Review published on December 15, 2015.
Eight Maids a-Mourning
It’s a case of murder most foul at Lexham Manor when the Christmas house party is interrupted by the miserly owner of the estate, Nathaniel Herriard, being found stabbed to death. For Inspector Hemingway, solving the crime is complicated as much by the surfeit of suspects as by the fact that the murder occurred within a locked room.
Although Georgette Heyer is perhaps best known for her Regency romances, A Christmas Party (previously published as Envious Casca) is an intricately plotted and extremely well-written mystery novel. Heyer utilises many of the stereotypes of the classic country house mystery, but she does so with her signature wit and flair for characterisation. The murder itself is seemingly impossible, since no one could have gotten to Herriard to stab him after all, and so solving it (or having the answer presented to you at the end of the book) is a real joy. Due to the subtle sprinkling of clues and the intriguing dialogue, A Christmas Party is just the sort of clever mystery to leave readers screaming “Of course!” when the killer is finally unmasked, and the “how” of the murder is particularly ingenious.
A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer
Arrow pbk Nov 2015
I’M A WRITER…and I hate having my photo taken, by T.R. Richmond