Sunday, April 7, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence my review.

Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer is the next re-release of a Heyer historical mystery by Sourcebooks. It follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the Kane family, introduced in They Found Him Dead, as well as the ongoing career of Inspector Hemingway.

It is fourteen years later. Timothy Harte, the too-curious, gore-loving young stepbrother of Jim Kane, the previous protagonist, is now grown up and engaged to be married. But his bride-to-be does not meet with his mother’s approval. Beulah Birtley has a secret past and no family to speak of. She works as a secretary/girl Friday for a social climbing newcomer, Mrs. Haddington. Mrs. Haddington has brought her strikingly beautiful daughter Cynthia to London to catch a wealthy, preferably titled gentleman. She has Timothy in her sights.

Things may have gone smoothly for Timothy and Beulah despite family disapproval and Mrs. Haddington’s scheming if an old friend of Mrs. Haddington’s (and possible new friend of Cynthia’s), Mr. Dan Seaton-Carew, had not been murdered at a duplicate bridge card party thrown by Mrs. Haddington.

The local police are quickly stumped and bring in Chief Inspector Hemingway, who is surprised and delighted to be reunited with Jim Kane and Timothy Harte. He is less delighted to find that Timothy’s fiancee is one of the primary suspects. He has encountered Beulah before, in a professional capacity.

There were numerous people at the party and several had opportunity to murder Seaton-Carew. A few even had motive, as Hemingway discovers. But it’s almost impossible to fit all the clues together. And, just when he thinks they may have it figured out, the person they believe to be the murderer is killed in exactly the same way.

Heyer’s mysteries are entertaining brain teasers, complete with wry humor and sweet romance, but she belonged to a different time. The novel is dated in some of its language and prejudices, so be prepared.