I like Georgette Heyer. Her writing is classy and complex. My favorites are, of course, her Regency romances which are incomparable. "Penhallow", however, is one of her mysteries. I haven't read more than 3 or 4 of these. They are interesting, but not as engrossing as her Regencies.
Penhallow is the name of our main character: a crusty, infirm, autocratic old man who takes pleasure in cruelly antagonizing his family, friends and neighbors. He is more than unpleasant; he is vicious. At last, one day before his birthday, Andrew Penhallow is murdered. And this death, which was seen by his murderer as a relief to many, turns out to be the epicenter of a destructive quake for the entire Penhallow family.
This was not your ordinary whodunit where our canny detective fingers the murderer and life goes on happily for all the rest. We read more about the effect of Penhallow's death on his family than we do about the investigation of his murder. In fact, we know who the murderer is from the very beginning! And the murder doesn't even take place until well over halfway through the book! Since it was obvious from the beginning (and was included in the blurb on the back of the book) that Penhallow was our victim, it seemed like it took FOREVER for him to be murdered. I kept waiting for the mystery to "start". This didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, though. It was just unexpected.
It was all involved and interesting and very well written. The atmosphere was thick and dark and the setting was beautifully illustrated. It was a long book--457 pages, but it went quickly. I love Georgette Heyer!
Bad language: nope