Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #49: Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer
I seem to be on a Georgette kick this year. This was another one of her mysteries, and it was pretty interesting. I always picture Georgette books as taking place back in regency romance days, so when her more modern mystery characters talk about answering the telephone it always startles me.
At one of Mrs. Haddington’s bridge parties, one of her guests is murdered. Chief Inspector Hemingway must sort through the guests, the staff, and the hostess and her daughter to find the culprit. Things are hopelessly muddled, with Mrs. Haddington herself emerging as the main suspect, up until she is also found murdered. The victims and suspects are all majorly upper-class, with the exception of Mrs. Haddington’s secretary, Miss Birtley, and nobody wants to lower themselves to speak to a (gasp!) policeman. Hemingway is calm and unflappable and handles the rich folk with ease. He’s a great character, and very fun to watch. Miss Birtley is probably the closest thing to a usual Georgette heroine: she’s got some spunk and a rich love interest (a guest at the party), but I wouldn’t call her a main character. There are gobs of people in this book, but each is memorable enough that it’s easy to follow, even if you don’t get to spend much time with them. The upper-crusties definitely come off as the villains of the piece, regardless of the murderer. It’s delightful to watch Georgette skewer them – her writing is always so delicious. Some favorite lines:
“She gave her empty tinkle of laughter, and flitted off to exchange over-affectionate greetings with a raddled brunette in petunia satin.” (I had to look up raddled – it means unkempt or run-down in appearance.)
“He was not precisely known to the police, but once or twice the breath of ugly scandal had wafted perilously near to him.”
Good police work, good characters, a fairly brisk read – I enjoyed this one, but I still like Georgette’s romances better.