believed nice chaps and bright young things (one of whom, or their equally over-the-top nice elders, typically turns out to be the murderer, with someone else hiding a dose of poison under their oh-so-nice facade as well) ... all of which had me exasperated after a while and deciding I was just about done with Heyer.  Not so here, however: the only over-the-top-nice person is an old fogey named Joseph Herriard, who is decidedly more of a parody than a straightforwardly-created character; everybody else, beginning with the victim-to-be, Joe's curmudgeonly brother Nathaniel, and all the way down to the young'uns wished upon Nat by Joe for what has to be one of the Top 10 ill-assorted Christmas parties in the history of mystery writing, seems to feed on regular doses of pure acid, which makes for rather spirited exchanges -- or, um, well, actually, anything from squabbles to all-out tongue-lashing fights -- pretty much the whole way through.  (And the servants aren't any better ... I suppose a Golden Age reader might have asked, "how can they expected to be with the kind of example set for them Upstairs?").  All of which, in the hands of a different writer, could easily be a recipe for disaster when it comes to synching that sort of characters with the proper Christmas spirit, but Heyer pulls it off beautifully, essentially by taking neither Christmas nor her characters excessively seriously, while however never talking down to them, either -- or to the reader.


The narration by Ulli Birvé (who narrates all of Heyer's books) is OK, but just a bit too contrived and unnatural at times for my liking -- besides, she gives Inspector Hemingway the audiobok narrator's standard "country copper" accent, which he decidedly doesn't have in my ears -- all of which is why I subtracted a half star for the audio version. Heyer's actual book is a 4 1/2 star read for me.


I revisited this for the "Christmas" square of the 16 Festive Tasks: Read a book whose protagonist is called Mary, Joseph (or Jesus, if that’s a commonly used name in your culture) or any variations of those names (e.g., Maria or Pepe).  (It's impossible to pin down one single protagonist in this book -- in cinematic awards terms, this one, like many country house mysteries, would be a sure-fire candidate for a "best ensemble" award -- but Joe Herriard is definitely one of the stand-out characters in an overall deliciously acrimonious cast.)


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review 2017-11-06 00:58
Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer
Footsteps in the Dark - Georgette Heyer

Three siblings (Margaret, Peter, and Celia) inherit a rambling old house in the country so they decide to stay there for a while to take advantage of it. So we have the siblings, their aunt Mrs Bosanquet, Celia's husband, Charles, and the Bowers (their help).  Of course, the old house has a history of ghost stories and a character called the Monk apparently haunts the place. Everyone in the house experiences weird happenings, and although they don't really believe the place is haunted, they start to wonder.


The mystery was only so-so and I figured out who the Monk was, but the banter between the characters really made this book for me. Charles in particular was ridiculous and awesome. The romance wasn't exactly forced but it seemed pretty rushed and random. Oh well. The banter was still really good.


I'm using this book for Square #3 St Martin's Day for the 16 Festive Tasks "Read a book set in a rural setting."

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text 2017-11-02 12:55
Reading progress update: I've read 22%.
Footsteps in the Dark - Georgette Heyer

I'm enjoying the exchanges between the characters here. Like when Charles says he's good at finding things and reminds his wife about the time he found her diamond broach and she replies that he didn't find it, she did, after he had ripped up some floor boards. It turned out he meant the other time she lost it when he found it by stepping on it when he was getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Very clever of him, eh?


I also wasn't originally planning on participating in the Festive Tasks this year because I didn't last year, but MbD and TA have tempted me. I'm thinking this book would work square 3 St Martin's Day "read a book set in a rural setting" (it took me so long to find that reference again) since it's about an apparently haunted house in the country. I suppose you'd say it's on the outskirts of a small village rather than in the village. That counts, right?


It was also a potential Halloween choice for me but I think I'll reserve that book choice for a witchier book.

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review 2017-11-01 01:54
Tangled webs
These Old Shades - Georgette Heyer

I think I'm too much a product of my time. Having a hero who was 40yrs and a heroine who was 19, combined with the hero constantly calling her infant and for 80% of the story portraying her as very young, innocent, and wide-eyed, I couldn't and didn't want to buy into their romance. 


If you liked Val from Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, you're going to love our hero Justin, definitely an inspiration for him. I was a big fan of Justin and his wit, he's constantly miles and moves ahead of everyone else. Leonie was kept so young, guileless, and precocious without much emotional maturity growth, I have to be that person and say I wasn't a big fan of the heroine. 


The father figure falling for the young girl who hero worships him but written very well with tangled weave drama. 

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