The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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February 24, 2011

A Blunt Instrument

After reading my first two, I wasn't as enamored of Georgette Heyer's mysteries as I had hoped to be. But I liked this one!  The plot centers on the murder of Ernest Fletcher, a man-about-town and good-natured blackmailer, who is killed in his study with a (guess what).  The clues and miscues all evolve around timing, with one or two unidentified men, a woman, her husband, and a police constable all coming in and out between 9:58 and 10:02.

      The Sergeant hunted among the papers before him on the desk, and selected one covered with his own handwriting. 'Well, Super, I don't mind telling you that I've had a shot at working the thing out for myself. And the only conclusion I've come to is that the whole thing's impossible from start to finish. Once you start putting all the evidence down on paper you can't help but see that the late Ernest wasn't murdered at all. Couldn't have been.'
      'Oh don't be absurd!' said Hannasyde rather impatiently.
I lost track of all this about halfway through, but it didn't really matter (though the twist at the end was well done).  What was appealing about this book were the suspects and their friends, the Bible-quoting constable, and the campy dialogue, which had some of the same feeling of the old movies (Cary Grant, William Powell and Myrna Loy) that I like to watch. 
      'The Superintendent?' she said numbly. 'Yes. Yes, you must tell the master, of course. Show the Superintendent into the library. I'll come.'
      'What for?' asked Sally, when the butler had withdrawn. 'He didn't ask for you.'
      'It doesn't matter. I must see him. I must find out what he wants. Oh, dear, if only I could think!'
       'Can't you?' asked Neville solicitously. 'Not at all?'

{Natasha and Cecil, by Vivienne Strauss.
The paintings and their titles are hard to resist.}

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1 comment:

Bellezza said...

I have not read any novels by Georgette Heyer, must fix that! Glad to hear you liked the two others even more.

I'm looking forward to participating in the Persephone weekend with you. Right now I'm halfway through Little Boy Lost, but I have several others I'm hoping to read as well. Have a good day!

Thank you for visiting!

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