When looking for a book featuring an accountant in order to fill the final gap in my plan to complete the Vintage Mystery Challenge an appeal to the GAD Facebook group suggested this title. As it was on my mum’s bookshelf I thought I may as well save my money trying David Dodge or Clark Smith and give it a go.
Georgette Heyer is best-known for a series of Regency Romances but she also turned her hand to detective fiction, writing twelves novels, often featuring the completely characterless Superintendent Hannasyde.
This story opens early one morning with a police constable finding the body of the much disliked Arnold Vereker clad in evening dress with his feet in the village stocks. The prime suspects are his half-siblings, Antonia who has quarrelled violently with him regarding her engagement and Kenneth, a penniless artist who is his heir. Both are happy that Arnold is dead and aren’t afraid to show it.
There is a lot of talking in this book, often about whether people are bluffing and being overly clever: “Of course if I had committed the murder that is exactly what I wouldn’t have done – or would I?” etc.
I knew I might have read this before, but initially was unsure until I had a general sense that I definitely had but still had no memory of who or why. I did solve the case though perhaps there was something in my subconscious that helped me.
This isn’t a bad book but neither is it a good book.
Vintage Mystery Challenge
A prominent character is an accountant so fulfils “Why – A character has a job similar to yours”
What Else I’ve Been Reading
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – a year ago I bought a load of hardback classics for my children to enjoy in the future but for the moment I am working through them. This book gives us everything that we have come to associate with pirates – pieces of eight, parrots, the black spot etc. Long John Silver is one of the most charming villains in fiction and all the more dangerous for it. A brilliant adventure yarn.
Operation Pax by Michael Innes – in the John Appleby series but he doesn’t get to do that much. Definitely a thriller rather than a traditional detective story. One for the completist.