The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway is confronted by a murder that seems impossible – no one was near the murder weapon at the time the shot was fired. Everyone on the scene seems to have a motive, not to mention the wherewithal to commit murder, and alibis that simply don't hold up.
The inspector is sorely tried by a wide variety of suspects, including the neglected widow, the neighbour who's in love with her, her resentful daughter, and a patently phony Russian prince preying on the widow's emotional vulnerability and social aspirations. And then there's the blackmail plot that may – or may not – be at the heart of the case....
©1939 Georgette Rougier (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen." (Publishers Weekly)
"Pungent dialogue and A1 characterisation." (Time Magazine)
"Miss Heyer's characters act and speak with an ease and conviction that is as refreshing as it is rare in the ordinary mystery novel." (The Times Literary Supplement)
Georgette Heyer's mysteries are sprightly and entertaining, though dated in regard to foreigners (teeth gritted), and rather contrived, shallow plotting (about which see comments on narrator). I am also less fond of the Inspector Hemingway novels than the earlier ones--they seem more routine. But like her other books, this was well written, full of fun, and had its share of wonderful characters--especially Vicky. And it is these qualities that make me love Georgette Heyer, even at her less-than-best.
Ingenious, if improbable. The villain is a most satisfying choice. Not sure I like the way one promising character gets reduced to a second-best dull old thing, but the emerging love story is fun.
Aside from pleasant speaking voice, she ruined this book in every possible way. No animation at all and draggy pace. This is especially unbearable when she voices the male characters, for whom she switches to Very. Carefully. Spaced. Monotone. This a serious crime in Heyer novels, which are so dependent on shadings of tone, irony, comedy, and a fine sense of the ridiculous. The reading killed these, so that the only thing left was the not-very-entertaining plot. You don't read Heyer for plot. I was so looking forward to revisiting the rest of the mysteries, but absolutely can't.
Not with this cast/production. No way.
Try again with a different reader? And for Heyer fans who have not read her mysteries, get the books! They're lovely escape reading.
The story was OK, but a little corny in the end. The Ulli Birve was just awful. I really can't believe that she can find work. She can do about three different accents, and two of them sound Australian. Just awful reading. The ending was a little silly.
It seemed exceedingly implausible.
Absolutely NOTHING. It was awful.
Hate Ulli Birve's work, and read the next book.
i know this book so well, having read it dozens of times, as i have all of Heyer's mysteries, and i like listening to the stories very much, but the narrator mispoke some words, she changed 'county' to 'country' at least a couple of times, which kind of changes the tone of those passages, and i dislike some of the accents used. but overall i like having the audible versions of these books because they are among my most favorite mysteries and i listen to them often. very convenient when i cant read the actual book.these mysteries are very well written and enjoyable.
she is good but needs to make sure she reads the actual words as written
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I love Georgette Heyer, owning every Regency and Georgian book she's written. I'd never read a romance novel before until I stumbled on her "Frederica" about 5 years ago on Audible. I was hooked! But this "thriller" is juvenile, confusing, uninteresting, with boring unlikeable characters. The main one, Inspector Hemingway, is a joke. He couldn't get an indictment against a ham sandwich! Heyer surrounds Hemingway with a cadre of dull sargeants and constables who are as inept as he his. Oh, they finally solve the crime but only after the listener is subjected to 7 hours of "Keystone Kops". Hemingway doesn't even appear until 4 hours in. By that time, I was hoping that ALL of the other characters would just die along with the first victim! They are so flat and dull.
I couldn't figure out why this book was so bad after listening to/reading more than 20 books by this prolific author. The story sounded like someone else had ghostwritten it, with none of Heyer's usual well-defined characters, smart witty dialogue, and intriguing plot. So off to Wikipedia I went. There, I discovered the problem. Heyer's HUSBAND had provided the main protagonists for the thriller, leaving her to put together a story that was not her personal "baby". As a result, the books are cliché, dull, and awful. Her thrillers were never as popular as her romance novels, selling way less and getting lukewarm reception. There's only one Inspector Hemingway book - THANK GOD! I tried one of her Inspector Hannasdyde thrillers a few months back, but returned it to Audible within the first 2 hours. I thought I'd give it another try, listening to this entire mess, only to be equally disappointed. I'm returning this book as soon as this review is published.
Narrator Ulli Birvé is competent, given the substandard material. Save your money! I chose to reread my Agatha Christe collection again - Hercule Poirot never gets old!
a different narrator perhaps. But the story itself was lacklustre. I didn't like any of the characters and quite honestly, I didn't care who had committed the murder! There were a few characters I would have cheerfully murdered myself!
Yes-I throroughly enjoy her Regency and Georgian series.
I know its difficult to do so many accents but it jarred to have Australian vowels cropping up.
The story and the reader were excellent. I believe the recording was suboptimal- sounded compressed sometimes speeded up without altering listener preference options. I am wiling to carry on with the series since the writing, wit, reading are most entertaining.
Same sort of writing as Josephine Tey.
Excellent voice with identifyable characters but the recording did not do her justice.
The character of ERmintrude is simultaneously annoying and endearing- that had to be difficult to achieve. The moment at the end of the book when she takes in the children of her arch enemy is sweet.
Better technical recording please.
Never lonely with a good book in hand
I've always enjoyed reading Georgette Heyer's mysteries, and the narrator did use a lot of different voices but there was something wrong that made it drag. A few voices were loud & irritating or set my teeth on edge. Possibly I'm overly sensitive but I wish she had toned it down & added more variation & resonance to the reading. Especial as she is an actress. Well maybe she's new to narration? I'll hold off buying the rest of the series. For now. The storyline was okay but veered off in places. I was glad when it finally finished. A
feeling I've not had yet reading the paper books.
I enjoyed the beginning of the book - it is a cozy, with minimal blood, all very civilized and fairly light on the brain. However, the last quarter or so of the book became increasingly annoying. The method and solution of the murder is ridiculously complicated and unlikely to the point of absurdity. I simply could not wait for the book to end.
The reader was so bad in the beginning, I almost stopped listening, but I had no other books on my device. The 'Inspector' didn't even show up until chapter 10 (out of 16) but once he was there it got better. Doubt I'll continue the series. Very old-school writing too.
Heyer wrote an intriguing story here, with well developed characters, each with a distinct personality, and each playing a crucial role in the plot's development. The reader is hard pressed to anticipate the denouement as clues unfold. The detective is a splendid, likable character.
"A Crime in 3 Acts!"
This is the 1st in the Inspector Hemmingway novels & it starts of rather dully to be honest, but because it's Georgette Heyer, one has to persist. And it's well worth the perseverance.
The first part is necessary - although you won't appreciate that at the time - because of the over abundance of Red Herrings, liberally scattered about!
Part 2 is the meat & potatoes of the piece & is in equal parts entertainingly humorous & doggedly sleuth-like.
Part 3, the finale, neatly ties together the whole & brings about not only a satisfactory conclusion, but a strong desire to wish for more narrative on the 'happy ever after' stories of the remaining characters.
Definitely well worth the read. If you're hesitant about purchasing this novel - think of it in a similar vein of the Miss Silver novels, without the staidness of Miss Silver, but all of the fun & humour of the same. Buy it. You'll thank me!
Not recommended - Could not get into it - Did not find narrator engaging - Always hoping for the real story to begin
"Narration spoilt the book"
Yes by Georgett heyer no to Ulli Birve
Stroy intriguing and always like Georgette Heyer's dialogue which is why narration so important.
Reading as an Australian would have been fine, but pretending to be English badly and totally unanimated reading ruined an author I really like so now I can't buy any more of her crime books.
The story is dull and the narrator duller
I will not try any more Inspector Hemingway books
If someone else had been the performer
I was intrigued to find out what a Georgette Heyer mystery might be like. Unfortunately, the narrator was truly awful and the story fairly dull. With a different narrator, it might have been mildly entertaining, but in this version, I'm sorry to say, I couldn't actually get through to the end - I did persevere for several hours, I should add; I didn't abandon the thing without a very, very good try. The narrator's hopeless accents, combined with her air of reading to a more than normally dim audience just made the thing unbearable eventually. It wasn't even so bad as to be funny; just excruciating
"Great fun, loved it, but good to remember context!"
Yes, I found it a well written and engaging story, and if not uniquely original I enjoyed some of the characters very much.
Also whilst it's all subjective and each to their own, I enjoy the narration by Ulli Birvé....her narration fits in my mind with the time in which the stories were written and set (late 1930's - 50's) and I think should be taken in context with this and the fact that Heyer's murder mysteries were very much regarded at the time as 'upper-class family murders'! I will admit though that very occasionally...and not apparent in this recording...she can slip and a slight Aussie twang can sometimes be heard, but then she is Australian and nobody is 100% perfect!
I enjoyed the daughters character very much!
"fine. but not amazing"
reader gave local accent an almost Australian twang which was odd. story was fine.
"Great story spoilt by Narration"
Really enjoyed the mystery however the narrator is not good at all she only seems to do two types of voice upper class or a very poor common accent all delivered in a monotone the story though was good.
As a narrator, Ulli Birve has lovely clear diction but her character accents were poor at best and made it quite difficult to distinguish one character from another, on this basis I would not consider this narrator again. With regards to trying another book by Georgette Heyer, I may do so in the future but this is not an author at the top of my wish list.
It was a rather dull "cozy mystery" populated by dislikeable characters.
The inability to differentiate between characters through voice and accent. At times some of the dialogue was delivered in an almost robotic manner.
Not really bothered as I had lost all interest in any of the characters about halfway through (though I foolishly persisted on to the end).
There are well-narrated mysteries out there, this is not one of them.
"Problem is narrator not the book!"
A different narrator. I have read all the Heyer mysteries and have thoroughly enjoyed them as well written, lighthearted entertainment. Unfortunately this narrator's stilted style (perhaps she thought she was addressing an audience of children?) made this story unlistenable for me. I did check the sample before buying, and thought it sounded OK enough.
Couldn't get past the first 15 minutes.
Wouldn't change the story itself.
"Death by monotone"
Would love to listen to anything by Heyer. Finely-tuned, intelligent, and funny.
Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers
It is hard to imagine a more relentless, humorless, dull reading, of such wonderful material. Amazing that some vague traces of the wit and sparkle of the author actually survive.
Terrific books, worthy of re-issue. Would be brilliant in the right hands
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