Sunday, January 6, 2013

Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer

Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer is a murder mystery set in an English country house in the 1930s.

It's Christmas time, and curmudgeonly Nathaniel Herriard has been cajoled into playing the host for a gathering of family and friends. A more inimical group of people could hardly be imagined, and tempers are running high . . . even before Nathaniel is found dead in his room, obviously murdered. Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard is called in to solve the case: who murdered Nathaniel Herriard (nearly everyone at the house party had a motive), and how did they do it, as the corpse was discovered in a locked room?

I have read several of Heyer's Regency romances, but this is the first of her mysteries that I have tackled. I liked the setting and the characters assembled at the house party, but thought the mystery was not as strong as others I've read. I also didn't care for Inspector Hemingway, who comes across as conceited -- he falls short in comparison to his contemporaries of the golden age of detective fiction: Lord Peter Wimsey, Hercule Poirot, Roderick Alleyn . . .

That's not to say that this wasn't worth reading -- I did enjoy it, and it took me perhaps longer than it should have to figure out who the murderer was. I'll probably read more of Heyer's detective stories in the future, but her real strength lies in romances, not mysteries.

(Reviewed from my personally purchased electronic copy.)

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