Title: Why Shoot a Butler? Author: Georgette Heyer
First published January 1, 1933
262 pages, Hardcover
The Fountain family has always been known for their secrets, but when a butler turns up dead, their secrets become deadly. Barrister Frank Amberley finds himself drawn into the mystery when he stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel.
As he begins to unravel the clues, all fingers point to the innocent Shirley Brown. In this classic English country house murder mystery, every clue only complicates the puzzle and the police are completely baffled.
Luckily, Amberley is a brilliant and arrogant amateur sleuth who is determined to find the truth, even if it means putting himself in danger. With unexpected twists and turns, Why Shoot a Butler?
will keep you guessing until the very end.
About the Author
Georgette Heyer was a talented writer of historical romance and detective fiction. She began her writing career in 1921 with the novel The Black Moth, which she had originally written as a story for her younger brother.
In 1925, Georgette married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer who later became a barrister. He often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers.
Every year beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller.
Despite being a best-selling author, Heyer was a very private person who never sought publicity. She never made public appearances, gave interviews, and only responded to fan letters that made interesting historical points.
Heyer wrote one novel under the pseudonym Stella Martin.
Her Georgian and Regency romance novels were inspired by history. While some critics found the level of detail in her books to be excessive, others regarded it as Heyer’s greatest strength.
Georgette Heyer established and popularized the historical romance genre, especially the subgenre of Regency romance. Her books remain cherished by many readers today.
Georgette Heyer is a renowned British author whose works have inspired countless readers and writers alike. Her novel, “Why Shoot a Butler?,” is a classic mystery tale that was first published in 1933.
Heyer was known for her incredible skills in crafting compelling narratives that combine suspense, humor, and romance in equal measure. Set in the idyllic countryside of England during the 1930s, “Why Shoot a Butler?” follows the story of a young, wealthy American, Frank Amberley, who sets out to investigate the murder of a butler at his friend’s house.
The story is told from the perspectives of the various characters in the novel, from Amberley’s point of view to that of the police and the suspects themselves, including the victim’s headstrong daughter. Heyer’s ability to create a cleverly constructed and engaging plot is evident in this well-crafted mystery.
The main characters, particularly Amberley, are well-developed and distinctive, with their own unique traits and quirks that make them likable and relatable. The diverse cast of suspects, the secluded rural location, and the underlying currents of class and gender issues, make for a gripping and intriguing read.
One of the most impressive aspects of Heyer’s writing in this novel is her attention to detail. She brings to life the charm and social conventions of the English countryside during this period with vivid descriptions of the décor, clothing, and mannerisms of the characters.
Heyer also explores the societal structures of the time, revealing how they operate and influence the characters’ relationships with each other. Despite the strengths of this novel, there are a few drawbacks that should be addressed.
The pacing of the plot might feel slow at times, and some of the characters’ lines may feel too formal or outdated for contemporary readers. However, these minor flaws do not detract from the overall excellence of Heyer’s storytelling.
In conclusion, “Why Shoot a Butler?” is a classic mystery novel that is sure to delight fans of the genre. Heyer’s skillful writing and attention to detail make the book an immersive, engaging, and satisfying read.
Although the novel was written nearly a century ago, it remains a relevant, exciting, and entertaining read for readers of all ages. It would be a great addition to any bookshelf, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
I give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars.