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No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer
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No Wind of Blame (1939)

by Georgette Heyer

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Wally Carter, his ward Mary, his wife Ermyntrude, and her daughter Vicky are an odd bunch. They are rich, thanks to Ermyntrude's first husband, but not very socially acceptable. That is, until Ermyntrude secures a Georgian Prince to stay for the weekend. During the visit, tempers flare and secrets come out--and at the end of it all, Wally Carter has been shot dead.
Whodunit?
Vicky, the flighty would-be actress who loves her mother?
Mary, Wally's sensible yet much put-upon ward?
Ermyntrude, Wally's wife, who has other suitors for her hand and has just discovered something ugly about Wally?
Hugh, Mary's friend who is sarcastic and clever enough to hide just about anything?
The Doctor, who Ermyntrude "did a good turn" in the past and has mysterious mood swings?
The Prince, who wants to marry Ermyntrude for her money?
Mr. Steel, who wants to marry Ermyntrude for herself?
Mr. White, who owes Wally a great deal of money?
Mr. Baker, who threatened Wally just the day before?

Or one of the many supporting characters? The novel shifts focus, from detailed description of the 1930s country house lifestyle, told from Mary's POV to a slightly wacky mystery, seen by Vicky, Hugh and a Scotland Yard Inspector. I think I was prejudiced against this by two factors: Dorothy Sayers did this ten times better, and I didn't like the romance that ends the book. That said, this is a nice little whodunit with some well-observed moments and one (Hugh) very likeable character.


( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Plenty of people wanted to murder the shiftless, good-for-nothing Wally Carter. His rich wife, Ermyntrude, was tired of giving him money that he only drank or gambled away. Ermyntrude’s daughter, Vicky, thought her mother would be happier with another man. The slick “Prince” Alexis Varasashvili, had his eye on Ermyntrude’s fortune. And several other characters had equally strong movies for wanting Wally out of the way. But when he actually is shot, it seems that no one could possibly have fired the gun without being immediately discovered. As suspicion rests on each of the characters in turn, it’s up to Scotland Yard’s Inspector Hemingway to discover the truth. Along the way, a sordid scandal comes to light, a crooked business deal is unearthed, and romances end and begin.

I’m glad I chose this book to kick off my 2016 reading, since it contains both an ingenious mystery plot and a wonderful assortment of classic Heyer characters. I loved the histrionic Ermyntrude, who is certainly vulgar but also extremely kind-hearted. And Vicky, who delights in playing a variety of different roles (such as Sports Girl and Dutiful Daughter), annoyed me at first, but eventually I began to enjoy her antics in spite of myself. The main characters are so well-drawn that the mystery is a bit sidelined, but I do think the solution is very clever. I guessed the murderer but not the “how” or the “why,” although Heyer plants a few clues throughout the novel. The romances are a bit undercooked, especially the one involving Wally’s ward, Mary Cliffe. I don’t know whether I’d consider it one of my favorite Heyer mysteries, but it was still a fun read and a great start to the year!
  christina_reads | Jan 2, 2016 |
Not my cup of tea ( )
  hemlokgang | Dec 15, 2015 |
Nothing can be said about the plot without giving away the solution. As usual, the characters are far more interesting than the plot, although the solution turns on a clue fairly given early in the book. This volume is distinguished by a double-romance which is as delightful as it is predictable.
Style: Heyer has a gift for caricature that leaves the reader feeling that her characters are more real than reality. Vicky is particularly theatrical but nonetheless charmingly authentic. ( )
  librisissimo | Nov 4, 2015 |
Wally is a good for nothing slob who lives off his rich wife Ermyntrude. Who may not be the brightest person but her good nature,generosity,and kindness make up for it and I love her character.Drama and all. Throw in a Prince who is a gold digger,Mr Steel who is madly in love with her,her daughter Vicki who takes the quote The Whole World's a Stage literally(she plays a new role depending on how she feels or what she wants to do that day,every day)and a few other colorful characters and you got yourself one heck of a fun story and that's not even counting the murder.

I love Mary's character. She is the common sense of the whole story. It's always nice to have a sensible character among all the others who have a flair of drama about them. Dr.Chester is also sensible but that is about it. Georgette Heyer's characters and writing style know no equal. Her books are always well written and entertaining. I don't read much mystery but I am always up for one of Heyer's. I never read any of her books without laughing and smiling though most of it.

I like that the murder doesn't happen intil 100 and some pages in. It gives you time to get to know the characters and study them to try and guess who did it. I thought the whodunnit was great and enjoyed trying to figure out who did it. I enjoyed seeing Hemingway again but I miss his partner Hannasyde and their banter together.

Over all not my favorite mystery of hers but still great. If you enjoy Heyer's writing or her other mysteries or just are looking for a good mystery I would recommend this book.

Rating:4 out of 5

Content Rating: PG

Keeper: Yes ( )
  thereadingrebel | Dec 30, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barnes, Michael TudorNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liebe, Poul IbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meunier, DeniseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rademacher, SusannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rammul, TiitCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanina, A.V.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
'The Prince is coming by the one-forty-five. That means he'll be here in time for tea. Well, I do call that nice!'
Quotations
'But you don't talk about God at dinner! Damme, it's not decent!'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Blurb from Panther paperback edition:
If you want to know how to shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge, without being near the murder weapon when it is fired, the answer lies in the masterly novel of detection. In No Wind of Blame Georgette Heyer once again shows that her amazing ingenuity is equal to the problem.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140221801X, Paperback)

The superlatively analytical Inspector Hemingway is confronted by a murder that seems impossible—no one was near the murder weapon at the time the shot was fired. Everyone on the scene seems to have a motive, not to mention the wherewithal to commit murder, and alibis that simply don't hold up. The inspector is sorely tried by a wide variety of suspects, including the neglected widow, the neighbor who's in love with her, her resentful daughter, and a patently phony Russian prince preying on the widow's emotional vulnerability and social aspirations. And then there's the blackmail plot that may—or may not—be at the heart of the case…

PRAISE FOR GEORGETTE HEYER:

"Our Georgette Heyer display of the Sourcebooks reprints has been a huge success, not only to those early fans like myself, but to many new readers who appreciate her style and wit."
Nancy Olson, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

"Reading Georgette Heyer is the next best thing to reading Jane Austen."
Publishers Weekly

"Wonderful characters, elegant, witty writing, perfect period detail, and rapturously romantic. Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to."
Katie Fforde

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:46 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Wally Carter's murder seems impossible--not one of the suspects was anywhere near the weapon at the time the shot was fired. Inspector Hemingway is confronted with a neglected widow, the neighbor who's in love with her, her resentful daughter, a patently phony Russian prince, and a case of blackmail that may--or may not--be at the heart of this most unusual case.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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