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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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Nice. A beautiful example of giving the reader all the clues (well, almost all) - but anyone who put them all together (the how, if not the why) in advance of Inspector Hemingway is far more brilliant than I. Persons and personalities, extremely complex intertwining of motives and connections...and the doctor completely surprised me at the end, I'll have to read it again to see if there were clues to that. Several very annoying characters (especially Vicki - she may have been intended to be amusing, but she drove me nuts with her theatrics), several very nice ones - and the obvious HAE didn't happen, but several others did or will. Heyer does a beautiful balance of characters and mystery - the mystery rises out of the interactions of characters, the characters deal with the mystery in individually appropriate ways, and the solution makes perfect sense of all the twists that have been uncovered. Lovely. Now I want to read another Heyer - either a mystery or a romance. Anything she does is good. ( )
2 vote jjmcgaffey | Oct 22, 2013 |
When the insufferable Wally Carter is shot dead on the grounds of his wife's estate, Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard soon discovers that there is no shortage of suspects. Wally's wealthy and long-suffering wife Ermyntrude, upon whose largesse he had been living, had only just learned of his affair with a local girl. Ermyntrude's two "suitors" - the stern Robert Steele, who was in love with her; and the charming Prince Varasashvili, who was in love with her money - each wanted to be her next husband. Then there was Ermyntrude's temperamental daughter Vicki, who liked to play-act; sensible Mary Cliffe, Wally's ward and possible heir; and the outraged Percy Baker, brother to the girl Wally had "gotten into trouble." But which of them was the guilty party...?

Having read all but two of Georgette Heyer's historical novels, and all of her romances, I have long been meaning to pick up one of her mysteries. Sadly, No Wind of Blame was a rather disappointing first foray into Heyer's work in this genre. I could see that the reader was meant to find many of the characters - particularly the precocious Vicki - amusing, but somehow the Heyer magic just didn't seem to work here, and I found the characters unsympathetic and tiresome. I also thought that the narrative lacked suspense, not because I was able to guess the solution immediately, but because I simply couldn't dredge up any interest in the solution in the first place.

It's possible that my expectations were simply too high, and that Heyer's mysteries were bound to suffer, when compared to her brilliant romantic novels, or to the work of such masters of the country-house mystery as Agatha Christie. Either way, although it was mildly entertaining, I wouldn't recommend this title to anyone but Georgette Heyer completists. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 3, 2013 |
A buddy read with my friend Jemidar and worth closer to 3 1/2 stars.

The third last novel in my 2011 Heyer mysteries reading project, this is neither my favourite nor my least favourite of these novels.

I'll start with what I liked about it. As with all of Heyer's mysteries - and most of her other novels - this novel features seriously eccentric characters who engage in witty banter while doing strange things. If anything, the eccentricity is ramped up in this novel and I was kept laughing, which is no bad thing. Further, I actually didn't guess the culprit in advance. I should have and I probably would have if I hadn't entertained myself by deciding that one of the other characters was going to be the murderer because he wasn't an obvious suspect. Clearly, I should have explored the possibilities a bit more before committing myself. Finally, the "howdunnit" was ingenious and not readily guessable (although in relation to this, see below).

Now for the things I didn't like. There was an entirely unnecessary romantic moment tacked on to the last paragraph which didn't grow out of the narrative. And the "howdunnit", while ingenious, was possibly a little too ingenious for plausibility. Surely the murderer could have come up with a less complicated way of doing in the victim!

I wouldn't recommend this as a shining example of the Golden Age mystery genre. But, for someone dedicated to reading Heyer's entire oeuvre, or for someone dedicated to reading as many examples of 1930s mysteries as possible, it's not a bad way to while away a few hours.

It was also great fun to do as a buddy read. Thanks, Jemidar. ( )
  KimMR | Apr 2, 2013 |
No Wind of Blame, one of Georgette Heyer’s thrillers, was published in 1939 and features the usual accoutrements of the country-manor murder: an upper-class family simply seething with complicated relationships and eccentricities, whose family party is crashed by a competent detective from Scotland Yard who is less than respected by the local authorities. This particular title also boasts a money-hungry Russian (or rather, Georgian, excuse me!) prince, an angry “Bolshie,” and a dog that mysteriously does not bark.

The murder itself is a bit contrived (well, okay, more than a bit). The likelihood of such elaborate and complicated mechanics actually working to murder someone seems quite improbable, but we’re not here for that, right?

Where Heyer shines, as usual, is in her characters’ dialogue and relationships. Mary Cliffe is the ostensible heroine, as the story opens by her staid side, but her young relative Vicky soon steals the show. Mary is left bland and lackluster and sensible on the sidelines, for Vicky is an actress (or fancies herself one, anyways) and is always playing some dramatic part. One day she she is Sports Girl; another, Early Victorian, and so on. It would be exasperating in a real person, but in a literary creation it’s highly amusing.

Ermyntrude Carter is another brilliantly drawn character, a rather foolish woman whose hysterics and “woman’s instincts” make life a trial for Inspector Hemingway. And yet there is a kindness and humility about her; she’s hard not to like, even when she is being ridiculous. One is thankful that she does not fall into the clutches of Prince Alexis Varasashvili, the smooth-talking prince who would like nothing better than to take the fair Ermyntrude—and her fortune—to have and to hold forever.

The title is taken from the line “And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe” in Hamlet, when Claudius is plotting with Laertes to murder Hamlet and make it look like an accident. It doesn’t perfectly fit here, as there is no way this death looks like an accident, even superficially, but it’s certainly a catchy title. All in all, this is a predictable but fun mystery to be enjoyed for its wit and comedic merits more than anything else. ( )
4 vote wisewoman | Sep 2, 2012 |
Fun characters. ( )
  BonnieJune54 | Dec 10, 2011 |
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:15 -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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