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Search tags: Georgette-Heyer
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review 2017-09-22 01:47
Why shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer
Why Shoot a Butler? - Georgette Heyer

I was worried that I wouldn't like this book because of my disastrous encounter with Venetia, one of Heyer's regency romances, but this was pretty good. 

 

Mr. Frank Amberley, a barrister visiting his relatives in the country, comes across a man shot dead in a parked car with a woman standing alongside whilst trying to following his cousin's poor directions for a short cut. He reports the murder but doesn't mention the woman because he strongly believes she didn't do it and doesn't trust the local constabulary not to try to pin it on her by mistake, apparently. You could easily accuse him of arrogance, I suppose, but he does seem to be a clever man.

 

This kicks off an amateur investigation where Amberley liaises with the police without telling them everything. I didn't guess the solution to the mystery although I had an inkling about part of it. I enjoyed the dialogue the most, I think. There was a lot of clever talking or whatever you want to call it, where characters don't exactly say what they mean but you follow along anyway, or characters mock each other without the author having to come out and say it. Or maybe others wouldn't say it was like that at all but I had fun with it regardless.

 

The last summing up chapter could have been a teensy bit shorter, but overall it was fun.

 

I read this for the "Terrifying Women" square for the Halloween Bingo but it could work equally well for "Murder Most Foul" and "Amateur Sleuth". It may work for "Country House Mystery" as well, although the number of suspects isn't quite as limited as some country house settings although you are still limited by being in the country.

 

Previous update:

52%

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text 2017-09-21 03:00
Reading progress update: I've read 52%.
Why Shoot a Butler? - Georgette Heyer

When Fountain came in apologising for keeping his visitor waiting, he was turning over the pages of a dusty volume culled from the obscurity of a top shelf and said absently: ‘Not at all, not at all. I have been looking over your books. My dear sir, are you aware that they are all arranged according to size?’

This book has a kind of wry humour that amuses me. And we now have multiple amateur detectives acting at cross purposes.

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review 2017-09-03 20:03
My first filled square!
Behold, Here's Poison - Georgette Heyer

I had been sort of planning to use this one for the free square, but since OBD called 
"cozy mystery" this morning, and nothing could be cozier than this mystery, I can't resist actually filling a square!

 

I do prefer Heyer's regency romances to her mysteries. This one was more enjoyable than the other two that I've read, though, and reminded me a lot of an Agatha Christie. It's a solid three stars, with many of the usual cozy tropes.

 

The characters all initially appear to be the typical poisonous, grasping types that we see in this style of mystery. Ultimately, at least Stella and Randall end up having more there than meets the eye. There was a point in the book where I made the note "wanker" next to some of Randall's dialogue. By the end of the book, he had grown on me considerably.

 

And, as is often the case, the "victim" in this case ends up to be the worst of the lot.

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review 2017-08-21 03:58
The Foundling
The Foundling - Georgette Heyer

I don't really know what to say about this book.  The writing is superb; really just near perfect.  The dialog is crafted so well it just trips off the tongue, even though it's a speech pattern that's hardly common today.

 

And I genuinely liked Lord Sale and his cousin Gideon (him best of all, I think); I even didn't mind the pompous uncle and Tom was moderately amusing.  I should give Heyer a fourth star just for that story about the two donkeys, a horse and a cow.  But as for the rest... 

 

Lord Sale's staff were insufferable.  Heyer meant them to be, of course; that's a big point of the plot from the beginning, but she did her job so well it was tedious to endure the reading of it.

 

Liversedge was probably brilliant and towards the end even I thought the situation was hilarious, but the first half of the book his character was just smarmy.

 

But the character I save most of my ire for is Belinda.  It was coincidence that I was reading this book the same time I was reading Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth, but it was also perhaps karma having a go at me:  I claimed nobody could be as stupid as Margot in Grey Mask and so the fates brought Belinda into my reading life.  Belinda makes Margot look like a genius; Belinda makes air look literate.  Belinda, in short, should have been institutionalised.  Nobody – nobody – could be that vacuous and still show signs of life.

 

If this book failed at all it was with Heyer's decision to make Belinda too stupid to be believed.  I could not be sympathetic to her story at any point because she was not even believable as an automaton.  And because she played such a huge part in the middle of the book, the story dragged dangerously midway through and at one point, I just didn't want to finish it.  Fortunately, the POV shifted to Gideon, and the story picked up pace considerably.  The last half of the book was great, in fact: even though Belinda got to let her stupid shine to the very end, there was a lot less of her and the story focused on the characters that were interesting - the sentient ones.

 

The moral of this story:  stupid people can ruin even the best story.

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review 2017-08-14 03:54
The Romance is a Nope
Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer

This was my second (at least) read of Regency Buck. There were parts of it that I liked better this time around, and parts that I actually liked less.

 

The hero, Lord Worth, is no more likeable in this read than he was the first time I read it. I just cannot conceive of his appeal for Judith, who is headstrong and occasionally obtuse, but who is generally of a friendly, informal disposition. Worth, on the other hand, is cold, withdrawn and often downright unpleasant. He also more or less assaults Judith on their first meeting by kissing her without her consent, an incident that is not made more appealing with threats of repetition.

 

She made light of the circumstance of the stranger’s kissing her: he would bestow just such a careless embrace on a pretty chambermaid, she dared say. It was certain that he mistook her station in life.

 

I don't find this even remotely appealing, not the least on behalf of the pretty chambermaids of the Regency, who deserved better than to suffer random groping by asshole peers taking unwanted liberties upon their persons. Ugh. There is one occasion where he actually threatens to beat her.

 

Do not look daggers at me: I am wholly impervious to displays of that kind. Your tantrums may do very well at home, but they arouse in me nothing more than a desire to beat you soundly. And that, Miss Taverner, if ever I do marry you, is precisely what I shall do.’

 

Gross. On top of that, there is no real sense that he has improved by the end of the book. He treats her indulgently, referring to her repeatedly as "adorable," in a way that is actually fairly insulting.

 

It seems to me that Heyer is trying hard to create a Darcy/Lizzie vibe, with the sparks that fly between them and the irreverent teasing that Lizzie uses to soften up the withdrawn, shy Darcy. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for me at all, because I just don't see Worth having Darcy's good points. Darcy seems like a jerk. Worth is a jerk.

 

So, as far as the romance goes, this one didn't convince me. I wanted to push Worth overboard, and have Judith marry one of the other male characters. Mr. Brummel, for example, was quite charming, as was Lord Worth's younger brother, Charles.

 

Now, though, the really good aspect of this book - Heyer did a great job with the mystery in this romance. Someone is trying to get Judith's brother, Peregrine, out of the way, and the way that she plotted that particular part of the book was genius. There were several bits of redirection that were extremely effective, and even the second time around, she confounded me a couple of times.

 

TL/DR: Keep the mystery, jettison the romance. A hero who threatens to beat the heroine is not a hero to root for.

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