When a dead man wearing evening dress is found locked in the stocks on the village green, the local police are only too happy to turn the case over to Scotland Yard. The corpse is Arnold Vereker, a universally despised man who kept a tight hold on the family purse strings. When Superintendent Hannasyde questions Vereker’s young relatives, they all declare themselves extremely happy that their unpleasant half-brother is dead at last. Hannasyde doesn’t know what to make of Antonia, Kenneth, and their various love interests, but he suspects that there are secrets hidden beneath their lighthearted jokes. He sifts through the muddle of motives and alibis with help from Giles Carrington, the Vereker family’s solicitor, who has his own reasons for wanting to uncover the murderer.
I’m a longtime fan of Georgette Heyer’s romances, but I’m quickly coming to love her mysteries as well! As someone who loves a good period piece, I found this an extremely fun book to read. The mystery is perfectly fine, with some interesting little twists and red herrings; I figured out some pieces of the puzzle but didn’t ultimately guess whodunit. However, the real pleasure of this book is the characters, their witty conversations and their blossoming romantic attachments. While the Verekers and their friends take center stage, though, Superintendent Hannasyde is also an intriguing sleuth, and I look forward to reading about more of his cases in subsequent Heyer novels.