Thursday, September 22, 2011
Detection Unlimited: Review
In Georgette Heyer's Detection Unlimited we have more suspects and more detectives than we can shake a stick at. Sampson Warrenby is dead and just about everybody in Thornden has a motive and the opportunity to have done him in. He's found slumped on a seat under the oak tree in his garden....with a bullet through his head. Most of the suspects were at an afternoon tennis party and were wandering about the area on their way home when the the shot was heard. When the local police decide to bring in Scotland Yard, Chief Inspector Hemingway finds that he has more than the village policemen offering him assistance. The villagers each have their pet suspect and can't understand why Hemingway doesn't immediately arrest him...or her. Is the villain the dead man's niece--for an inheritance and to get rid of a controlling uncle? Or maybe it's the town's other solicitor--angry at losing clients and prestige? Then there's the new couple at the farm who seem to have a guilty secret. And what about the author who wants the starring role in a real live murder mystery? It doesn't help that Warrenby seemed to have had the nasty habit of finding out little tidbits about his neighbors and not quite blackmailing them with his knowledge.
This was the only Heyer mystery that I hadn't read previously (I'm currently rereading them all for a Georgette Heyer reading challenge). And it's another fine specimen of the vintage village cozy. All the usual suspects are on board--and we even have the suspicious foreigner to grab some of our attention. Plenty of humor. And Hemingway has his usual "flair" and a new sidekick. Inspector Grant has moved on to better things and we now have Inspector Harbottle--dour-faced but a definite Hemingway devotee. There were plenty of red herrings which managed to keep me guessing until the end, although I was torn between two suspects--the correct one and another. Four stars for a grand story by one of the grand ladies of vintage crime.