Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Crime & Beyond Book Club Reads A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

The Denver based Crime & Beyond book club rounds out its year with a holiday read by Georgette Heyer.

We like to read one of the classics in book club in the month of December, and to have one set around Christmas is a bonus. Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie is a great choice, but since we read that a few years back we had to get more creative. Georgette Heyer is known for her Regency romances, but she also wrote 12 detective novels during her long career. We chose A Christmas Party—which was originally published under the name Envious Casca—for our December read.

The book hits two of my favorite things: murder at an English country manor and a locked room murder. Add to that the falling snow and Christmas season and you can’t go wrong. In the book, a group of guests are spending the holiday season at Lexham Manor owned by Nathanial Herriard. When Nat is found murdered in his locked bedroom, Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard in called in to investigate. The suspects include Nat’s brother Joseph and his wife Maud, nephew Stephen and niece Paula, a cousin, a business partner, a producer of plays, and miscellaneous staff. Most of the guests wanted Nat’s money or charity, and clearly someone wanted him dead.

The majority of the club liked the book and a few of us loved it. It had great character development, especially the ones we were meant to despise. The 1940s really appealed to us, and where many authors write historical mysteries set in that era, this book was actually written in 1941. Readers have to adapt to the prose of the time and learn to enjoy not only the writing style, but the different vocabulary that was popular. There was a lot of humor in the book and although many of us guessed whodunit, none of us guessed the how.

1 comment:

  1. I love Georgette Heyer , and the Golden Age of mystery. I have a very old and worn copy of this book under the original name of Envious Casca. I should get that out and re-read it this year. I just finished the Charlotte MacLeod Rest ye Merry, the Peter Shandy mystery. I love that one too! There's a lot to love this time of year when it comes to mysteries. :-)