Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beach Read: NO WIND OF BLAME by Georgette Heyer

Georgette Heyer wrote over fifty books, including romances, mysteries, and historical fiction.  Her barrister husband, Ronald Rougier, provided many of the plots for her detective novels, which are classic English country house mysteries reminiscent of Agatha Christie.  Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy, and her inventive plots and sparkling characterization. 

Book Title: No Wind of Blame (Inspector Hemingway Mysteries #1)
Author:  Georgette Heyer
Genre:  Mystery
Setting:  1930s English Country House
Format:  Trade paperback       
Pages:  364
Publication date:  original 1939, reissued 2009
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Landmark
Opening Line: “The Prince is coming by the one-forty-five.  That means he’ll be here in time for tea.  Well, I do call that nice!”
Favorite Passage:  Mrs. Carter restored the Prince’s letter to its envelope, and stretched out a plump arm towards the toast-rack.  She was a large woman, who hand enjoyed, in youth, the advantages of golden hair and a pink-and-white complexion.  Time had committed some ravages with both these adjuncts, but a lavish use of peroxide and the productions of a famous beauty specialist really worked wonders. 

Beach Read Rating: 4 out of 5 Beach Umbrellas

Review: While Georgette Heyer (1902-1974) is considered the undisputed Queen of the Regency Romance, she also penned a dozen mysteries.  Sourcebooks has recently re-released them, and what a delightful trip back in time.  Talk about an abundance of Red Herrings!  And the characters are BIG and BOLD.  Except for those who are meek and mild.  (In other words, here characters are at the extremes of the spectrum and play well off each other.)  And such attention to detail that Miss Marple would be hard-pressed to out-sleuth Inspector Hemingway.  The ONLY thing that prevented this delightful tale from earning five stars is that it is a bit “over-written”, a true reflection of the time period, I’ll admit, but tends to slow down the reading in my hurry-scurry reading habits.  

Flap Copy:  Everyone had a motive, but who had the means?  Wally Carter’s murder seems impossible—not one of the suspects was anywhere near the weapon at the time the shot was fired.  The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway is confronted with a neglected widow, the neighbor who’s in love with her, her resentful daughter, a patently phony Russian Prince, and a case of blackmail that may—or may not—be at the heart of this most unusual case…

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