Author: Georgette Heyer
Publication: Sourcebooks paperback, 2009 (originally published in 1936)
Setting: 1930s EnglandStuck in a Book and Karen from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings.
Description: Gregory Matthews is a tyrant who is disliked or feared by everyone in his household, which includes his sister Harriet, widowed sister-in-law Zoe, niece Stella, nephew Guy, and various servants. Mr. Matthews has quarreled with the doctor who lives next door and is engaged to Stella, although he tolerates the Rumbolds on the other side because Mr. Rumbold plays decent chess. When Mr. Matthews is found dead in his bed, another sister, Gertrude Lupton, demands a post-mortem, and by the time Inspector Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway arrive to investigate death by poison, it is clear everyone has a motive, including the doctor and Gregory’s primary heir, the annoying Randall Matthews, who says he was in London when the murder happened. By this time, the crime scene is long tidied up so it requires old-fashioned sleuthing to find the murderer.My Impression: Georgette Heyer is best known for her historical romances, of which I am an enormous fan, but her mysteries are uneven and I had not read this. In her previous book, Death in the Stocks (1935), she introduced the two detectives who feature in this book, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, as well as Giles Carrington, an attractive solicitor whose role in Behold, Here’s Poison is to read Gregory Matthews’ will to his disgruntled family and provide a sounding board to Hannasyde. This book is entertaining as all the relations are gleeful about revealing everyone else’s transgressions to the police and Heyer generously gives the reader many murderers with motives.
He walked forward, graceful and rather feline, and bent to kiss his aunt’s cheek. “My dear aunt! You look so nice in that hat.”I wonder if it entertained Georgette to create two such similar characters just a few months apart, one as a Georgian beau with a quizzing glass and a contemporary man about town who takes great pleasure in annoying all his relatives (no reason is given for his gratuitous rudeness but his relatives are annoying) or if she did not realize she had certain stock characters. Superintendent Hannasyde surprised me with the solution to the case, and I think I will check my shelves to see if I own the other mysteries in which he appears. Jane Aiken Hodge says the duo never took off like Hercule Poirot or Roderick Alleyn (well, obviously, although Heyer’s mysteries seem to have stayed in print) and she prefers Heyer’s mysteries with gentlemen sleuths.Source: Library. This is my tenth book for the Cloak and Dagger Challenge.
“Do you think so?” said Mrs. Lupton unresponsively.
“I’ve thought so for years,” he said gently, and passed on to Miss Matthews. “You must none of you bother to say how pleased you are to see me, “ he said. “I can read it in all your expressive faces.”