Sunday, February 1, 2015


Georgette Heyer (16 August 1902 – 4 July 1974) was a British historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel "The Black Moth". 

Georgette Heyer essentially established the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance. Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Jane Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Georgette Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting. To ensure accuracy, she collected reference works and kept detailed notes on all aspects of Regency life. While some critics thought the novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Georgette Heyer's greatest asset.

In any case, her romance novels have always been, and still are, more popular than her mystery books, which started in 1932, with the release of her first thriller "Footsteps in the Dark". The novel's publication coincided with the birth of her only child, Richard George Rougier, whom she called her "most notable (indeed peerless) work". Later in her life, Georgette Heyer requested that her publishers refrain from reprinting "Footsteps in the Dark", saying "This work, published simultaneously with my son ... was the first of my thrillers and was perpetrated while I was, as any Regency character would have said, increasing. One husband and two ribald brothers all had fingers in it, and I do not claim it as a Major Work."

According to her son,  Georgette Heyer "regarded the writing of mystery stories rather as we would regard tackling a crossword puzzle – an intellectual diversion before the harder tasks of life have to be faced".

Georgette Heyer's husband, George Ronald Rougier, was involved in much of her writing. He often read the proofs of her historical romances to catch any errors that she might have missed, and served as a collaborator for her thrillers. He provided the plots of the detective stories, describing the actions of characters "A" and "B". Georgette Heyer would then create the characters and the relationships between them and bring the plot points to life. She found it difficult at times to rely on someone else's plots; on at least one occasion, before writing the last chapter of a book, she asked Rougier to explain once again how the murder was really committed.

In 1935, her mystery novels started following a pair of detectives named Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant (later Inspector) Hemingway. The setting was usually London, a small village, or a houseparty. The stories specialized in upper-class family murders, and were known for wit, comedy, which was derived from the personalities and dialogue of the characters, romance and well-woven plots. 


1) Death In The Stocks (1935)

Beneath a sky the colour of sapphires and the sinister moonlight, a gentleman in evening dress is discovered slumped in the stocks on the village green - he is dead. Superintendent Hannasyde's consummate powers of detection and solicitor Giles Carrington's amateur sleuthing are tested to their limits as they grapple with the Vereker family - a group of outrageously eccentric and corrupt suspects. 

2) Behold, Here's Poison (1936)*
3) They Found Him Dead (1937)*
4) A Blunt Instrument (1938)*


1) No Wind Of Blame (1939)

Tragedy befalls the Carter family following an eventful visit from a Russian prince and a scandalous blackmail letter. The murder of Wally Carter is a bewildering mystery — how does one shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge without being near the murder weapon when it is fired? The analytical Inspector Hemingway reveals his unnerving talent for solving a fiendish problem. 

2) Envious Casca (1941)*
3) Duplicate Death (1951)*
4) Detection Unlimited (1953)*


1) Footsteps In The Dark (1932)*
2) Why Shoot A Butler? (1933)

Every family has secrets, but the Fountains' are turning deadly…

On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her -- at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up…

The new heir to Norton Manor discovered the difficulty of keeping decent help when the butler got murdered on his night off. But why would anyone shoot a trusted old family retainer? Amateur sleuth Frank Amberley, has a couple of suspects in mind, when suddenly there's a second body in this dramatic tale of upstairs, downstairs and family secrets.

3) The Unfinished Clue (1934)*
4) Penhallow (1942)*

*(Books Not Yet Read)

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