Silas Kane, the head of a well-to-do family, is found dead at the bottom of a cliff the day after his birthday party. The police declare it an accident; he lost his way and fell during his late night fog walk. Some family members suspect murder. There are plenty of potential murderers. His heir, Clement, is certainly happy to be the new master of Cliff House, and Silas’s business partners hope the new heir is much more manageable.
When Clement is gunned down in the middle of the day, police wonder if someone is knocking off the heirs or if someone had it in for Clement. His wife was having a not so secret affair. Was it her or her lover? Or maybe someone else entirely. The local police ask the help of Superintendent Hannasyde. Only he can untangled this mess.
They Found Him Dead is so good! Georgette Heyer doesn’t focus all her skill on the mystery; she creates interesting, intelligent characters. The police didn’t even get involved in the investigation until about halfway through the novel. Most of the story revolves around the happenings at Cliff House: who knows what, who hates whom.
The dialogue is everything. Heyer lets you know who these people are through the things they say. And it is so funny (and infuriating) at times.
I can’t do the book justice so here are some of my favorite quotes:
Rosemary Kane (Clement’s wife): “Like that thing Mummy took up last year. Right Thought, or something, where you simply fix your mind on what you want, and utterly believe it’ll come to you, and it does, as long as you don’t do anything about it.”There are frivolous fluffy-headed characters and sensible level-headed ones. The women do more than just sit around looking pretty. They have as many opinions as the men.
Trevor Dermott (Rosemary’s lover): He was always rather pleased when a woman made an irrational remark, because he could then correct her folly, not unkindly, but with an indulgent laugh at the limitations of the female brain.
Lady Harte, Norma (Mother of two people staying at Cliff House, explorer, and politician): “Well I’ve done most things- experience is the most important thing in life- but I’ve never yet been suspected of murder. Now, don’t misunderstand me! I don’t mind a bit; in fact, it’ll provide me with a grand piece of copy for the book I’m writing.”
I loved They Found Him Dead. It was so much fun, which is weird to say about a book where people get murdered. The investigation itself is interesting and although I had a feeling about the murderer, I couldn’t figure out how it was accomplished. It was well done and I hope to read more of Heyer’s mysteries.