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Death in the Stocks (Inspector Hannasyde #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,621 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
A moonlit night. A sleeping village. And an unaccountable murder...

An English bobbie returning from night patrol finds a corpse in evening dress locked in the stocks on the village green. He identifies the body immediately. Andrew Vereker was not a well-loved man, and narrowing down the suspects is not going to be an easy job. The Vereker family are corrupt and eccentric -
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by Arrow (first published 1935)
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Feb 03, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first mystery featuring Inspector Hannasyde and is the first Georgette Heyer mystery that I have read. It begins with a very unusual murder – Mr Arnold Vereker, who has a weekend cottage in the country, is found stabbed to death with his body left propped in the stocks of Ashleigh Green.

As the story unfolds, we find that Mr Vereker was a wealthy man, who was disliked by his younger half sister and brother. Antonia was engaged to a man that Mr Vereker disapproved of; while her artist
3.5 stars

Arnold Vereker, a wealthy businessman, is found dead in the stocks in the village of Ashleigh Green, his weekend getaway, and no one much cares. His much younger half-sister Antonia, is the chief suspect, having spent the night alone in her brother's house unexpectedly and she was engaged to Arnold's employee, Rudolph Mesurier, whom Arnold loathed. If Tony didn't do it, surely her brother Kenneth, an eccentric artist did it. He claims he doesn't care about the money except that he's har
May 16, 2012 Dfordoom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Georgette Heyer is best remembered today as having been virtually the inventor of the Regency Romance genre but she also wrote a dozen or so detective novels. Her fourth detective novel was Death in the Stocks, published in 1935.

A man is found stabbed to death in the middle of the night, in the stocks in the village square. His name is Arnold Vereker. Superintendent Hannasyde will face a number of problems in solving this case, not the least of them being that everybody who knew Arnold Vereker h

Yes, well, it's fair to say that Georgette Heyer was not the world's best mystery writer and the plotting in this one is not particularly strong. (I say this because I guessed the culprit early in the piece. It was just a process of elimination, as there weren't that many suspects to choose from!) But I still enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this novel. Most of the characters are unlikeable, but they are quite funny. I loved their in-depth discussions about how they could have been the murd
Dec 10, 2015 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ch-15, read-nook
I liked it. First time reading this author, can't believe I had never heard of her even though she wrote in the 30's. As I read, I kept thinking it would have made a great black and white movie, in the syle of the My Man Godfrey, etc.
Feb 15, 2013 Abbey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of classic-style "cosy" mysteries
1935, #1 Inspector Hannasyde, London; nasty (wealthy) older brother who holds the purse strings in an odd family gets himself messily murdered whilst on a weekend get-away. Comfortable, if a bit bland, genteel mystery, well-crafted and still enjoyable although showing its age rather a lot.

The Vereker family is what we now-a-days call a "blended" one - the (deceased) patriarch had several wives - sequentially - and there are now four adult half-siblings, most of whom dislike each other extremely
Katherine Clark
Definitely the best of the bunch so far. I am now 1/3 through Heyer's oevre. OK, some interesting observations. This is the first in her Superintendent Hannasyde mysteries, yet he didn't solve the crime, an amateur did. I wonder if she was uncertain about whether to make this a series or not? Also, while we had a romance that ends in marriage at the end, as in all the other books, at least this time the two people knew each other. Finally, there were some really good chapters here. I mean in par ...more
Oct 10, 2010 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2010-reads
Oh dear, I'm now four books into Heyer's mystery novels, and I'm seeing a pattern of flippancy that is getting old. The characters in Death in the Stocks are too glib and sarcastic for my taste, and many of them behave in ways that are simply too unbelievable for me to swallow. Hey, I'm all for English eccentricity in small doses, but this is getting ridiculous...
This reminds me a little of Marsh's Surfeit of Lampreys, with the introduction of a family not only indulging in the brittle gaiety of the time, but added a level of eccentricity of their own - though in this case the eccentricity mainly involves being openly rude to their relatives and acquaintances.

The mystery is one of those where you can spot your murderer by considering main characters who no-one suspects of the murder (even though there's a logical motive for that person.

A reasonable story
Jan 30, 2015 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again I have no path forward in reviewing a new mystery writer but to compare her to Agatha Christie. I had read from others that they sometimes read Heyer and forgot that they weren't reading Christie. I'm not certain I can agree entirely, but it's easier to see the comparison here than with Sayers, Tey, or Rinehart. The narrative is almost completely focused on the crime, the cast of suspects is sizeable but closed, and the length is roughly that of a Christie.

The biggest difference comes
 Carol ♪ Blinded by the Light ♪ GR Background
This is the cover picture of the copy I read but it was a cheap edition - small font, closely spaced, only 174 pages. Through no fault of GH's, this made it quite a tiring read.

On to my review! This was my favourite of GH's mysteries when I first read it, & all these years later it still is. I probably wouldn't like Kenneth much in real life (in fact I probably wouldn't be able to stand him) but the dialogue between him & his sister as they argue that they could each of them have been th
Nov 15, 2014 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of GH's regencies and historicals, - and remembered with some affection the whodunnits which I hadn't read for years. So I got Death in the Stocks on Kindle, execting a fun read.

I pretty much hated it - or rather I hated almost every single character - except Hannasyde and I was disappointed in his lack of perspicacity .I expected much play on class and class attitudes and am familiar with them from the Regencies, but maybe because of the more modern setting , instead of amusing,
Abby Miller
May 06, 2010 Abby Miller rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Coley.
Slow start...I need to read this for book club, and a number of friends adore Georgette Heyer...but for me, I never could get past the first few pages....Wish me luck.

Finished! Finally...I still seem to be missing whatever it is that makes Ms. Heyer as beloved an author as she is... The mystery was so-so, and the characters I couldn't really connect with, and the one that I had just a modicum of sympathy for, turns out to be the perp...go figure.

Humor? I couldn't find it, but I couldn't find it
Laura Verret
Hats off to Georgette Heyer for this delightfully crafted, ingeniously populated murder mystery. It is the greatest compliment I can give her to say that I feel my life a cheerier thing for having met her Vereker clan. :)

This upon discovering that a mysterious unknown might have some involvement in the case.

"I object!" said Kenneth. "I won't have seedy strangers butting in on a family crime. It lowers the whole tone of the thing, which has, up to now, been highly artistic, and even precious." [p
Jun 01, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readin2013
Death in the Stocks may just be my favorite Georgette Heyer mystery so far. I really enjoyed Why Shoot A Butler, and, Envious Casca had its great moments. But. Death in the Stocks was so enjoyable throughout. Some murder mysteries take too long to introduce the corpse, that is NOT the case in Death in the Stocks! Readers get a chance to know all the suspects and work alongside the detectives in solving the mystery. Of course, not all the characters were lovely people that you'd want to spend tim ...more
Anna Huber
Mar 18, 2012 Anna Huber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Georgette Heyer - and enjoy reading her mysteries as well as her Regency romances and historicals. This, one of her mysteries, was a solid read. The characters were thoroughly interesting, even if they weren't always likeable, and their biting wit hilarious. I had figured out who the killer was by a quarter of the way through the book, but that did not take away from my enjoyment. I received just as much pleasure from reading about the characters and their antics as uncovering the murdere ...more
"But I don't like policemen. Some people feel the same about cats. Always know the instant one comes into the room, and begin to get creepy."

I think my expectations were set a little too high for this one. It's a pretty straightforward classic English mystery overly filled with Brit eccentrics. In fact, it seem there are only 2 characters intent on solving the murder.
I was a bit confused with the character emphasis -- this series is named for "Inspector Hannasyde" yet he seems to be a very minor
Mary Corso
Jul 06, 2015 Mary Corso rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I love Georgette Heyer, and have read this book at least 12 times. Just read it again. The "off-beat" characters in this book are some of the funniest in all of her mysteries. I always learn many new vocabulary words (especially in her regency books but also in her mysteries) with each reading and her character descriptions are worth the reread even though I obviously know the outcome of the mystery (think I've read each of her books several times). New words for today : supineness (knew supine, ...more
Apr 18, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How come cousins marry each other so often in Heyer books? Ok, he's handsome, smart, and charming. You've known him forever. Because you're related! Don't do it! Marry someone else's cousin!

Anyway, this was another fun mystery with more snarky and uncompromising characters. And, I figured our who did it before the detective! Yesss!
Apr 14, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved the opening line of this story. It was just past midnight, and the people who lived in the cottages that clustered around the triangular green had long since gone to bed and to sleep. A full moon sailed in a a sky the color of sapphires. You just knew something was going to happen. A man was found dead in that triangular green, his feet were put in old Medieval stocks.

The dead man had many enemies most of which were family. They were not sad that he was gone. Everyone had motive and no
Well, this was a bit more entertaining than Duplicate Death which I had deemed the more interesting of the 4 mysteries I had read so far. Now at #5, this has more interesting characters and dialogue, although I seem to be switching between Hannasyde and Hemingway as the Superintendent (formerly Hannasyde's Sergeant) in my book selection.

I can't say that the mystery was riveting but I liked the characters and would have been curious to see more of them or more developed, at least. The solution t
Mar 25, 2015 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the dead of the night, a man in an evening dress is found murdered, locked in the stocks on the village green. Unfortunately for Superintendent Hannasyde, the deceased is Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, especially his odd and unhelpful family members. The Verekers are as eccentric as they are corrupt, and it will take all Hannasyde's skill at detection to determine who's telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction. The question is: who in this family is c ...more
You don' t read Heyer for the literary or intellectual challenge. She is a lively, intelligent writer to enjoy....yes her books, including her detective novels are romances but her humour, her characters and her dialogue lifts them above the norm. While her Regency novels are her real forte, this was an enjoyable romp requiring quite a lot of disbelief). It is also dated ....dago! but then what would one expect. Read it in one sitting and you will give yourself an enjoyable couple of hours but d ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
"Death in the Stocks" is a historical cozy mystery set in 1930's England. (It was written as a contemporary mystery.)

Though a detective is involved, we mostly followed the lives of the prime suspects--an eccentric family. They were odd and sometimes thoughtless about other people's feelings, but they weren't trying to be cruel. They treated the crime as an intellectual game and logically (as a group) tried to figure out how various people with motives--including each other--could have pulled it
Dec 21, 2009 Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As P.C. Dickinson was riding his bicycle across the village green, he sees a man in the stocks. Thinking it is some drunken prank, he investigates only to find it is a dead man. When he calls the police station to report the death, he tells the sergeant he knows the identity of the dead man. It is Arnold Vereker, a man who is not well liked; in fact, some of his family admit to actually hating him.

And what a family Arnold leaves behind. The main suspects include Arnold's half brother Kenneth an
Sep 05, 2010 Song rated it liked it
A wealthy mine owner is found dead in a little village. It's a neat crime that leaves even Scotland Yard all at sea. When a man has had many enemies and no one seems to moan him nobody is a fit suspect. But then there is motive and detective Hannasyde has his hands full trying to prove a member of Vereker's family guilty.

It's a rather typical who-done-it mystery, with quite enough dust thrown, not only in the investigators' eyes but in the eyes of the reader as well. I thought the plot was quite
I thought this mystery was very different from the previous Heyer mystery (No Wind of Blame). I seemed to have enjoyed this one more as both Antonia and Kenneth were so quirky and eccentric they got me into fits of giggles because they were just so annoying to Hannasyde. However the plot still kept me guessing. They were eccentric and funny yet there’s an underlying almost sinister like quality that made you think: just because they’re joking about it doesn’t mean they didn’t really kill Arnold ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Georgette Heyer novel and my first impression is that Ms. Heyer's mysteries read very similarly to Agatha Christie's. And as a fan of Ms. Christie's stories, such a comparison is a compliment from this reader.

Ms. Heyer weaves an interesting and complex murder mystery, with a relatively small cast of characters, plenty of clues and, naturally, the obligatory red herring. The victim is presented as a non-pleasant sort of man, with an excess of girlfriends and with plenty of reaso
May 01, 2011 Shelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Murder Mystery dinner games, you go in and find that the majority of the characters - if not all of them - are either guilty of trying to kill the victim, or had a large enough motive to make them awfully suspicious.

In my first Georgette Heyer mystery, I couldn't help but draw similar conclusions. Each absurd family member and friend of Arnold Vereker, seems to have a not only a motive (all related to money, since they all spend much more than they make), but also the gumption to stab him in
Susan Ferguson
The first Inspector Hannasyde mystery. I went on a binge of Georgette Heyer's mysteries and decided to read them in order.
Inspector Hannasyde is called in when a body is found in the stocks in a village between London and his weekend house. But no car is found. The man's half-sister is found at his weekend house, having washed her skirt to get rid of the blood caused by her bull terrier getting in a fight. The local police take her into custody. She admits she was going down to "have it out with
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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 Hannasyde (4 books)
  • Behold, Here's Poison (Inspector Hannasyde, #2)
  • They Found Him Dead (Inspector Hannasyde, #3)
  • A Blunt Instrument (Inspector Hannasyde, #4)

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