Death in the Stocks

Death in the Stocks

by Georgette Heyer

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Overview

A Moonlit Night, a Sleeping Village, and an Unaccountable Murder...

In the dead of the night, a man in an evening dress is found murdered, locked in the stocks on the village green. Unfortunately for Superintendent Hannasyde, the deceased is Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, especially his odd and unhelpful family members. The Verekers are as eccentric as they are corrupt, and it will take all Hannasyde's skill at detection to determine who's telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction. The question is: who in this family is clever enough to get away with murder?

"Death in the Stocks is rare and refreshing."—The Times

"Miss Heyer's characters act and speak with an ease and conviction that is refreshing as it is rare in the ordinary mystery novel."—Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492669616
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Series: Country House Mysteries Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 319,876
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Georgette Heyer's novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades. English Heritage has awarded Georgette Heyer one of their prestigious Blue Plaques, designating her Wimbledon home as the residence of an important figure in British history. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success. Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. A very private woman, she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

Read an Excerpt

Death in the Stocks


By GEORGETTE HEYER

Sourcebooks Inc.

Copyright © 1935 Georgette Rougier
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4022-2776-9


Chapter One

It was past midnight, and the people who lived in the cottages that clustered round the triangular green had long since gone to bed and to sleep. No lamp shone in any window, but a full moon sailed in a sky the colour of sapphires, and lit the village with a pale light, as cold as the sheen on steel. Trees and houses cast grotesque shadows, black as soot; every object in the moonlight stood out sharply defined, but without colour, so that even a prosaic line of petrol pumps looked a little ghostly.

There was a car drawn up at one end of the green, its headlights throwing two golden beams ahead, and its engine throbbing softly. One of its doors stood open. Something moved in the shadow of the great elm tree beside the car; a man stepped into the moonlight, glanced this way and that, as though fearful of seeing someone, and after a moment's hesitation got quickly into the car and began to turn it, jarring his gears a little. He looked once towards the elm tree, at some object dimly discernible in the shadow, and then, having swung the car right round, drove away up the London road. The noise of his engine died slowly in the distance; somewhere at hand a watch-dog barked once, and then was silent.

The shadow of the elm tree was shortening as the moon travelled across the sky: the eerielight seemed to steal under the branches, and presently shone on two feet in patent leather shoes, stuck through the holes in a pair of stocks. The feet remained motionless, and as the moonlight crept nearer the glimmer of a white shirt-front showed.

An hour later a cyclist rounded the bend in the road by the King's Head. Police-Constable Dickenson was returning home from a night patrol. The moonlight now fully illuminated the stocks. A gentleman in evening-dress was sitting in them, apparently asleep, for his body had sagged forward, his head lolling on his chest. Police-Constable Dickenson was whistling softly as he rode, but the whistle stopped suddenly, and the front wheel of the bicycle swerved. The stocks were a feature of Ashleigh Green, but the Constable could not remember having seen anyone imprisoned in them before. It gave him quite a turn. Tight as an owl, he thought. Looks like somebody's been having a game with you, my lad.

He got off his bicycle, and pushed it on to the grass and carefully propped it against the elm tree. The figure on the bench did not move. 'Now then, sir, wake up!' said the Constable, kind but reproving. 'Can't spend the night here, you know!' He laid his hand on the sagging shoulder, and gave it a slight shake. 'Come along, sir, you'll be better off at home, you will.' There was no response, and he shook the shoulder rather harder, and put one arm round the man to hoist him. There was still no response, but an arm which had lain across its owner's knees was dislodged, and hung dangling, the hand brushing limply against the Constable's trousers. The Constable bent, peering into the downcast face, and sought in his pocket for his torch. The light flashed on, and the Constable stepped back rather quickly. The figure on the bench, disturbed by his shaking, toppled over sideways, its feet still held in the stocks. 'Gawd!' whispered Police-Constable Dickenson, feeling his mouth to be very dry all at once, 'Oh, Gawd!' He did not want to touch the figure again, or even to go nearer, because there was something sticky on his hands, and he had never seen a dead man before.

He stooped, and rubbed his hand on the grass, telling himself he was a proper softy. But he hadn't been expecting it, and his stomach had kind of turned over. Made a chap feel sick for a minute; it was like as if one's innards took a jump into one's chest. Breathing a little jerkily he went up to the figure again, and ran his torch over it, and rather gingerly touched one of the slack hands. It wasn't exactly cold, not clammy, like you read about in books, but just cool. He didn't know but that he wouldn't rather it had been icy. That faint warmth was nasty, somehow.

He pulled himself up. It wasn't his job to get fanciful, but to make up his mind what was the right thing for him to do first. The man was dead, sure enough; it was no use standing over the body: he'd better get on to the Police Station at Hanborough as soon as possible. He pushed his bicycle back on to the road, mounted it again, and rode swiftly along to the other end of the green to the cottage with the prim muslin curtains and the tidy flowerbeds which had County Police painted on a narrow board over the front door.

He let himself in and made his way to the telephone, taking care to tread softly so that his wife, who was asleep upstairs, should not wake and call to him to go up. He'd have to tell her what had happened if she did, and she was expecting her first, and none too well.

He lifted the receiver, wondering whether he'd done the right thing after all, leaving a corpse stuck down in the middle of the village. Didn't seem decent, somehow.

The Station-Sergeant's voice spoke. He was surprised to hear his own voice so steady, because he really felt a bit shaken, and no wonder. He told his story as matter-of-factly as he could, and the Sergeant, not nearly so phlegmatic, said first: 'What?' and then: 'In the stocks?' and lastly: 'Look here, are you sure he's dead?'

Police-Constable Dickenson was quite sure, and when the Sergeant heard about the blood, and the wound in the back, he stopped making incredulous exclamations and said briefly: 'All right. You cut along and see no one touches the body. The Inspector will be down with the ambulance in a couple of shakes.'

'Hold on a minute, Sergeant,' said the Constable, anxious to give all the information he could. 'It isn't a stranger. I was able to identify him - it's Mr Vereker.'

'Mr Who?' demanded the Sergeant.

'Vereker. The gentleman from London, as bought Riverside Cottage. You know, Sergeant: comes down week-ends.'

'Oh!' said the Sergeant, rather vaguely. 'Not a local man.'

'Not properly speaking,' agreed the Constable. 'But what beats me is how he came to be sitting in them stocks at this hour of night. He's in evening-dress, what's more.'

'Well, you get back, and keep your eye on things till the Inspector comes along,' said the Sergeant, and hung up the receiver.

Constable Dickenson heard the click of it, and was rather sorry, because now that he had had time to recover from his first amazement he could see several queer things about the murder, and would have liked to have talked them over with the Sergeant. But there was nothing for it but to do as he was told, so he put his receiver back on the hook, and tiptoed out of the house again to where he had left his bicycle propped against the iron railings.

When he got back to the stocks the dead man was lying in the same position. There was no sign that anyone had been there since the Constable left, and after looking over the ground for a bit with the aid of his torch, in the hope of discovering some clue, or footprint, the Constable leaned his back against the tree, and tried, while waiting for the Inspector to arrive, to puzzle out the problem for himself.

It was not very long before he heard the sound of a car in the distance, and in a few minutes it drew up beside the green, and Inspector Jerrold hopped out nimbly, and turned to give a hand to a stout man in whom the Constable recognised Dr Hawke, the Police-Surgeon.

'Well,' said the Inspector briskly. 'Where is this body, Dickenson? Oh! - ah!' He stepped up to the bench, and ran his torch over the still figure there. 'H'm! Not much for you here, Doctor, from the looks of it. Turn those headlights this way, Hill. That's better. Like this when you found him, was he?'

'No sir, not properly. He was sitting up - well, when I say sitting, he was kind of slouching forward, if you know what I mean. I thought he was asleep. Him being in evening-dress, and his feet in the stocks like that, I never thought but what he's had a glass too many - so I went up to him and put my hand on his shoulder to give him a bit of a shake and wake him up. Twice I shook him, and then it struck me there was something queer about him, and I felt the palm of my hand kind of wet and sticky, and I switched my torch on him - and then of course I saw he was dead. Me shaking him like that made him fall sideways, like you see.'

The Inspector nodded, his eyes on the Doctor, who was kneeling behind the body. 'Sergeant Hamlyn says you identified him. Who is he? Don't seem to know his face.'

'Well, I daresay you might not, sir. It's Mr Vereker, of Riverside Cottage.'

'Oh!' said the Inspector with a little sniff. 'One of those week-end people. Anything out of the way, Doctor?'

'I shall have to do a PM, of course,' grumbled the Doctor, getting up rather ponderously from his knees. 'But it looks quite a straight case. Knife wound a little below the left shoulder-blade. Death probably occurred instantaneously.'

The Inspector watched him at work on the body for a moment or two, and presently asked: 'Formed any opinion of the time it was done, sir?'

'Say two to four hours,' replied the Doctor, and straightened his back. 'That's all for the present, thanks.'

The Inspector turned to Constable Dickenson. 'Know how the body was sitting when you found it?'

'Yes, sir.'

'All right. Put it back as near as you can. Ready with that flashlight, Thompson?'

Constable Dickenson did not care much for the task allotted him, but he went up at once to the body and raised it to the original position, and carefully laid one arm across the stiffening legs. The Inspector watched him in silence, and, when he stepped back at last, made a sign to the photographer.

By the time the photographer had finished his work the police ambulance had arrived, and a light was turned on in one of the windows of an adjacent cottage. The Inspector cast a shrewd glance up at the window and said curtly: 'Right. You can take him out now. Careful how you touch that bar! We may get a finger-print.'

The bar of the stocks was raised, the body lifted out and carried to the ambulance, just as the lighted window was thrown up and a tousled head poked out. A ghoulishly expectant voice called out: 'What's the matter? Has there been an accident? Anybody hurt?'

'Just a bit of an accident, Mrs Duke,' replied Constable Dickenson. 'Nothing for you to worry about.'

The head was withdrawn, but the voice could be heard adjuring one Horace to get up quick, because the police were outside with an ambulance and all.

'What I know of this village, we'll have a whole pack of busybodies here inside of ten minutes,' said the Inspector, with a grim little smile. 'All right, you men: mortuary. Now then, Dickenson, let's hear what you can tell us. When did you discover the body?'

'By my reckoning, sir, it would be about ten minutes to two. It was just on two when I rung up the Station, me having been out on patrol.'

'You didn't see anyone here? No car? Didn't hear anything?'

'No, sir. Nothing.'

'Was the man - what's his name - Vereker, staying at Riverside Cottage?'

'Not to my knowledge he wasn't sir, but then he didn't, not during the week as a general rule. It being Saturday, I figured it out he must have been on his way down to the Cottage. Mrs Beaton would know whether he was there. She'd have had her orders to go in and make things ready for him.'

'Does she live out?'

'Yes, sir. Pennyfarthing Row, a couple of minutes from the cottage. She keeps the place clean, and gets in milk and eggs and such, when he's coming down. He often gets down late on Saturdays, so she was telling me. I have known him to bring his valet down to do for him, but just as often he comes alone.' He paused, and corrected himself. 'When I say alone, I mean he often don't bring a servant with him.'

'What do you mean?' inquired the Doctor.

'Well, sir, he sometimes bring friends down with him.' He gave a little cough. 'Most often females, so I've heard.'

'Wife? Sister?' interrupted the Inspector.

'Oh no, sir! Nothing like that,' replied the Constable, rather shocked.

'Oh, that kind of female!' said the Inspector. 'We'd better go round first thing in the morning to Riverside Cottage, and see if there's anything to be got there. There's nothing here. Ground's too dry for footprints. We'll get along, Doctor, if you're ready. You'll hand in your report to-morrow, Dickenson, see? You can go off to bed now.' He moved away towards the car with the Doctor. Constable Dickenson heard him say in his dry way: 'Looks to me like a case for the Yard. London man. Nothing to do with us. Nice easy case too - if they can lay their hands on the woman.'

'Quite,' agreed the Doctor, smothering a yawn. 'If he had a woman with him.'

Chapter Two

Inspector Jerrold made a very early call on the Chief Constable next morning, and found him eating his breakfast. He apologised for disturbing him, but the Colonel merely waved him to a chair, and said: 'Not at all. What's your trouble? Anything serious?'

'Pretty serious, sir. Man found stabbed to death at Ashleigh Green at 1.50 this morning.'

'Good God! You don't say so! Who is it?'

'Gentleman of the name of Arnold Vereker, sir, of Riverside Cottage.'

'God bless my soul!' ejaculated the Colonel, putting down his coffee-cup. 'Who did it? Any idea?'

'No, sir, none. No clues at all so far. The body was found by Constable Dickenson - in the stocks.'

'In the what?'

'Does sound odd, doesn't it, sir? But that's how it was.'

'Do you mean he was put in the stocks and then stabbed, or what?'

'It's hard to say, sir. Not much bleeding, you see: nothing on the ground. Might have been stabbed first, though why anyone should take the trouble to put the body in the stocks I can't make out. He was in evening-dress, no hat or overcoat, and the only thing we've got so far that looks like helping us at all is his hands, which were dirty. Smear of motor-oil on one, inference being he'd had to change a tyre, or do some repair on a car. But his car's not there, and not at the garage either. Of course, he may have walked into the village from Riverside Cottage - it's under a mile away - but it seems a funny thing to do at that hour of night. The Doctor doesn't put the hour of the murder earlier than twelve o'clock, or thereabouts. No, it looks like he was motoring down with someone or other for the week-end. What I thought, sir, was that I should go off to Riverside Cottage first thing after seeing you to find out if he was staying there, or expected down last night. Seems to have been a gentleman with irregular sort of habits.'

'Yes, I believe so,' said the Colonel. 'Didn't know him myself, but one hears things. A city man - mining interests, so I was informed. I don't fancy it's much of a case for us, Inspector. What do you feel about it?'

'Well, sir, pretty much what you do. Of course, we don't know that it wasn't a local affair, but on the face of it, it doesn't look like it. I've got a man out at Ashleigh Green making inquiries, but I don't expect to get much. You know what it is out in the country, sir. Folks go to bed early, and if there wasn't any noise made, barring the car - assuming there was a car - no one would be likely to wake up - or take any notice if they were awake. The Doctor's of the opinion death must have been pretty well instantaneous. There's no sign of any struggle. Dickenson tells me this Mr Vereker was in the habit of bringing friends down from town over the week-end. What we want is his car. That might tell us something. How I look at it sir, is we'll have to get on to the Yard for information, whatever happens.'

'Quite right. Not our case at all. Still, you should certainly go to this cottage you speak of and see what you can pick up. Does he keep any servants there?'

'No, sir. There's a woman by the name of Beaton who keeps the place tidy, by what I understand, but she lives out. I'll see her of course, but I don't expect to find anyone at the Cottage. 'Tisn't likely. But I might get a line on it.'

The Inspector was wrong. Half an hour later, when he and Constable Dickenson got out of the police car at Riverside Cottage, there were unmistakable signs that the cottage was occupied.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Death in the Stocks by GEORGETTE HEYER Copyright © 1935 by Georgette Rougier. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Death in the Stocks 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
Arnold Vereker has been found murdered and his body has been left in the stocks on the village green. Vereker was wealthy and as the police investigate, they discover many characters who had a motive to kill him, most of them his relatives. There are his half-brother and half-sister, Kenneth and Antonia Vereker. Arnold was their guardian and kept them on a very short lease. Antonia is engaged to Rudolph Mesurier, the accountant at Vereker's business. Arnold had just discovered that Mesurier had been embezzling funds and was ready to prosecute him. Kenneth is also engaged, to a venomous but beautiful woman named Violet Williams. She flirts with every man she encounters, and makes it clear that her affections can only be bought and paid for, never freely given. Then there are the investigators. Superintendant Hannasyde, finds the case perplexing, specifically because it seems so simple. Giles Carrington is Kenneth and Antonia's cousin, and also their lawyer. He helps the superintendant understand the relationships that exist, and they discuss the case over drinks and dinners. A further wrench is thrown in the case when another half-brother emerges; Roger, who the family had thought dead for years. Readers who enjoy cozy mysteries such as those written by Agatha Christie will enjoy Georgette Heyer's writing. The character's speech and personalities place the setting firmly in England, and the mystery gets untangled satisfactorily. This book is recommended for all readers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second Heyer book I' ve read. Her characters are quite fun to follow along. The brother and sister in this book are really quite terrible people but endearing all the same. They treat murdered family members cavalierly and I felt I should dislike them on principle but I just couldn't.
momgee More than 1 year ago
As P.C. Dickinson was riding his bicycle across the village green, he sees a man in the stocks. Thinking it is some drunken prank, he investigates only to find it is a dead man. When he calls the police station to report the death, he tells the sergeant he knows the identity of the dead man. It is Arnold Vereker, a man who is not well liked; in fact, some of his family admit to actually hating him. And what a family Arnold leaves behind. The main suspects include Arnold's half brother Kenneth and his half sister Antonia. With Arnold gone, Kenneth stands to inherit a tidy sum of money and property. Not only members of the family are suspect but there is an embezzling employee who just happens to be engaged to Antonia, a disgruntled employee and possibly one of Arnold's many female conquests or even one of their husbands. All of the suspects have viable motives. They are all too clever by half; conjuring up possible scenarios as to why any one in the family murdered Arnold and how it was accomplished. Superintendent Hannasyde has his work cut out for him as he tries to determine from all this banter who is the guilty party. The action heats us when a second murder is committed. This definitely throws a new wrinkle into Hannasyde's previous findings. I love the world of British mysteries created in the thirties. There's just something compelling about all that stiff upper lip kind of understatement and world of red herrings. When Anonia was apprised of how her half brother died by a knife thrust to the back, her respose was a very composed, "Oh, rather beastly." Somehow, I could just picture her saying that quite easily. Heyer certainly manages to capture the imagination in this mystery with her unique murder location, quirky characters, and droll dialogue. Even though I figured out the culprit, it was still an engaging and enjoyable read.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
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.
Betababe More than 1 year ago
Before the Thin Man Hannasyde may be the Inspector but the Vereker family members are the focus of this interestingly staged plot. Written in the 1930s by a highly literate author with an extremely light and humorous touch, we are treated to the manners and mannerisms of the black and white movie era. I patted myself on the back for correctly deducing Whodunit and thoroughly enjoyed the chase.
Bookaholic-mka More than 1 year ago
Did somebody play a bad trick on Arnold Vereker while he was drunk and put him in the stocks on the village green? Looks like someone disliked him more than playing a trick since they killed him. On the other hand, he wasn’t a local in Ashleigh Green so maybe it doesn’t matter so much. Poor Inspector Jarrold seems about to pull his hair out since the Vereker family seems to be either joking that they did it or wondering amongst themselves who really did. They sure all had a motive and they sure all disliked him and even more so, they are all a little nutty. Speaking of the family brings the characters to mind, all which were well-described. This is not a bad story. It just seemed as if there was too much focus on the family sitting around in what must have been the same room and too much dialog by the family about the murder. So much dialog that what was actually interesting and cute, became a little tedious. Still interesting and worth my time to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Readers of British 1930s murder mysteries might like this book. It starts off a bit like a farce. A man with many enemies is found murdered in the stocks. His closest relatives admit that they hated him and have no good alibi. for the murder. After a second crime the book becomes more of a conventional murder mystery. The book starts out slowly but it a pleasant book to read. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
Death in the Stocks is the first Superintendent Hannasyde mystery written in 1935. Arnold Vereker is found locked in the village stocks and stabbed to death. Superintendent Hannasyde has a multitude of suspects since everyone seemed to dislike him and no one has an ironclad alibi. Maybe it is the shadow of Agatha Christie, who was writing at the same time, but Georgette Heyer’s mysteries seem overlong and rather stuffed with English upper crust commentary that seems irrelevant more than eighty years after they were published. Rather than reading Death in the Stocks, read one of the author’s excellent regency romance books for which she is famous. For a great mystery, read Agatha or Dorothy L. Sayers. 2 stars. Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Charlotte-P More than 1 year ago
The story starts in a Miss Marple type village with the body of Arnold Vereker found in the village stocks. This story keeps a good pace and takes you into the lives of the extended Vereker Family who have good fun muddying the waters for the police. The interaction between the characters makes for a good armchair mystery you don’t want to put down. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Sunshine1006 More than 1 year ago
Death in the Stocks set in 1935 by Georgette Heyer is one of my all time favorite books. When Police-Constable Dickenson finds a man in the stocks, it gave him "quite a turn" especially when he realized the man was dead . The police have no idea who killed him and the suspects abound. Could it be because he was the most hated and corrupt man around? Who is responsible and will they get away with it? Books are not written like this any more and it is a shame. Comical elements thru out. I give it a definite five stars. I received this book from Net Galley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a honest review and no compensation otherwise. The opinions expressed are my own.
BookloverUT More than 1 year ago
In the middle of the night, a man in evening clothes is found dead, locked in the stocks on the village green. Superintendent Hannasyde has to find out who wanted Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, murdered. Could it be his corrupt family members? It will take all Hannasyde's skill at detection to determine who's telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction. Even though I’ve enjoyed Ms. Heyer’s mysteries in the past, this one totally missed the mark. I found it long-winded and boring, and honestly didn’t care to finish it. I hope to have more fun next time I read one of her stories. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
janglen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick read from the light detective genre. The two main characters get a little tiresome at times with their endless clever-clever remarks, but the book keeps your interest to the end.
caitemaire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you would like to finish out your year with a funny, entertaining, cozy mystery, then once again I have a very nice Georgette Heyer book to offer for your consideration. In the very early hours of the morning, the body of a dead man, dressed in evening clothes, is found on the village green, his feet in the stocks. The murdered man turns out to be the wealthy weekend visitor Andrew Vereker, and once police start to investigate the crime they soon determine that there are many people who, for various reasons, are not unhappy to find that Vereker has been sent on to his just rewards. Relatives, soon to be in-laws, business associates...all whom it seems greatly disliked the dead man and none of whom have an alibi. The very clever Superintendent Hannasyde is called in to solve the crime and he certainly has his work cut out for him with this cast of characters. Lucky for us, there is a lot of very funny and entertaining goings on for us to enjoy as that is accomplished.Once again, as with the previous two Heyer mysteries that I have reviewed, I can totally recommend Death In The Stocks to fans of the genre, especially if you are a fan of these sort of English country house mysteries. I am not totally convinced if the culture she describes in her books ever really existed, and surely it does not now, some 60 or more years later, but it certainly is very entertaining. Heyer is the queen of witty, funny dialogue and the queen still reigns here. Great characters and great dialogue is what she excels at. If you have read and enjoyed the mysteries of Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayer and are not familiar with the perhaps lesser known Heyer, you need to check her out and Death In the Stocks is a great place to start. I also must mention once again...because I love to repeat myself when I say something true...that I just love the look and feel and quality of these editions reissued by Sourcebooks. They are some of the nicest, high quality paperbacks that I have ever read. If you are looking for a nice cozy to cozy up to on a cold winter night, perhaps with a cuppa tea and a slice of fruitcake, run out and grab yourself a Heyer!
Riyale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Georgette Heyer mysteries never disappoint me, and this one is no exception. Intelligent, and witty, with just the right hint of sarcasm.
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Arnold Vereker is found dead in the stocks on Ashleigh Green, the victim of a knife wound. Suspicion quickly turns to his half-brother, half-sister, and to an employee of his company. All disliked him and had the opportunity to do so, but their stories are not convincing and leave Supt. Hannasyde and family attorney Giles Carrington with more questions than answers. With so many lies, it is hard to sort out the truth. There are a few surprises along the way, but eventually the culprit is found. Well-plotted. The family is so eccentric that the reader (at times) hopes all of them are all guilty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was tedious to read -- I think it was because of the characters. They were not very likeable except for Inspector Hannasyde. But it was an interesting mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A shockingly irreverent, callous-seeming family of half-siblings, their fiances and lawyer cousin, & some financially advantageous murder amongst them. Hardly any blood, plenty of speculation and arguing about propriety...I did figure it out but a fun read anyway.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will never guess who did it! it may be a little too well written for those who are use to quick reads m.a.
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LKC47 More than 1 year ago
Georgette Heyer never disapoints
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