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Behold, Here's Poison

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About the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. It is known that she was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921. Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and they had one son together, Richard.


Although her contemporaries Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh got more attention, Heyer (1902-1974) also was an important pioneer in the mystery field. When she wasn't writing her more famous historical romances, Heyer turned out several sharp and satirical mysteries such as this one, which in many ways is as bracingly modern as the film Gosford Park in its treatment of life above and below stairs in a posh country house. The excellent British television actor Dickson, probably best known to American audiences for his performance in A&E's The Scarlet Pimpernel, perfectly catches both the edge and depth of Heyer's writing, as he creates dozens of characters who differ subtly in age, sex and-most importantly-class, in this story of a poisoning and its aftermath. Dickson's solid, no-nonsense reading of Inspector Hannasyde, Heyer's quietly impressive sleuth, might make listeners long for a video version somewhere down the road. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Although Heyer is better known for her Regency romances and was outshone by her contemporaries Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Ngaio Marsh, she also wrote mysteries between the World Wars. Behold, Here's Poison was originally published in 1936, and fans of Gosford Park will adore it. The Poplars is a big English house-home to the Matthews family: Gregory, the head of the family, discovered dead of nicotine poisoning; his sisters, the domineering Harriet and Gertrude; the Nosy Parker and dramatic Zoe, the sister-in-law with her grown children, Guy and Stella; and his nephew and heir, the oh-so-smooth Randall. Added to this lot are the neighbors and servants, including the redoubtable Mr. and Mrs. Beecher, who give their notice after the second murder. The author's trademark sparkling dialog is here along with an intricate, twisting plot, and the suave Inspector Hannasyde is much less irritating than Wimsey or Poirot. Hugh Dickson gives a masterful performance at delineating all of these characters as well as the subtle class distinctions that are such a part of Heyer's writing. A listening treat; enthusiastically recommended for all libraries.-Barbara A. Perkins, Irving P.L., TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Completely entertaining." - The Book Zombie

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