They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer
Oh, Georgette Heyer, who are these people you create who joke around when they are repeatedly having attempts made on their lives?
There is a fair amount of acrimony in the air at Silas Kane’s 60th birthday party. His business partners are begging him to assent to some sort of Australian ‘scheme,’ the details of which are never fully laid out, but they aren’t really important anyway. Then there’s Rosemary Kane, who is possibly the most ridiculous woman in the history of literature – and what’s more, she knows it! Rosemary completely owns up to her selfishness and mercenary nature and doesn’t bother to hide the fact that she’s seriously considering leaving her well-off but not rich husband Clement for her handsome boy toy because she simply can’t be happy without a load of money. When Silas is found dead the next morning, the original conclusion is that his fall from the cliff was simply an accident, but when his heirs start dying, it becomes increasingly apparent that something more is going on, and that perhaps Silas’s death was no accident.
This is my second foray into Georgette Heyer’s mysteries. This one was a bit slower start – “Death in the Stocks” started with a dead body, so when “They Found Him Dead” started with Silas’s birthday party I found the first 20 pages or so slow going. I actually picked this book up once and put it back down, to pick it up again a few weeks later. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, though, because the second time I picked it up I fairly flew through it. Heyer’s characters are delightfully ridiculous, and most of them are completely insipid, but in a good way. I did appreciate that “They Found Him Dead” had characters that were actually sympathetic, as opposed to “Death in the Stocks.” However, I did again figure out whodunnit about half way through the book, and this time I even knew why the entire time, as opposed to last time when I was surprised by motive, but not culprit. Surprisingly, figuring out the ending really didn’t mitigate my enjoyment of the book.
All in all, I think Heyer mysteries and quite delightful, and I wouldn’t mind stocking up on them for fun, escapist reads.