Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

A Blunt Instrument

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Blunt Instrument (1938) Georgette Heyer

The 4th Inspector Hannasyde mystery.

Ernest Fletcher seems to have been a likable man, so his death–bludgeoned to death in his story–came as a surprise to everyone.

The obvious suspect is his nephew Neville, his heir who seems to owe money to everyone, and who was heard to have argued with his uncle earlier in the evening, but the report of a man leaving the scene immediately prior to the discovery of the body seems to clear his name.

That’s why I told Neville. I thought he might be able to do something.’

‘Neville?’ said Miss Drew, in accents of withering contempt. ‘You might as well have applied to a village idiot!’

‘I know, but there wasn’t anyone else. And he is clever, in spite of being so hopeless.’

‘As judged by village standards?’ inquired Neville, mildly interested.

That and the fact that Neville doesn’t seem they type.

I suppose you wouldn’t just hint to him that he oughtn’t to do it? I feel that what you said would carry more weight than what I say.’

‘What’s he been up to?’ asked Hannasyde.

‘Well, he’s told one of the reporters that he’s employed here as the Boots, and when the man asked him his name he said it was Crippen, only he didn’t want it to be known.’

Hannasyde chuckled. ‘I don’t think I should worry very much about that, Miss Fletcher.’

‘Yes, but he told another of them that he came from Yugoslavia, and was here on very secret business. In fact, he’s in the front garden now, telling three of them a ridiculous story about international intrigue, and my brother at the back of it. And they’re taking it down in their notebooks. Neville’s such a marvellous actor, and of course he speaks Serbian, from having travelled in the Balkans. But I don’t think he ought to deceive those poor men, do you?’

‘It might be better for you, sir, if you told the truth about your doings on the night of the murder without waiting to be questioned,’ suggested the Sergeant, with a touch of severity.

‘Oh no! You’d have thought it very fishy if I’d been as expansive as all that,’ said Neville.

Upon reflection, the Sergeant privately agreed with him. However, all he said was that Neville would be wise not to try to be too clever with the police.

I quite liked Neville.

So this is another book where I figured out the murderer pretty quickly. I couldn’t figure out the why, but then who was rather obvious, though again that is perhaps due to being a modern reader. (In the first book, a woman is the murderer, and I suppose it might have been chocking at the time, but not so much to modern eyes.

So these are interesting books, and I like the settings and time, but the murders felt a little obvious to a modern mystery reader.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Rating: 7/10

Categories: British, Historical, Mystery, Police, Romance     Comments (0)    

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