Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer

I'm embarrassed to be reviewing another Georgette Heyer so soon after the last one. I've just returned from a short but awesome beach vacation, and Why Shoot a Butler? was the book I literally grabbed on the way out the door. It happened to be the perfect beach read: light, fun, and not too absorbing.

Frank Amberley is on his way to visit his aunt and uncle when he comes across a car stopped on the edge of the road with a woman standing alongside. He stops to see if the woman needs help, only to discover a dead man sitting behind the wheel of the car. Amberley is drawn into a complicated plot of murder and deception, where nothing is quite what it seems on the surface.

The book was published in 1936 and has a lot of fun period details and slang. I enjoyed it even though Amberley comes across as a real jerk sometimes and Heyer doesn't play fair with the clues. She withholds information from the reader the same way that Amberley withholds information from the police. Even so, I figured out the whole plot ridiculously early--there's one all-important clue near the beginning that unravels the whole thing if you're paying attention.

Ordinarily I'd be sneering at a book with such an obvious plot, but the romance between Amberly and the woman he first sees near the corpse is so satisfying that I don't care that I guessed the murderer so soon. I enjoyed the book a lot.

B&N link

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