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April 2019: History > Duplicate Death - Georgette Heyer - 5 Stars (Set in Post War 2 London)

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message 1: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Ravenclaw (jemimaravenclaw) | 351 comments Duplicate Death (Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemingway #7) Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Duplicate Death' was published in 1951 and was one of Georgette Heyer's later mysteries. It is a follow up saga to the murder mystery 'They Found Him Dead', which was published 14 years earlier in
1937, and is accurately involving the same main characters from that story 14 years later on in their lives. The characters of Jim Kane, his wife Pat, his now adult step-brother Timothy Harte as well as the erudite but flippant promoted Chief Inspector Hemmingway, with off stage references to Kane and Harte's mother and Timothy's and Jim's father and step-father, respectively.

The story opens on an amusing and touching domestic scene in the Kane household, where we discover that Jim and Pat are the proud possessors of four children, two of whom are attending public boarding school. Poor Jim has lost a leg in his service during the second world war and there is a lovely indication of the contentment and mutual acceptance of the couple we first me in 'They Found Him Dead' in the spoken and unspoken communication between the two. There is mention of Timothy and concern about his making a stupid decision over some girl he has been hanging around, which would lead to his future unhappiness. We learn that he is now a lawyer and has served as a commando during the war. Jim is forcefully urged to travel to town to check in on his brother to find out what he is up to and to try and talk some sense into him, which he reluctantly agrees to do. There follows afterwards the most comical scene I have read for some time with the entrance of the nanny and general factotum, with the Kanes' two youngest children.

Meanwhile in London the plot is being set, introducing the main characters with whom the story is chiefly concerned with. There is centrally a rich and repellant widow, Mrs Haddington, ruthlessly carrying out her societal ambitions for her beautiful, self absorbed and highly ignorant daughter, Cynthia. Meanwhile her cynical, prickly, down on her luck secretary, Beulah Birtley, whom she seems to have some unknown hold over, has also attracted the attention and regard of Timothy Harte who was previously Cynthia's latest flame. We meet Timothy himself, as attractive a personality as ever, and a truly revolting and poisonous character, Dan Seaton-Carew. There is the flighty Lady Nest and her husband, Lord Poulton, a newly titled Lord Guisborough of strong communist persuasion, and finally an emotionally fragile young man about town, Sydney Butterwick. All are invited to attend a formal party, to be held in Mrs Haddington's impeccable home, for an evening playing duplicate bridge.

The plot for this murder mystery is exceptional and although the clues are there in plain sight, there are compelling arguments for suspecting a number of the characters involved, all with excellent motives, means and opportunity, making the unmasking of the true criminal a serious challenge. I enjoy the facetious style of Chief Inspector Hemmingway, although I know some readers do struggle with the frequent Gaelic comments made by his cohort, Inspector Grant. I personally found that they did not trouble me unduly and made for some humorous scenes of an extremely sarcastic nature, which I enjoy.

I listened to Ulli Birve's performance on Audible for this reread of what is truly, for me, a favourite of the Georgette Heyer murder mysteries. I thoroughly enjoyed her voice performance and felt that she gave full depth of emotion range and personality to all of the individual characters. Her pacing and narrative style is truly enjoyable to listen to.

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message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Wonderful review! This sounds like the perfect book to listen to on Audible.

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