William F. Deeck


  GEORGETTE HEYER – A Blunt Instrument. E. P. Dutton, hardcover reprint, 1970. First UK edition: Hodder & Stoughton, hardcover, 1938. First US edition: Doubleday, hardcover, 1938. Also: Bantam, paperback, 1973; Berkley, paperback, 1987.

   Police Constable Glass, following his appointed rounds, discovers the bludgeoned body of Ernest Fletcher in his study. Fletcher was not a well-loved man, but his only major fault appears to have been womanizing.

   Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway begin an investigation. No weapon is found on the scene, a woman’s footprints are in the garden, and apparently Fletcher had had a busy evening with people both known and unknown visiting him. After comparing the stories of the various participants, Hannasyde and Hemingway nearly conclude that Fletcher, despite the reality of his corpse, could not have been killed. There just wasn’t time for it.


   To add to their problems, P.C. G!ass, who aids in the investigation, is an inveterate quoter of the Bible, usually from the Old Testament and mostly of the unhappier sort.

   Who, how, and why do manage to get sorted out. The who and how I had, most uncommon for me, figured out; the why is not explained until the end. If Heyer didn’t fool me, she probably won’t fool anyone else, either.

   But don’t let that stop you from reading this one. It’s a good investigation, and there are some quite amusing characters in the monocled young lady mystery writer and Fletcher’s nephew, Neville, who would like to be thought of as a ne’er-do-well. Plus, Hannasyde and Hemingway are engaging investigators.

— From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1988.

       The Supt. Hannasyde & Sgt. Hemingway series —

Death in the Stocks, Hodder, 1935
Behold, Here’s Poison!, Hodder, 1936
They Found Him Dead, Hodder, 1937
A Blunt Instrument, Hodder, 1938


       The Inspector Hemingway series

No Wind of Blame. Hodder 1939
Envious Casca. Hodder 1941
Duplicate Death. Heinemann 1951

   For more on Georgette Heyer and her detective fiction, the best place to start would be her page on the Golden Age of Detection Wiki here.