Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy birthday, Georgette Heyer.

Georgette Heyer, beloved for her lively and meticulously researched Regency romances but also a fine mystery writer, was born on August 16, 1902. She died in 1974.

Heyer actually wrote her mysteries in conjunction with her husband, George Ronald Rougier. A particular favorite of mine is Behold, Here's Poison, with the son and heir who specializes in insulting all his relations, the born-again lady who insists on "testifying" at dinner, and a pseudo-prince who is constantly confused with the family dog (also named Prince). A friend of mine singles out Envious Casca as his favorite, dubbing it "the house party from hell."

A common affliction among Heyerites is reading and rereading her paperbacks until they fall apart, and then one must purchase new copies. My favorites among her Regencies include Cotillion (where Heyer accomplishes a rather neat switch on who we imagine the love interest to be), The Toll Gate (restless ex-soldier finds skullduggery and love in the countryside), and Frederica (bored marquis finds more than he bargained for in a pack of distant relatives).

For more on Heyer, you can read The Private World of Georgette Heyer by fellow novelist Jane Aiken Hodge, and Georgette Heyer: A Critical Retrospective has all sorts of intriguing material, including articles and short stories by Heyer. Go here to learn more about the Yahoogroup that discusses Heyer's work. Malice Domestic Ltd. has selected Heyer as its 2007 Ghost of Honor.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Interesting piece.I have been a Heyer fan for many years. Love both her mysteries and her regencies.
My favourite of hers is The Grand Sophy but only just, as I love all her work. You are so right about the re- reading my copies are well worn too.