Monday, December 13, 2010
Envious Casca: Review
There's no place like home for the holidays. And no place for a murder, either. Especially in Georgette Heyer's period mystery, Envious Casca. Uncle Joseph has convinced his curmudgeonly brother Nat Herriad to allow all the family and their guests to come home to Lexham Manor for a good, old-fashioned English Christmas. Nevermind that none of the relatives really get on with each other and that Nat would rather quarrel than raise a glass of good cheer. It's going to be jolly--at least until someone decides to stab dear old Nat in the back. In a locked room, no less. It isn't long before suspicion falls rather solidly upon the presumed heir and Nat's nephew, Stephen. But Inspector Hemingway from Scotland Yard will have to find a way for the murderer to have gotten out of the locked room before he can bring anyone to book.
This is another of Heyer's fine 1930s/40s mysteries. You have your cast of stock characters in the country house, but they are so well-drawn that she gives new life to each and every one. There are just enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing and plenty of Golden Age atmosphere to keep vintage mystery fans happy. This was a re-read for me (as I endeavor to read all of Heyer's mystery stories for the Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge), but even knowing the culprit ahead of time didn't dim my enthusiasm. Envious Casca is still a good solid read. Three stars out of five.