The death of Adam Penhallow on the eve of his birthday seems, at first, to be by natural causes.
He was elderly after all. But Penhallow wasn't well liked. He had ruled over his estate with an iron will and a sharp tongue.
He had played one relative off against another. He was so bad tempered and mean that both his servants and his family hated him.
It soon transpires that far from being a peaceful death, Penhallow was, in fact, murdered, and poisoned.
With his family gathered to celebrate his birthday, and servants that both feared and despised him, there are more than a dozen prime suspects.
But which one of them turned hatred into murder?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 04/01/2007
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780099493686
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
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Review by ryn_books
Not as engaging as other Heyer mysteries I've read. Well written and the characters are drawn well. However I didn't like any of them, nor cared what happened to them. The writing conveyed very effectively how dysfunctional the entire family is. The fact that I disliked them all so much made me lose pleasure and interest in what I was reading.However other readers may enjoy this as a purely psychological thriller set in the very-English 1930's class-ridden era.
Review by riverwillow
Hmm according to Wikipedia following a lunch with someone from Hodder and Stoughton (her then publishers) Heyer felt patronised and as a result wrote Penhallow. Apparently Hodder refused to publish the book in the UK, although Heinemann picked up the rights - she also parted ways with Doubleday, her US publishers, following publication and I can see why. It's a hard book to read, filled as it is with unpleasant characters, and has very little of Heyer's usually sparkling prose. It also takes a very long time to get to the murder. I'm glad I read it as it completes the set, but that is the best I can say about this.
Review by Condorena
I agree with most of the reviewers. I love Georgette Heyer but this was a terrible book, full of terrible people living horrible lives and making no effort to change them. Talk about misery. The only person more miserable is the reader. I had to break the pattern and leave the misery behind by leaping to the end which was in the end very unsatisfying. This is the only Heyer I will get rid of. I do not recommend that anyone spend any time on it. It was depressing as well.
Review by goet0095
I'm so annoyed with this book I can barely write a review!!!<br/>This book is by Georgette Heyer, the "Queen of Mystery and Suspense", according to the book cover. This book is not a mystery!!!!!!<br/>It took until 3/4ths into the book for the evil patriarch to get murdered. I don't care if I ruin this for everyone, because it was a horrible book and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Before the father gets murdered, the author describes his 2nd wife putting poison in his whiskey, which he drinks every night. That is basically what happens in this book. That's it. I was so annoyed when I finished this book that I threw it across the room. My husband got up and retrieved it so I could throw it one more time! This was slightly satisfying.
Review by Helenliz
This is an unusual book. Instead of the crime happening at the beginning, it takes place mid way and you know who did it. The police also don't solve the crime at the end. they know that what they have got as a solution is wrong, what they don't have is the missing pieces to show how and where it is wrong. The Penhallow of the title is Adam Penhallow, master of Trevelin. He is a tyrant and rules his family with an iron will, a nasty temper and a mean streak. A number of them live at home, and for his birthday he gradually draws them all closer. They are a mixed bag, some of the more likeable than others. Over the course of the book the family history is described and some startling news changes how some of them view themselves and the others. I thought it quite inventive and well put together. The characters were all well drawn (if not all well balanced!) and they all interact in a believable way. It ends in a nicely ambiguous way, with things not seeming to turn out the way that had been imagined with the old man removed.
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