Thank you Danielle from Sourcebooks for providing me a copy of Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer. This is my second Heyer book that I have read so far. I haven’t read her regency romances, or other historical fiction books but now that I have read her style of writing, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. I do have two of her regency romances on my shelf (that large TBR shelf that has been touched every so often, but only because I had to add more books).
Death in the Stocks is a murder mystery of Arnold Vereker, who was found stabbed to death and locked in the stocks. An odd death, but not surprising as he’s had a lot of enemies. Superintendent Hannasyde is in charge of discovering who killed him, but with very eccentric and unhelpful family members who admitted they wouldn’t mind seeing Arnold dead makes the case very puzzling and very difficult to solve. There are many potential killers but which one is smart enough to get away with murder?
I thought this mystery was very different from the previous Heyer mystery (No Wind of Blame). I seemed to have enjoyed this one more as both Antonia and Kenneth were so quirky and eccentric they got me into fits of giggles because they were just so annoying to Hannasyde. However the plot still kept me guessing. They were eccentric and funny yet there’s an underlying almost sinister like quality that made you think: just because they’re joking about it doesn’t mean they didn’t really kill Arnold Vereker…right? and you’re left with that uncertainity that made the jokes and comedy a little on the uneasy side. It really added more to the mystery and gave it a flavor of a black comedy to it.
Each character had their own motive, and their own unique personality. I like Antonia for her quirky personality and her maddening ability to annoy the police. Kenneth was the same although I didn’t like him as much because there’s an arrogant disposition surrounding his personality which seems to put me off. I would say, this book is more of a laid back mystery. There wasn’t much suspense, no thrills or chills. Yet my curiousity was so piqued because of these interesting characters I really did want to know who did it. However be warned, there is a bit of surprise bomb towards the end of the book which caught me by surprise and I was left still guessing who did the crime. However, my guess was correct and although it wasn’t a surprise to me, it was nice to see I guessed right! I’d have to say it was not predictable though, how they solved the crime was totally not how I pictured which is good, I don’t like predictability in books.
The only criticism in this book was, I found it to drag a little, with the banter between Kenneth and Antonia. It almost ruined their quirkiness and it almost got the point where they were starting to annoy me just a little bit. The plot could have moved a little more faster and although the crime was solved, it was a little too quick and it ending seemed rather abrupt. Other than those few points, I enjoyed reading the book and would read her other crime novels.
Overall, an interesting mystery with a dash of comedy to keep things interesting. Its’ characters are certainly memorable and worth reading into.
I give it a 7 out of 10.