Behold, Here’s Poison

By Georgette Heyer

I Listened to the audible edition last month after reading it multiple times years ago. I mis-remembered who the murderer was, so it was a surprise. The character of sharp-tongued, witty, cynical Randall is the main attraction in this book. The reader did a good job of conveying his “amiable snake” personality. A little over the top at first, but settled down just enough later. Randall is very much a modern version of the author’s Duke of Avon from her beloved These Old Shades. He was as entertaining as ever, although part of the initial attraction on first read was the delightful surprise when he made a match with Stella, who was not as appealing as I remembered, and certainly does not have the strong personality and intelligence to stand up to Randall. I fear he will grow bored with her sooner rather than later. This is a typical English country house murder-mystery. And the mystery, both the method and the murderer, is top notch. It is set in the 1930’s and written in the 1930’s, so it is awash with authentic period detail, customs, manners, and attitudes. As such, it should be a delight to those who might be attracted to those times. **3 stars out of 5**

November 20, 2016


By Georgette Heyer

Heyer’s books need no more encomiums. I will only add a few random thoughts. Venetia is probably one of her most admirable and charming heroines and Damerel one of her most romantic heroes. The book itself is probably one of the most romantic. The romance takes center stage here. Venetia and Damerel are lost in love and experience more romance, joy and heartache on the page than any other of her novels. In many of her novels one needs to imagine and read between the lines and much is only implied. What struck me most were the development of the secondary characters. Each one of them was priceless and well crafted, whether hilarious (Aunt Hendred, Nurse, the Steeples, Oswald, and Charlotte for example.) or maddening: (Edward, and Mrs. Scourrier.) Or just there (but with distinct and detailed personalities): the Dennys and Mr. Hendred, and the servants.
The one complaint about this one is Heyer’s over use of the affectionate terms, “Stoopid”, and “My dear Friend” or “dearest friend” It kind of made me roll my eyes after awhile.
***Edit*** There is one thing that really bothers me if I think about it too hard. And that is Damerel’s behavior with Venetia in the woods during what turns out to be a “meet cute.” However, he genuinely assaulted her. It was only when he realized that she was not what she appeared (his tenant and thus in his power, and powerless) that he stopped. She was in real danger. thank God she had the ability to quote poetry. What really bugs me is that many readers take Lord Worth of Regency Buck into dislike because of his behavior on the road to Judith, yet give Damerel a free pass. Damerel’s behavior is so so much worse.**5 out of 5 stars**

March 5, 2017

The Talisman Ring

By Georgette Heyer

When I first read The Talisman Ring, I was a teenager. I didn’t fully appreciate it as I didn’t really relate to the older couple, and found both Eustacie and Ludovic tiresome. Of course, the older I got the more I loved Tristram and Sarah and their dry wit and mature romance. I still find the younger couple uninteresting. Ludovic is a dunderhead: Loaded with Brawn and Bravery but stiffed in the common sense department. Eustacie was a bit easier to take this time because I listened to this book on audible, rather than reading it. Phylida Nash, the reader, made her sound exactly like Leslie Caron, whom I adore. It’s still not my favorite, because of the lack of a London or Bath setting and thus, no glittering society for our couple to observe and interact with, but I certainly understand why it is many people’s favorite and considered one of her most accessible works.**4 our of 5 stars**

May 9, 2017

Duplicate Death

By Georgette Heyer

Another good listen on audio. One of my top Heyer mysteries. Unlike the related They Found Him Dead, I did not remember who the killer of the two victims was. It was rather a surprise in both cases, so cleverly done. The clues were there though! Unlike many of her mysteries where the secondary characters provide the humor and the interest and the protagonists are rather boring, in this one the good guys are the most intriguing. Terrible Timothy from They Found Him Dead, makes a fine hero and has grown into a loyal, charming, and thoroughly lovable lead. Jim and Pat make a welcome appearance, and Tim and Jim’s redoubtable mother plays a significant off-screen role. However, the main attraction, I found, was Tim’s fiance, Beulah (what a name!). She is surely one of the more unusual heroines in any of Heyer’s books. Sulky, hostile, rude, even silly, but needing and loving the sunny Timothy as much as he deserves. Somehow, you just love her because of her lack of social grace and charm. I was glad to see Hannasyde’s old number 2, Now DCI Hemingway, was so respected and successful, despite his plebeian roots. Pretty unusual for a Heyer. Needless to say, the secondary characters/suspects were very entertaining despite being full-blown stereotypes of their roles. **4 stars out of 5**

October 18, 2017

The Nonesuch

By Georgette Heyer

I enjoyed this much more than I did when I read it in my youth. Then, I did not like the fact that Ancilla was a governess and as such a lower form of life in the community she lived in, despite the fact that she was so superior in “breeding”, intelligence, wit, and elegance. It was just so unfair! I also was not used to the “older” heroine (25?!) romance. Ancilla was just so-o-o-o-o-o very very mature, and not just in age. I think I also had a problem with the name “Waldo”.

Although I did enjoy their romance much more this time, I got more of a kick out of her charge, the spoiled uncontrollable beauty, Tiffany Wield. She just kept me on the edge of my seat whenever she appeared on the page. I suspect, like Lawrence, she was a bit dicked in the nob. I loved the gentle romance between her former swain, the thoroughly nice Julian, and the sweet, but high-character Patience Chartley. The scene in Leeds when she rescues the little ragamuffin from Tiffany’s rage was a riot. The “big misunderstanding” regarding Waldo’s “children” did not bother me as much this time. When Ancilla refused Waldo’s proposal, his reaction revealed the depth of his feelings for Ancilla. As for Ancilla, she needed a little shaking up, as I found her just a bit too even-tempered and sensible. I couldn’t help but think of Emma Thompson as Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility. Her silliness made her a bit more likable.
I found the ending too abrupt, and I don’t think Lawrence, who was partially redeemed in the last chapters, got sorted satisfactorily either. The narration by Eve Matheson was “bang up to the knocker”. There were many entertaining characters and she really captured even the most minor ones, to a T. **4 out of 5 stars**

April 1, 2018


By Georgette Heyer

“I daresay Freddy might not be a great hand at slaying dragons- but one has not the smallest need of a man who can kill dragons!”

*Spoilers*Absolutely delightful rendering of the incomparable Cotillion by Phyllida Nash. She does particularly well by Freddy. It would have been so tempting to exaggerate his tone and inflection, but she lets his character speak for itself. The reader is led to believe he is a “frippery” fellow at first, if he listens to his family and even Freddy’s own words about himself. But when he saves the day at Hugh’s Rectory, the reader alone, along with Kitty, is not surprised because he has been saving the day from the very beginning. When he walks in the door at the end, we are relieved because we know that now everything will be okay. When he concentrates on picking the piece of fluff off of his jacket in the midst of chaos and confusion, we hold our breath and are glad we are on Team Freddy and not Team Jack. Freddy is one of Heyer’s most brilliantly realized characters. **5 out of 5 stars**

June 2, 2018

Envious Casca

by Georgette Heyer

‘I always go to church on Christmas Day,’ replied Maud. ‘And on Sundays, too.’ ‘One had not realised that there were still people who did!’ said Roydon, with the air of one interested in the habits of aborigines. This was felt to be an observation in such bad taste that Mathilda at once offered to accompany Maud, and Stephen – although not going to these lengths – ranged himself on Maud’s side by telling the dramatist to shut up, and get on with his breakfast.

One of her very best mysteries and a Christmas one at that. It is a very clever locked-room murder. Clues to the how and who were there, particularly in the establishment of the alibi. Hemingway was right to figuratively kick himself for not suspecting the killer earlier. Of course, as I have read it several times previously, I knew who the murderer was, so I enjoyed seeing the setup and Heyer’s methods from that perspective. Most of the characters came from Heyer’s big bag of stock stereotypes, which she does so well. Honestly, I think every one of her “types” populate this novel. The two original characters were Joseph and his wife, Maud. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like either one of them. Enjoyed the humor and the little romance as well. I think the last paragraph is one of her best and funniest endings. I won’t include it as it would be a spoiler and wouldn’t make a ton of sense unless you have read the book. **4 out of 5 stars**

August 23, 2018

The Corinthian

By Georgette Heyer

What a delight Georgina Sutton’s reading of The Corinthian was! Because of her interpretation, I enjoyed this just as much as I did in my teens. There has been much silly speculation in some circles as to Sir Richard’s attraction and love for young boyish Penn, disguised, as she was, throughout the whole novel as his nephew. Somehow Sutton’s interpretation of Richard and Penn leaves no doubt as to the health of the attraction and love he develops towards his young “brat.” She gives Penn the tomboyish charm that Heyer sparked in my youthful imagination. Richard is so funny with his calm insouciance in the face of her exuberance and naivety. She even conveys a bit of his vulnerability along with his cool management of every threatening situation they get into on their adventure. All of the minor characters are distinct and so dead on. Cedric is hilarious in his affected accents, Lydia Daubenet’s father with his huffing and puffing is a hoot, Lady Luttrell conveys much needed sanity and common sense, and even the little maid is sweet with her humble shyness. The bow street runner, Beverly Brandon, and Jimmy Yarde are perfect. I’ve never listened to a bad narrator of Heyer’s works, but Georgina Sutton’s was “Top of the Trees”. I just wish there had been at least one more chapter and an epilogue. **5 stars out of 5**

March 10, 2019

False Colours

by Georgette Heyer

This has never been one of my top Georgette Heyer novels and still isn’t. there really weren’t any stand-out personalities in this one unless you count Sir Bonamy Ripple. Amabelle the mother was as frustrating as usual. I just find her extravagance and foolishness in money matters contemptible. She comes within a hair’s breadth of ruining her son’s lives while she loves them so much. I won’t rant any further about her. The two leads were likable and sensible but didn’t exactly sparkle on “the page.” And Phyllida Nash, who I think did such a great job with Cotillion, didn’t add anything to the characterizations with this one.

The one thing worth noting and was nice about this book is that the reader gets to see the couple’s relationship and interaction after they declare their love for each other. Heyer’s novels (I can’t think of an exception-Maybe These Old Shades?) end almost immediately after the first kiss. I’ll qualify my 2 1/2star reading by explaining that it is 2 1/2 stars for a Georgette Heyer novel. **2 1/2 stars out of 5 **

May 14, 2019

A Blunt Instrument

By Georgette Heyer

This is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve read this, so I knew “whodunnit” from the beginning. I can still appreciate the cleverness of the puzzle and enjoyed coming across the clues along the way. There was one really big one about in the middle. I listened to this one and loved Neville and Sally even more than when reading it. Neville is really one of a kind in the Heyer pantheon. I wish he had more interaction with “Ichabod” Glass. Ulli Birve did a fine job. It did get a little tedious, because Hawthorne and Hannasyde kept repeating and repeating the sequence of events and the time problem ad nauseum. If I had read it rather than listened to it, It would have been beyond tiresome. **3 stars out of 5**