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A Blunt Instrument

(Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #4)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,797 ratings  ·  277 reviews
Who would kill the perfect gentleman?

When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well liked and respected, so who would have a motive for killing him? Inspectors of Scotland Yard felt it was an unlikely crime for the London suburbs: a perfectly respectable chap at home with his head bashed in. It seems the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2006 by arrow books (first published January 1st 1938)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  2,797 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
2.75 stars for this tedious Georgette Heyer mystery, set in England in the 1930s. (I've only read a couple of Heyer's contemporary mysteries, but I think it's safe to say I prefer her historical romance/comedy of manners novels.)

Ernest Fletcher, a wealthy, suave individual, has been bludgeoned to death in his study. A policeman, PC Glass, sees his body at 10:05 pm. Other individuals saw Fletcher alive at 10 pm. Who killed Fletcher in that 5 minute period, and how? The eponymous blunt instrument
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 to be precise

Comparing to her other mysteries (Why Shoot a Butler?, They Found Him Dead, No Wind of Blame and Penhallow), this one was the least favorite. It has a bit of a thrill and twist. However, you can guess who is the culprit and the motive after finishing two-thirds of the story. I mean it was clear to the point that I doubted it and thought it was a narrative trick but it wasn't. I don't know, maybe that was her way of misleading the reader, making the murderer too obvious to be
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Normally I'm all in favour of the retro paperback covers but this one A Blunt Instrument (Inspector Hannasyde, #4) by Georgette Heyer is hideous.

While there is a lot to like about this book, it does have a few flaws. Any time my favourite Watson (Hemingway) came on to the page the whole book sparkled with life & energy & GH gave him some of the books wittiest lines. The remaining funny lines went to Neville & I found his & Hemingway's exchanges with the gloomily religious Corporal Glass hilarious.

But Helen is one of the most selfish,
Dana-Adriana B.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
It is an nice English cozy mystery where almost all the characters are suspects. It is the forth from Inspectors Hannayside serie. I will continue with the other stories.
Thank you Netgalley for this book.
Sep 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2010-reads

What a lark! A Blunt Instrument has to be one of the most droll and entertaining of Heyer's mysteries. I loved it from beginning to end, and figured out whodunnit almost immediately. Ordinarily, this would make me think less of Heyer's writing abilities, but in this case, her "hiding" the murderer "in plain sight" actually causes the reader to second guess themselves throughout the 309 hilarious pages.

Entertaining, funny and filled with period charm and cant-speak, A Blunt
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful cozy mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie. It's not really surprising, but due to Heyer's wonderful writing it provides hours of good fun, filled with her trademark bickering and interesting characters. A nice, comfortable read, perfect if you're looking for a good old-fashioned mystery!

*I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
I came to the work of Georgette Heyer rather recently and was taken by her sparkling and fun regency romances, but I pursued her books into other historical eras and, mostly lately, into other genres such as her murder mysteries. I find that they have the same sparkling dialogue and touch of madcap humor that her regencies possess which is a further delight.

Most of her mysteries take place post-WWI at an English country house and feature either Superintendent Hannasyde or Hemingway as the
Another Heyer Mystery completed!

In this one the police forces tackle the strange puzzle of the "Perfect Gentleman" who has been murdered in a most messy way possible, in less than five minutes. Not only that, they cannot find the implement used. So many people could have done it and yet, no one can picture any of them actually putting their hands to the task.

The case becomes further muddled by someone not telling the truth by just a few details.. leaving everyone involved on eggshells. Everyone
Pamela Shropshire
This book is classic Heyer - madcap characters, clever plot and hilariously droll dialogue.

The problem with solving this murder is that, as Sergeant Hemingway remarks more than once, if all the witnesses are telling the truth, then there can't have been a murder. And yet there is the body of Ernest Fletcher with a bashed in head, so clearly there has been a murder.

So obviously that means someone is lying. And yet, all are, in fact, telling the truth! Of course, the truth of the matter will dawn
It flickers guiltily through my conscience that if any other person had written this book, I would have given it 3 stars. But it is Heyer and I delight in anything she writes like a doting parent delights in her children's drawings. Even the weaker ones. So you'll just have to accept this as a disclaimer.
The mystery of A Blunt Instrument was sadly predictable and often involves people sitting around discussing clues that have already been hashed out ad nauseam. There are some definite tones of
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Richard
Recommended to Anna by: series
Reading this Heyer mystery was to be transported into one of those fun 30's-era mystery movies replete with a cast of quirky characters speaking rapid fire dialogue, with the shadow of guilt passing from one suspect to another. Filled with some perceptive and funny lines, this is the best of the Inspector Hannasyde stories.
In this mystery, the amateurs do not take over the investigation but serve as suspects who continue to generate red herrings. They include Neville, the murdered man's nephew
P.C. Ichabod Glass discovers the body of the wealthy Ernest Fletcher lying over his desk with his head bashed in with a blunt instrument. Who did it, when, what/where is the murder weapon are the questions Inspector Hannasyde must answer. In order to do his job he has to put up with Ichabod's moralizing and a bunch of suspects who aren't telling the truth. Was it the heir in need of money? A lovely lady who wanted her IOU's back or her husband seeking revenge? What about her sister, a crime ...more
This book is one of those "skip to the good bits" stories. The mystery itself drags a little, as every possible suspect is eliminated until we finally reach a 'nose on your face' solution. And the reader cannot help but share everyone else's exasperation with Helen and John, whose only value to the story is watching the other characters tell them just how idiotic they are.

But Sally and Neville are 1000% gold.

Sally is near-unflappable, and splendid in so many ways. Neville is hilarious. I'm sure
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have to say I really, really enjoyed this book. I thought it went along smoothly and was an easy read. I love the characters she created. Hannasyde and Hemmingway were a great team. They played off each other very well. Glass was a pain alright when he kept on with his scriptures and I did get a bit tired of him and his spouting all the time. About half way through I guessed it might be Glass but still wasn't sure until the end.
A lot of people didn't like Helen but to me she was a kind of
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
after rereading in 2016 Maybe this is really only 3½ stars. I did enjoy Neville Fletcher & Sally Drew and of course Constable Glass! Unimportant but annoying is the fact that the picture on the cover of this 2006 Arrow edition not only had nothing to do with the murder but doesn't even represent the people in this book!!

I recalled the solution to this one from the beginning of my reread and (view spoiler)
The beginning of the book and the title rather give away whodunnit, but the whole point of a Heyer novel is simply to be frothy confection of banter and characters who run the gamut from "fairly implausible" to "highly improbable." In other words, excellent to read when you're jet-lagged and awake at 4a.m.
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A bit too easy to solve (and this is someone who hardly tries, especially with mysteries that hinge on tight timing), but fun and humorous. Not so much of the underlying social nastiness that Heyer's contemporary novels often reflect.
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
One of the best instalments in this series so far.

There were some truly superb characters - by which I mean mostly PC Glass and Neville Fletcher. The mystery was also very good for once. I just wish there'd been more romance!

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Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2013booksread
I got this for $1 in a Kindle sale because I'd never read one of Heyer's mysteries and I like Golden Age mysteries. And it was decent, although the detective has pretty much no personality at all.

And the worst part was that I found the solution of the mystery completely obvious from the very beginning. It is meant to be a mystery that is totally impossible to have been committed until the big reveal that makes everything possible, but I saw that possibility at once. So it wasn't too much fun to
Sep 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Two good points: The Neville character was amusing in an over-the-top British fop/airhead kind of way, and it took some work (or a photographic memory) to get all those bits of Scripture into Constable Glass' dialogue. But the rest of it--ugh. The repetition of the facts of the case, the lack of character development, the scarcity of narrative--ugh. Most of the book is dialogue, but a lot of it is dialogue as if lifted straight from real life with all the boring, repetitive bits left in. It was ...more
Heyer lacks the detachment necessary for a successful mystery story. When she talks about a character, her attitude is pathetically transparent; in this one, I detected the criminal and the love interest at once, and watching the detectives' meanderings felt painfully boring.
Neville is fun, though, and snatches the extra star.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ernest Fletcher has been murdered. This makes no sense, because he was such a wonderful man. At least that is what his sister says to the police. Ernest's household also contains his nephew Neville. Neville is a young man who apparently has no reason to exist, but he enjoys every minute of his existence.

After the police begin to look into things, they find that there may have been many people who would have wanted Ernie to be dead. Some of them are nearby Helen, her husband John and her sister
The novel starts with the murder and brightly introduces all the characters in their own distinct voices, so strongly that the work might almost be a Noel Coward play. The victim, inevitably, turns out to be less than the perfect gentleman he appears on the surface leading to a distinct indifference to his death amongst his family and many avenues to explore for suspects. Heyer even has a little fun of her own by making one character a writer of detective fiction who examines the clues for what ...more
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-2019
This is the 3rd or 4th time I've read this, so I knew "whodunnit" from the beginning. I can still appreciate the cleverness of the puzzle and enjoyed coming across the clues along the way. There was one really big one about in the middle. I listened to this one and loved Neville and Sally even more than when reading it. Neville is really one of a kind in the Heyer pantheon. I wish he had more interaction with "Ichabod" Glass. Ulli Birve did a fine job. It did get a little tedious, because ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like the constant action and the characters.
Susan in NC
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
6/20/2010: 4 stars; I tried this Heyer last year and couldn't get into it, but after starting with her first mystery and reading them in order, I've gotten a real taste for her style and am hooked! I actually read this one a couple months ago, but I remember well her characters and the humorous dialogue - her trademarks! The mystery for me is often secondary with my favorite Golden Age mystery writers; it's the atmosphere and characters I relish, and with Heyer especially, her sharp humor and ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, mystery
A rich man is found dead by a blow to the head, but the murder weapon can't be found and thanks to the testimony of number of witnesses, the time in which he could have been murdered is only a few minutes. The investigation is pretty rambly, and is usual with Heyer's mysteries, I knew whodunnit and how before the detectives. I had no patience with the Norths (pretty but dramatic Helen and her stoic husband, each thinking the worst of each other), and even though none of the other characters did ...more
Susan Ferguson
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Read several times in the past. Scenes have been recurring to me this past week, so I decided I needed to read it again. Always a fun, good read.
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do enjoy Georgette Heyer's mystery novels. They are of a different time, but there is something that is still so very satisfying when you read them. Like many books of this period, there is a small cast of characters, all of whom potentially have a motive for doing away with the murder victim. Part of the fun is then trying to work out 'who-done-it'.
This particular story was quite ingenious, I did actually guess who the murderer was, but had decided that I must be wrong and barking up the
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well-liked and respected until Superintendent Hannasyde who, with consummate skill, begins to uncover the complexities of Fletcher's life & it seems the real Fletcher was far from the gentleman he pretended to be. There is, in fact, no shortage of people who wanted him dead.
Then, a second murder is committed, with striking similarities to the first, giving a grotesque twist to a very
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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. Rougier later became a barrister and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance

Other books in the series

Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway (8 books)
  • Death in the Stocks (Inspectors Hannasyde and Hemingway #1)
  • Behold, Here's Poison (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #2)
  • They Found Him Dead (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway, #3)
  • No Wind of Blame (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #5)
  • Envious Casca (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #6)
  • Duplicate Death (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #7)
  • Detection Unlimited (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #8)

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