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A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer

A Blunt Instrument (1938)

by Georgette Heyer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspectors Hannasyde and Hemingway (4)

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7202520,242 (3.6)58
When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified- Ernest was well-liked and respected, so who would have a motive for killing him?Enter Superintendent Hannasyde who, with consummate skill, begins to uncover the complexities of Fletcher's life. It seems the real Fletcher was far from the gentleman he pretended to be. There is, in fact, no shortage of people who wanted him dead.Then, a second murder is committed, with striking similarities to the first, giving a grotesque twist to a very unusual case.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This is a chatty whodunit set in 1930's England. Ernie Fletcher is bludgeoned to death in his own home study one evening and Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. What follows is detectives doing a careful reconstruction of the timeline for the evening of the murder. At one until it seems none of the obvious suspects could have done it. Things get complicated when one of the suspects is bludgeoned to death in the identical fashion as Ernie.

There's a couple of standout interesting characters amongst the cast. Ernie's campy nephew who stands to inherit the family fortune twitters away in the background throughout the entire book, only to become a serious suspect at the end. The town constable who was first on the scene of the first murder spouts evangelical sayings to all and sundry throughout the book. Meanwhile Superintendent Hannasyde and his sergeant doggedly go about their sleuthing having to contend with these two characters as well as a clueless elderly lady, a know-it-all crime fiction author, a flaky damsel-in-distress type who cannot get her story straight, and so on.

The mid-1930's stye of dialogue is tedious at times, offset by the constable's evangelical bleating. These are minor annoyances in an otherwise good book.

All in all, it's an entertaining story and well worth reading.

I received my review copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley. The comments are my own. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Jan 28, 2019 |
historical-fiction, cosy-mystery, sly-humor, snarky, law-enforcement, verbal-humor, situational-humor, British-detective

Didn't know that she wrote early twentieth century police mysteries, and while the mystery was fairly good, the characters are so over the top, and the humor so delightful that I giggled and snuffled and guffawed through the whole book!
I love a period mystery, and this one is great fun!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from SOURCEBOOKS Landmark via NetGalley! ( )
  jetangen4571 | Nov 30, 2018 |
The beginning of the book and the title rather give away whodunnit, but the whole point of a Heyer novel is simply to be frothy confection of banter and characters who run the gamut from "fairly implausible" to "highly improbable." In other words, excellent to read when you're jet-lagged and awake at 4a.m. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 11, 2018 |
I adore Georgette Heyer's works, although this one fell a tad short in the mystery department in my opinion. The characters were a bit recognizable from other Heyer books: a clueless, chattering older woman, the smart, acerbic younger woman, the flighty, beautiful, extravagant woman, the younger man who startlingly does not conform to societal expectations, and the familiar police representatives Hemingway and Hannasyde.

Overall a fun read, but not one of my favorite Heyer Mysteries. That might be because I have read many of her other mysteries, and I am detecting a little bit of repetition. But, it is still a Heyer! ( )
  Critterbee | Apr 16, 2018 |
During the last third of the book I had a sudden conviction of who was the murderer, and I was right.I feel rather chuffed about that, pleased with myself over it.

And I will spend the next few days thinking, writing and speaking in early 20th Century English. Some authors do that to one.

Ernest Fletcher (and yes, the Murder She Wrote theme music was a regular feature of my reading of this) is found bludgeoned to death. Most of the people around him describe him as well-liked but this is on the surface only. When he's found dead and there doesn't appear to be a very long window of opportunity Superintendent Hannasyde has to investigate, helped and hindered by his bible thumping Constable Glass and the indolent nephew of the deceased Neville. As the layers begin to be scraped off the stories a lot of suspects begin to mount up and things get more and more complicated. Then a second body turns up...

I enjoyed it, inter-war fiction is some of my favourite reads and this was a good example, yes the characters behave in strange-to-a-modern-reader manners but I just let the story flow and enjoy. While I did work out the murderer it was still interesting to see what would happen with the main characters. I found it enjoyable, there was some reflection of the horrors of World War I lurking in the story which I found interesting as well, though not as much as in Dorothy Sayers. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Oct 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Georgette Heyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cantatore, Giacometta LimentaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickson, HughNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duurloo, EllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hengst, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Louwen, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Naveira, Rosa S. deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salander, GöranTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A breeze, hardly more than a whisper of wind, stirred the curtains that hung on either side of the long window, and wafted into the room the scent of the wistaria covering the wall of the house.
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Who would kill the perfect gentleman?

When Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked and mystified: Ernest was well liked and respected, so who would have a motive for killing him? Inspectors of Scotland Yard felt it was an unlikely crime for the London suburbs: a perfectly respectable chap at home with his head bashed in. It seems the real Fletcher was far from the gentleman he pretended to be. There is, in fact, no shortage of people who wanted him dead.

Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, with consummate skill, uncover one dirty little secret after another, and with them, a host of people who all have reasons for wanting Fletcher dead. Who tiptoed into the study to do the deed? The rather nefarious nephew Neville? A neighbor's wandering wife? A fat man in a bowler hat?

The mystery's key was a blunt instrument--a weapon that the police could not find... and that the murderer can to use once more. Then, a second murder is committed, with striking similarities to the first, giving a grotesque twist to a very unusual case, and the inspectors realize they are up against a killer on a mission....
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