Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer

From the publisher: One heir after another turns up dead…

Silas Kane's sixtieth birthday party is marred by argument and dissension amongst his family, and then the next morning, Kane is found dead. The coroner's verdict of death by misadventure would seem to confirm that Silas accidentally lost his way in the fog. But then his heir is shot, and threats are made against the next in line to inherit his fortune. The redoubtable Superintendent Hannasyde is called in to investigate. All clues point to an apparently innocuous eighty-year-old woman, but as the Inspector delves further into the case, he discovers that nothing is quite as it seems…

My thoughts:

If you like British manor house mysteries, you are in luck with this reprint of Heyer's, They Found Him Dead. It's the classic set up - large extended family gathering where we meet a variety of characters; some nice, some not so nice and one or two that are downright obnoxious! A little bit of back and forth bickering and some spats amongst family sets the tone for the mystery. The large estate set on the cliffs, the 1930's time frame and the pea soup fog certainly create the perfect ambiance. But when young Timothy wildly proclaims it's the perfect night for a murder, he is looked on askance. Who would be murdered? Most importantly, why would someone commit such a heinous crime? What would they gain?

Heyer gives readers enough suspects and motives to keep them guessing all through out the book. Inspector Hannasyde certainly has his work cut out for him sifting through clues and interrogating suspects time and time again but time is of the essence as the third in line to the family business and fortune has some narrow misses. Is someone out to get him too or are these murderous attempts just red herrings?

This was a very enjoyable read for me. Several things I really liked about the book are the time frame and the myriad of characters so deftly described as Heyer brings her characters to life on the page with all their distinct personalities, weaknesses, strengths and loyalties. An intriguing whodunnit as well as a fun read. Highly recommended for mystery fans. 4****

Georgette Heyer is also the author of Death In The Stocks reviewed here.
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks, Inc. Thank you so much, Danielle.


  1. I keep meaning to read Georgette Heyer and hope to this year. I didn't realise they were mysteries, I was convinced they were love stories. Sounds a bit like Agatha Christie's books.

  2. I always thought Heyer wrote nothing but romance, so I've never read any of her work. This one sounds really good to me!

  3. I have only read her mysteries, never any of her romances.
    I have not read this one, but they are all entertaining reads in my experience.

    And as I have said in my reviews of some other, I totally love the look and feel of these editions from Sourcebooks...very nice.

  4. I am hoping to read one of Heyer's books soon. I am not much of a romance fan, so not sure the regency romances are for me, but I would love to try one of her mysteries.

  5. I love these little mysteries, I love the size and the covers. I have only read Heyer's mysteries so I do not know about the historicals or the romance. But if you have not read Heyer you need to. Also if you want to read a story that doesn't have naught language these are the thing!!!
    Great post

  6. I love Heyer and your thoughts on this one makes me want to try another mystery because the first one just didn't move me.

  7. I'm just discovering Heyer, thanks to Sourcebooks for reprinting so many of her books! I've read one of her historicals, The Conqueror, and a romance, Devil's Cub. Really enjoyed both and looking forward to more. I didn't realize she had mysteries, too! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. I'm not a big fan of British mysteries but this sounds good! I don't recall reading any of her books before. I'll have to check into them. Another awesome review Kaye!!


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