Wednesday, the 17th of April, and time again for Shelf Control. Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and is about celebrating the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR and write a post about it, linking back to Lisa’s page. Do share your links with me as well as I’d love to check out your picks as well.
As April 2019 is my month for reading 1930s books, I’ve been trying to include 1930s publications or books set in that period in my other posts as well, including Shelf Control. So, this week to I have another 1930s pick, and another mystery (the first, two weeks ago was a British Library Crime Classic (here)), Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer. Death in the Stocks was first published in 1935.
This is the first in Heyer’s series of mysteries featuring Superintendent Hannasyde, described on Goodreads as “a perspicacious police superintendent for Scotland Yard”. He appears in four books (Death in the Stocks, Behold! Here’s Poison, They Found Him Dead, and A Blunt Instrument), and the series continues with his junior officer, Inspector Hemmingway, who appears in a further four books.
In this one, an English bobbie on his way back from patrol finds a body in evening dress, where else but in the stocks of the village green. The victim is Andrew Vereker, a not-very-well liked man, and in whose family there are several people with a motive to kill him. The family are corrupt, eccentric, and in no way cooperative. So of course, Hannasyde must investigate and identify a killer “so cunning that even his consummate powers of detection are tested to their limits…”.
Georgette Heyer, English writer of romances and detective fiction, was born in Wimbledon in 1902, and named after her father George Heyer. At seventeen, she began a serial story to entertain her brother who was ill, which her father enjoyed so much that he asked her to prepare it for publication and found an agent. This was The Black Moth. She went on to write numerous historical romances (particularly Regency romances), and other historical fiction, mysteries, short stories, and also a couple of essays.
I’ve read a few of her romances which were enjoyable, and also a couple of books featuring Inspector Hemmingway which I very much enjoyed. The mysteries, even when I could figure out the murderer, were enjoyable reads and what I especially liked about them is the humorous tone in which they are written, and the somewhat eccentric characters the Inspector encounters in each of his cases. (Incidentally, another of her mysteries, Penhallow, is an excellent character study, keeping one completely engrossed even when one knows whodunit.) So I am hoping that this first part of this series will have these elements too, and am looking forward to reading it.
Have you read this one or any of Heyer’s mysteries? Did you enjoy them or do you prefer her romances (if you’ve read those)? Looking forward to reading your thoughts!
All the information on the book and on Heyer is from Goodreads, and Wikipedia as always!