deird1: Rarity, looking disdainful (Rarity)
[personal profile] deird1
Penhallow really is one of the worst murder mysteries ever written. Georgette Heyer must have been depressed and annoyed with the world when she wrote it, or something - because I can't possibly conceive of how you'd write this book and call it a murder mystery if you were happy.

In this book:
- An unpleasant family spend 200 or so pages being unpleasant to each other.
- Everyone thinks about how much better it would be if Lord Penhallow died.
- Lord Penhallow dies.
- Everyone keeps being unpleasant.
- Everyone gets depressed about how much life still sucks and wasn't improved by Penhallow's death.
- The murderer kills himself, leaving no indication behind as to why he killed Penhallow.
- The detectives wonder why he did it, concluding that it's a "most unsatisfactory case".
- Life goes on - unpleasantly as ever.

...seriously, what was the point?

There are very clear rules as to what's supposed to happen in murder mysteries. Generally, you have
1) at least one person we like
2) a few fun discussions about the murder
3) a grisly, exciting, baffling murder
4) a happy ending
5) lots of interesting clues that solve the case.

I'm not saying you have to have all of them, but this book doesn't have any! It's horrible, depressing, and seems to have been written purely so Heyer could spend 300 pages proving how much life sucks.

*needs some Christie to take away the bad taste*

Date: 2011-09-14 10:26 pm (UTC)
velvetwhip: (Die!)
From: [personal profile] velvetwhip
It does sound like rather a shaggy dog story.


Date: 2011-09-15 12:31 pm (UTC)
liz_marcs: Jeff and Annie in Trobed's bathroom during Remedial Chaos Theory (Default)
From: [personal profile] liz_marcs
Gah. This makes me sad to read. I just bought a bunch of Heyer novels for my Nook (they were cheap!) and I've been happily reading through the fluffy Regency romances.

I bought a few of her mysteries (including Penhurst) with the expectations that they'd be as sparkling (and trust me, I need a little braindead sparkling in my life right now).

Ugh. I guess I'll give this one a miss for now and read it when I'm in one of my more misanthropic moods.

Date: 2011-09-15 03:31 pm (UTC)
ext_22892: (Books and Roses)
From: [identity profile]
I did read somewhere (not a clue where) that she wrote it as a contract breaker for a publisher who had disagreements about what she should write next - and demanded a detective story from her. She wrote Penhallow and they refused it, thus freeing her to sell her wares elsewhere ... now, I'm not certain but I suspect that was when she went to Heinemann, who published Penhallow later, in 1942.

Date: 2011-09-16 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If I'm remembering the right book (not _certain_, but the details seem to match), wasn't the murderer the new wife, and what's-his-name suicided (thus accidentally taking the blame for the murder) because he thought the servant had heard Penhallow telling him he was a bastard?


deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)

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