Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Detection Unlimited” as Want to Read:
Detection Unlimited
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Detection Unlimited (Inspector Hemingway #4)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,488 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Slumped on a seat under an oak tree is old Sampson Warrenby, with a bullet through his brain. He is discovered by his niece Mavis, who is just one of ten people in the village in the running for chief suspect, having cause to dislike Warrenby intensely. Only Chief Inspector Hemingway can uncover which of the ten has turned hatred into murder.

An upstart solicitor is killed
Published January 1st 2001 by House of Stratus (first published 1953)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Detection Unlimited, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Detection Unlimited

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 13, 2010 Nell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A total wallbanger. For years people have been praising Georgette Heyer so I caved and tried this one. Wordy, pretentious and not fit to lace up Agatha Christies shoes.
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

Who would have wanted to murder solicitor Sampson Warrenby?

Apparently everyone in the village of Thornden.

There's no shortage of suspects to question when Scotland Yard sends one of their finest -- Chief Inspector Hemingway -- to ferret out means, motive and opportunity. You've got the village squire and his ailing wife, the victim's long suffering niece, a rival solicitor, a mysterious couple, a crime writer, a handsome foreigner, and a military officer whose wife
I enjoyed this mostly because I'm sort of wired to enjoy British Country Mysteries. I found this one just a little too wordy (lots of characters sitting around chatting with each other about the murder), with not much to like about many of the characters (though I did have a certain fondness for the lady who bred the Pekes). It took a long time for the story to go anywhere, but it was a good read for just sitting around the house with nothing else to do. I'm going to pick up the first in the ser ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Margaret rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
As the title implies there are many suspects for the murder of Sampson Warrenby, found dead under a tree in his garden with a bullet through his brain and many people all too ready to tell Inspector Hemingway who did it. [return][return]I was immediately drawn into a world gone by in a small village, with characters such as Mrs Midgeholme with her pack of Pekes, whose names all begin with U , Mr Drybeck, the old-fashioned solicitor, Warrenby s long-suffering niece, Mavis, the country squire and ...more
Feb 23, 2011 Kyra rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Enjoy her regency novels and can look past the dated-ness and figured the anit-semitism and occasional racist comments were the way they were in the 1700's.
And I'm sure England was pretty homogenous in the early 60's - but I was still annoyed by the contant Pole-bashing by all the characters and the insistance on demonizing foreigners (even if she was trying to make a point about it).
But the final straw is after meandering about with all the suspects and all their theories, there is NO resolutio
Apr 14, 2011 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
Humorous, great characterization, witty detective--almost perfect! I do think she made it a little too clear that there was going to be a murder on the day of the tennis matches because of the detail with which she described the location and everyone's movements. Other than that, I really enjoyed this "English countryside" murder mystery. Besides the cunning plot, I appreciated the allusions to the post-WWII situation: ration cards, sons lost, other sons reporting for military service, and the c ...more

First published in 1953, this was the last of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries and the last in my project to read them all. Written in order to pay a tax bill (if I remember correctly from Jennifer Kloester’s excellent biography, Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller) the novel has a cast of quirky characters and is full of Heyer's witty dialogue. The plot – a reasonably standard whodunit with a range of possible culprits – is not exactly a page turner but was engaging enough to retain my intere
Sep 22, 2011 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Miriam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, reread, kindle
I had read this before but remembered very little about it, so it obviously didn't make much of an impression on me the first time. Like with several of her other mystery stories, the apprehension of the murderer pretty much takes place offstage, which is an odd choice. Like some other reviewers, I found the xenophobia pretty off-putting. I'm beginning to wonder if there was a writer during the so-called golden age of British mystery novels that wasn't a bigot, because so far I haven't found one ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
More like Detection Extremely Limited.
Jun 08, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-books
Detection Unlimited was the last of Heyer's mysteries. So far, it's actually the only one I've read because my mother happened to have her original copy and passed it along to me. As I learned in The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge, her husband (who left his career as a mining engineer to become a barrister) actually helped her with writing her mysteries, making sure that she left appropriate clues that would give the reader a fighting chance to solve the mystery.

As with her
Gina Dalfonzo
The good: The actual mystery was well done, and a pretty effective change from Heyer's usual formula (though to say too much about that would give the whole thing away).

The bad: I hate it when a writer feels compelled to keep pointing out how clever and wonderful her detective is. Especially when this supposed wonderfulness gives the detective a license to go around talking down to people. What I think was supposed to pass for camaraderie between Hemingway and Harbottle didn't come off well at a
May 17, 2013 meeners rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
inspector hemingway takes center stage in this one - unfortunately! heyer mysteries are always best when they forget they are actually supposed to be mysteries.

wasn't so impressed with abe kobo's the ruined map (which is a surrealist or metaphysical take on detective fiction) when i first read it but now am inclined to think it rather brilliant. the tedium of that book is at least deliberate, and ostentatiously mundane - like with the dadaists, who took ordinary things and put them in extraordi
May 23, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
I gather I'm reading this somewhat out of order, in that there are several other books featuring the same detective and this is the last of them (and the last of Georgette Heyer's mysteries as a whole, I believe?). I blame the fact that they're not numbered in any way. Not that I think it much mattered: Chief Inspector Hemingway couldn't really win my heart, given that my fictional detective sweetie is always going to be Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter. But he was fun enough to spend some time wit ...more
Jun 25, 2013 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
"Detection Unlimited" is a humorous historical mystery set in England (though it was a contemporary when written in 1953). The story is full of quirky but generally likable characters. Chief Inspector Hemingway is clever and has a sense of humor, but the story also follows the speculations of the village folk about the murder.

The mystery was clue-based. I was pretty certain of whodunit from the beginning and turned out to be correct, yet the answer wasn't as obvious as I'm making it sound. It co
Sheryl Tribble
I liked this better than the last one. May be that I was more in the mood for it, may be it's a better book, may be I prefer the characters in this one, may be I like stories about an English village better than stories about a social climber.

The mystery itself kept me guessing. I caught a couple of clues long before Hemingway, and one of them should have told me immediately who the perpetrator was, but I doubted that conclusion because to me it didn't fit the author's usual pattern! Ooops.

I lik
 Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛
Sadly this is the last detective story that GH wrote.

Hemingway (now a Chief Inspector) sparkles throughout & this book worth reading for his dialogue alone.

I have one leg longer than the other myself & I was wondering why Gavin simply didn't wear a lift in his shoe? Surely they would have been available in the 50s?

But a minor quibble for a very enjoyable book.
A pretty nice, solid mystery, with lots of non-existent alibis and key physical clues. Its one weakness, I felt, was that with such a large cast of characters, Heyer didn't spend enough time developing them all; there were several that I would have liked to see more of or have had tied into the plot more. The book ends abruptly right after the arrest of the culprit, so we don't even get to see the reactions of everyone else in the village to the news. But definitely a satisfying whodunit to curl ...more
Tami (synchro from BL)
Actually a little boring... It felt like forever until it was concluded.
Feb 12, 2015 Anwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last Heyer mystery written and, in my opinion, the cleverest. Set in the changing world following the Second World War, the disillusionment inherently felt in the slow erosion of the class structure is made clear, and the whole book is permeated by a sense of gentle melancholy. In a sense, this is a lament to times gone by, and the thrusting character of the victim who, it is made clear, was not of the county but needed to be shown how to behave, epitomizes the new world order to come. Inspe ...more
Apr 26, 2015 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2015 Annette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone has secrets. This small English village is filled with people with secrets. One of those secrets gets a man killed.

Inspector Hemingway is called in from Scotland Yard because the people involved in this murder are from the upper classes and they make it harder to get questions answered.

The gentleman who was murdered definitely needed to be killed. The number of people who had a motive for murder is large. And everyone involved is playing detective. There are as many theories given to In
May 03, 2016 Melia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical, drama
No one in the small English village of Thornby (I think that was the name) is sorry when Simon Warrenby is shot in his garden, and when Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard comes to investigate, he finds himself overflowing with suspects--as well as with locals trying to solve the mystery first. Thaddeus Drybeck was a lawyer like Warrenby, and Warrenby was trying to put him out of business. Warrenby's downtrodden niece and housekeeper Mavis stood to inherit--plus maybe get to marry her Polish bo ...more
When I picked this book up, I was expecting short stories for some reason, perhaps the title, and was pleasantly pleased to find a complete book. The only problem was that I didn't want the murderer to be any of the characters in the book, unless it was not that character's first murder. Even then I couldn't find anyone to dislike enough to pin it on him or her while I did dislike the murdered person enough to figure he deserved to be murdered. A study of people and what makes them tick makes Ms ...more
Pamela Shropshire
May 15, 2016 Pamela Shropshire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this one, now-Chief Inspector Hemingway is assisted by Inspector Harbottle. I like Sandy Grant and his Hemingway-annoying Gaelic much better. His superiors all revere him so much that he needs taken down a peg in a joking way and Grant provides the perfect irritant to Hemingway's superiority.

Mr. Warrenby, a solicitor that was generally disliked by the entire village, is found shot through the temple by his niece upon her return home from a garden party. She actually heard what she supposes to
While I reread this I kept thinking it would have been nice to keep a list of suspects, a timetable of their movements, and to create a map of the town where the murder took place. However, as I was also taking care of two small boys, I was satisfied with just enjoying reading it. My point is that Heyer's mysteries contain all the details you need to solve them, and at the same time she pulls you in with her likable characters and quaint English settings. Adding a bit of romance never hurts.
I felt like quitting this book by the time I had finished 50 pages. It was just so dull it wasn't until I had read over half the book that I got really interested.
Whistlers Mom
Sep 27, 2016 Whistlers Mom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Heyer at her very best - combining mystery, great characters, and shrewd social commentary.

Ordinarily if an author has written books over a period of several decades, I like the earlier ones best. However, this is the last of Heyer's dozen "thrillers" and it's one of my favorites. In some ways, it follows her set pattern - an unpleasant victim and lots of well-bred suspects. Good old Inspector Hemingway is at his eccentric best, ably assisted by Sergeant Harbottle - who suffers and not a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • When in Rome (Roderick Alleyn, #26)
  • The Listening Eye (Miss Silver, #28)
  • The Singing Sands (Inspector Alan Grant, #6)
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Death at the Opera (Mrs. Bradley, #5)
  • The Fashion in Shrouds (Albert Campion Mystery #10)
  • Georgette Heyer
  • Clouds of Witness (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, #2)
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Hemingway (4 books)
  • No Wind of Blame (Inspector Hemingway Mystery #1)
  • Envious Casca (Inspector Hemingway Mystery #2)
  • Duplicate Death (Inspector Hemingway Mystery #3)

Share This Book