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A Christmas Party

(Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #6)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  3,358 ratings  ·  395 reviews
'Tis the Season-for murder...

A colorful assortment of guests at a festive holiday house party discover there is a killer in their midst when their universally reviled host is found dead-in a room locked from the inside.

For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is complicated by the fact that every guest is hiding something-throwing all their testimony int
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published 1941)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  3,358 ratings  ·  395 reviews

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Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer was written in 1941.

Joseph wants to be have a holiday party and has invited his niece and nephew, and their current significant others, as well as his brother Nathan's business partner. Apparently old uncle "Nat" was not the holiday cheer type and was up and down with a painful malady, making him grumpier than usual. Having all these people under one roof proved not to be such a grand idea when Uncle Nat was murdered in his bed.

This is a classic "locked door" my
The Hook - ‘Tis the season!

The Line(s) - ”It was Joseph who had been inspired to organize the house-party that was looming over Nathaniel’s unwilling head this chill December. Joseph, having lived for so many years abroad, hankered wistfully after a real English Christmas. Nathaniel, regarding him with a contemptuous eye, said that a real English Christmas meant, in his experience, a series of quarrels between inimical person bound to on another only by the accident of relationship, and thrown t
"Damn it, he was in here with the door locked!" Stephen said. "He can't have been stabbed!"

I think Heyer wrote a story about people she hated in real life, relished and had a hell of a time making them (an exaggerated version) vapid, insipid, and whiney; but oh so highly quotable. This is second in the Inspector Hemingway series and god love the man for the testimonies and evidence he has to shift through to discover the killer. As a locked door mystery, it's pretty good. The cast of character
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read, and enjoyed, “No Wind of Blame,” the first Inspector Hemingway mystery, I was keen to read the second. “A Christmas Party,” is also known by the title, “Envious Casca,” and has a similar, light and humorous touch to it, as the first mystery did.

At Lexham Manor, Nathaniel Herriard lives with his brother, Joseph, and Joseph’s wife, Maud. Joseph has planned a family reunion for Christmas, although there is not really much goodwill to all men, or family members, emanating from Nathanie
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I read all of GH's mystery/suspense books (other than Footsteps in the Dark) many years ago. At the time my favourite was Death in the Stocks, but I have just read these two back to back & my new favourite is Envious Casca.

Before I start my review I'll just get two things out of the way. Many reviewers in many reviews of GH's books here have mentioned her fondness for recycling characters & it has never been more obvious than in comparing these two novels. Stephen is an even more unpleas
Jan 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, holidays
Heyer is usually funnier than this.

The clever young man is a stock character of Heyer's -- almost every mystery of hers has one, whether clownish, sarcastic, socially-inappropriate, or merely ill-behaved. Usually he is in love with the pleasant but not alluring young woman character who is clearly innocent of the crime. (view spoiler) In this case, Stephen is downright rude and pretty much an asshole
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delight! This country house, locked room mystery is a clever and savagely funny puzzle that is set during the Christmas season. How can you not enjoy a mystery that has a library book as one of the major clues to solving the murder? I'd definitely like to read more Inspector Hemingway stories by Georgette Heyer in the future.
Rating Clarification: 3.5 Stars

My final Heyer mystery, and while not a personal favorite like Why Shoot a Butler?, it was certainly up to par with almost all other Heyer whodunnits. This is a true "locked room" murder in every sense of the word, and while I figured out the "who" of the crime pretty early on, I never did figure out the "how" until the final reveal.

As usual with Heyer's stories, her cast of characters fulfill every "ic" I can think of: eccentric, acerbic, and sarcastic, and if her
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder at Christmas — hasn’t it crossed everyone’s mind? There may be even more motives in this family gathering than in your own, though. At the estate of crabby old Uncle Nathaniel, a disparate assortment of relatives and their even more bizarre significant others assemble to spend an awkward Christmas, made even more awkward by the unflagging cheerfulness of Uncle Matthew, who wants to put up tacky decorations and play parlor games. Naturally someone is murdered...but murdered without a weapo ...more

The second last in my 2011 project of reading all of Georgette Heyer's mysteries, this was a fun read. It's an old-fashioned mystery of the locked room kind, complete with an old house, cantankerous victim, eccentric suspects and plenty of red herrings.

Heyer is not, in my view, the most talented of British Golden Age mystery writers. To my mind, that accolade goes to Dorothy L. Sayers, although a number of other writers of the period also deserve high praise. That said, a Heyer mystery has its
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as her Regency books but quite enjoyable. I found it to be a bit drawn out and it ended very abruptly.
It had the most horrible set of characters I ever read in a book. Mathilda was the only one I had any liking for.
I only started reading her crime novels when I joined the GH group here on GR and I'm glad I did. It's a totally different style to her romances and I will read more of them.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
The second of Heyer’s Inspector Hemingway mysteries—this was one I was supposed to read last year for a ‘buddy read’ but only got down to now. This one is set in a classical country setting, in a manor house, Lexham Hall, owned by one Nathaniel Herriard, an ill-tempered old man, who shares his home with his brother Joseph and Joseph’s wife Maud. At Christmas Joseph wishes to have a traditional celebration and invites his nephew Stephen and niece Paula, besides a cousin Mathilda Clare, and Nathan ...more
A Holiday Whodunnit with a behind locked door country house party setting was a delicious prospect. I eagerly turned this audio version on and settled in for some enjoyment. It wasn't as sparkling as I expected in that it was draggy and some of the characters came across as annoying more than humorous many times, but still afforded me a good mystery. I figured out quickly enough who did it and why, but I was pleasantly surprised as to the how.

The jocular old uncle staying with his crotchety brot
Dec 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-ebooks
I'd say I'm of average intelligence (no comments on this please!), but I checked the percentage when I was fairly certain who the murderer was and it was only 22% (basically when the body was discovered). I then sat (bored and a little irritated) and read the remaining 78% - 'Why?' you may well ask. Well, firstly because it was actually Christmas time whilst I was reading it, and secondly I thought (hoped) 'perhaps there will be an ingenious twist at the end and I'll be wrong'. But I wasn't, so ...more
Ange H
Nov 14, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish/no review.

This was the worst party ever. I left early.
Sheri South
Definitely not Heyer's best, or even the best of the mysteries. Supposedly this is a Christmas book, but when all the characters except Uncle Joseph are just too, too sophisticated to do anything but sneer at the prospect of decorating a tree or putting up decorations, it loses whatever holiday atmosphere it might have had. Speaking of the characters, I understand that in a mystery, SOMEONE--preferably several someones--has to be capable of committing murder. But in this book, not one character ...more
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
Actually a brilliant murder mystery - I had no clue who the killer was! A star knocked off because I dislike the hero in the romance, who has few redeeming qualities.

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Nicole D.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
At the Christmas house party in his house(one he didn't want but his brother made him have)Nathaniel Herriard is found murdered stabbed in a locked room. Who could have done it? His business partner Mottisfont who he didn't see eye to eye with or maybe it was his ill-tempered nephew Stephen or could it be his niece the actress who wanted her uncle to give her money for a play or the playwright Roydon or the pretty little idiot engaged to Stephen. There is no shortage of people who could have mur ...more
Susan in NC
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
12/18: bumped up to 4 stars; yes, several brittle, unpleasant characters at this Christmas house party, but wickedly funny nonetheless, in typical witty Heyer fashion - it’s like Ab Fab meets Golden Age locked door murder mystery! Add in a very clever, historically inspired murder method, and you’ve got a fine, entertaining read, as far as I’m concerned.

2014 - One of the few Heyer mysteries I hadn't read, this was fun and I enjoyed the Christmas house party setting (despite the murder!) I have t
Julie  Durnell
I enjoyed this book, but it was hard going the first half-once I got past the interminable family squabbling, the sardonic grinning Stephen, and the quelling looks from butler Sturry is was very good. The ending makes the book worth the read for sure!
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: series
'Interesting!' said Inspector Hemingway. 'It sounds to me like a mess. I don't like the lay-out, I don't like the locality, and if I don't find a whole crowd of suspects, all telling a lot of silly lies for no reason at all, my instinct's all wrong, and that's all there is to it.'

'That's right,' said Hemingway cheerfully. 'And all the time I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the clue to the whole mystery has been under our noses from the outset. Probably something so simple that a child could have
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being fairly predictable and having unlikeable characters this is a good read.
A quick and undemanding read, though not one of Heyer's better novels. I'd worked out whodunnit and the method before the first detective showed up to investigate. In the absence of mystery, the dialogue and the characters had better be top-notch, and here they simply weren't.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is a classic locked-room murder mystery. But it's the incredibly annoying - yet very entertaining - cast/suspect list that made this a five star book for me.
Deviously deceiving characters depicted with acerbic wit. The tittle is perfect because it must be taken from Shakespeare's play Julius Cæsar. Mark Antony, in Act 3, scene 2, says "See what a rent the envious Casca made: Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd; And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away, Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it"

A locked door mystery with excellent clues. This is the first book I've read by Heyer with a woman of character. Heyer often projects her characters on
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't anticipating from the title that this would be one of her detective novels, since I've been working my way through her historical romances and the title sounded more like one of those.

The problem with this sort of detective novel is you have to establish a fairly large cast in order to have a victim and several suspects. Multiple people need to seem to be capable of murder or at least have some sort of motivation to get rid of the victim. And hopefully the reader won't be disappointed
Pavithra Manoharan
Well , disappointing read. I knew who had done it, the moment murder happens. So no point of calling it a "whodunnit". After that, I was just reading the book to see how the Inspector goes on :( and when would he catch up. Ah! If only JKR existed before, she would have given a tip or two about how to carefully construct plots, and throwing clues in proper places so that "mystery" SURVIVES till the end of the book. From now on, I plan to read only Heyer's regency novels. The character sketches we ...more
Jeff Howells
To me, at least, all Christmas crime novels have to measure up to Agatha Christie's 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas'. This novel isn't a bad attempt. It does have a superficial similarity (a rich old, cantankerous miser getting murdered being the most obvious) and is both a country house & a locked room mystery. It didn't take me that long to guess the murderer, although I couldn't figure out how it was done...(and it lacks the ingenuity of Christie's novel). If all the novels I read on December ...more
Wow! I am starting chapter 9 and I think this may be my 1st time reading a book in which I find all of the characters disagreeable. I mean, I don't like any of them. But the mystery is intriguing. I finally finished this story!! Those people got on my nerves! Like I've already mentioned, though, the mystery was definitely a facer.
This is one of the (relatively rare) murder mysteries where I clearly remember quite early in the read who is the murderer - which makes the reading process one of watching with mild admiration how clever a murderer that person is.

Character-wise, this is a remarkable collection of unlikeable people. Not a compulsively interesting story, but a readable one.
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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 nov

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)
  • A Blunt Instrument (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway, #4)
  • No Wind of Blame (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #5)
  • Duplicate Death (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #7)
  • Detection Unlimited (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #8)
“I don’t care! I’d rather walk all the way to London than stay here now!’ ‘It’s an engaging thought,’ said Stephen. ‘Orphan of the Storm.” 1 likes
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