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They Found Him Dead (Inspector Hannasyde Series #3)

They Found Him Dead (Inspector Hannasyde Series #3)

4.0 17
by Georgette Heyer

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The sixtieth birthday party of Silas Kane was marred by argument and dissension among his family. And then, the morning after the celebrations, Kane is found dead at the foot of a cliff. When Kane’s nephew is also murdered, all clues point to an elderly lady of eighty as the killer. But as the redoubtable Superintendent Hannasyde discovers, nothing is quite


The sixtieth birthday party of Silas Kane was marred by argument and dissension among his family. And then, the morning after the celebrations, Kane is found dead at the foot of a cliff. When Kane’s nephew is also murdered, all clues point to an elderly lady of eighty as the killer. But as the redoubtable Superintendent Hannasyde discovers, nothing is quite as it seems.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Entertaining, suspenseful and witty." - CelticLady's Reviews

"The writing style reminded me of Agatha Christie." - Palmer's Picks for Reading

"Talk about your big whodunit, Georgette Heyer lays out a great murder mystery. " - Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My!

"One of my favorite mysteries from Heyer. " - Okbo Lover

"The bodies pile up right from the start in this delightful, fast-paced 1930's British murder mystery." - Linda Banche Romance Author Blog

"Heyer brings her characters to life on the page with all their distinct personalities, weaknesses, strengths and loyalties." - Pudgy Penguin Perusals

"Each character description is precise, right down to their clothes and hobbies, making them vivid and easy to remember. " - Thoughts From and Evil Overlord

"Delightfully ridiculous!" - Devourer of Books

Talk about your big whodunit, Georgette Heyer lays out a great murder mystery.
— Stormi Johnson
Palmer's Picks for Reading
The writing style reminded me of Agatha Christie.
— Melissa Palmer
CelticLady's Reviews
Entertaining, suspenseful and witty.
Okbo Lover
One of my favorite mysteries from Heyer.
— Caroline Chue

Product Details

Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Publication date:
Inspector Hannasyde Series , #3
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.87(h) x 0.79(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One

Miss Allison thought that Silas Kane's sixtieth birthday party was going off rather better than anyone had imagined it would. Such family gatherings — for the Mansells, through long business partnership with Silas, might almost be ranked as relatives — were, in Miss Allison's sage opinion, functions to be attended in a spirit of considerable trepidation. Nor had this one promised well at its inception. To begin with, Silas was at polite variance with old Joseph Mansell. Their disagreement was purely on a matter of business, but although Joseph Mansell, a husband and a father, had existence outside the offices of Kane and Mansell, Silas and his business were one and indivisible. He was not, at the best of times, a man who contributed largely to the gaiety of an evening party. He was invariably civil, in an old-world style that seemed to suit his neat little imperial and the large stock-ties he wore, and he would listen as patiently to a discussion on Surréalism as to the description of the bird life on the Farne Islands which was being imparted to him at the moment by Agatha Mansell. Both subjects bored him, but he inclined his head with an assumption of interest, smiled kindly and coldly, and said Indeed! or Is that so? at the proper moments.

Miss Allison, glancing from his thin, pale face, with its austere mouth and its calm, aloof eyes, to Mrs Mansell's countenance, wondered whether a realisation of her host's complete indifference to her conversation would shake Agatha Mansell's magnificent assurance. Probably it would not. Mrs Mansell had been to college in the days when such a distinction earned for a woman the title of Blue-Stocking and the right to think herself superior to her less fortunate sisters. She had preserved through thirty years this pleasant feeling of superiority and an alarmingly cultured voice which could make itself heard without the least vulgar effort above any number of less commanding accents.

'We were disappointed at seeing no gunnets,' announced Mrs Mansell. 'Of course, when we were on Ionah last year we saw hundreds of gunnets.'

'Ah, is that so indeed?' said Silas Kane.
'I saw a film about a lot of gannets once,' suddenly remarked young Mr Harte. He added disparagingly: 'It wasn't too bad.'

Neither Silas nor Mrs Mansell paid any heed to this contribution to the conversation, and young Mr Harte, who was rising fifteen, returned unabashed to the rending of a drum-stick.

Young Mr Harte was not really a member of the family, but his mother, by reason of her first marriage with Silas's nephew James, ranked in the Kanes' estimation as a Kane. James had been killed in the Great War, and although the Kanes bore no ill-will towards Sir Adrian Harte, they could never understand why Norma, who was left in comfortable circumstances, had taken it into her head to marry him.

Neither Norma nor Sir Adrian was present at this gathering. Norma, who had developed in her thirties a passion for penetrating into the more inaccessible parts of the world, was believed to be amongst pygmies and gorillas in the Belgian Congo, and Sir Adrian, though invited to the party, had excused himself with a vague and graceful plea of a previous engagement. He had sent in his stead, however, his son Timothy, in charge of Jim Kane, his stepson, who was even now trying to catch Miss Allison's eye over the bank of flowers in the middle of the table.

Timothy had come to stay. Jim had brought him down in his cream-coloured sports car with a charming note from Sir Adrian. Sir Adrian had providentially remembered that Silas, upon the occasion of Timothy's last visit, had said that he must come again whenever he liked and for as long as he liked, and Sir Adrian, confronted by the task of amusing his son during the eight weeks of his summer holidays, decided that the day of Timothy's liking to visit Cliff House again had dawned. Miss Allison, sedately avoiding Jim Kane's eye, wondered what young Mr Harte would find to do in a household containing herself in attendance upon an old lady of over eighty years, and Silas Kane. He enlightened her. 'Are there any decent films on in Portlaw this month, Miss Allison?' he inquired. 'I don't mean muck about love and that sort of thing, but really good films, with G men and gangsters and things.'

Miss Allison confessed ignorance, but said that she would obtain a list of the entertainments offered.

'Oh, thanks, awf'ly; but I can easily buzz into Portlaw on my bike,' said Mr Harte. 'I sent it by train, and I dare say it'll be at the station now, though actually when you send things by train they don't arrive until years after you do.' He refreshed himself with a draught of ginger beer, and added with a darkling look across the table: 'As a matter of fact, it was complete drivel sending it by train at all; but some people seem to think nothing matters but their own rotten paint-work.'

Jim Kane, at whom this embittered remark was levelled, grinned amiably, and recommended his half-brother to put a sock in it.

Miss Allison glanced down the long table to where her employer was seated. Old Mrs Kane, who was over eighty, had been carried downstairs to grace her son's birthday party, not against her wishes (for she would have thought it impossible that any function should be held at Cliff House without her), but firmly denying any expectation of enjoyment. 'I shall have Joseph Mansell on my right and Clement on my left,' she decreed.

Miss Allison, who filled the comprehensive role of companion-secretary to Emily Kane, ventured to suggest that more congenial dinner partners might be found than the two selected by her employer.

'It is Joe Mansell's right to take the seat of honour,' responded Mrs Kane bleakly. 'And Clement is senior to Jim.'

So there was Emily Kane, sitting very upright in her chair at the end of the table, with Joe Mansell, a heavy man with gross features and a hearty laugh, seated on one side of her, and on the other, her great-nephew Clement, the very antithesis of Joe Mansell, but equally displeasing to her.

Meet the Author

Georgette Heyer who wrote over fifty novels died in 1974.

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They Found Him Dead 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
LindaBanche More than 1 year ago
The bodies pile up right from the start in this delightful, fast-paced 1930's British murder mystery. As an avid Regency fan, I know and love Miss Heyer's historical romances. But I had no idea she also wrote contemporary mysteries. Contemporary, that is, when she wrote them in the 1930's. I love British mysteries from that period--art deco furniture and decorations, sleek, romantic clothes, and dialog chock-full of the idioms of the day. The "Him" of the title is Mr. Silas Kane, patriarch of the wealthy Kane family and senior partner in the firm of Kane and Mansell. The story opens at Silas's sixtieth birthday party, introducing us to the eccentric cast of characters and the story setup when Silas refuses to do business with an Australian firm his partner, Joe Mansell, champions. The next day, Silas is found dead, apparently having tumbled off a cliff on his nightly walk. An accident, surely. The firm, and the disagreement, passes to his nephew, Clement, who welcomes his uncle's fortune so that he can pamper his spoiled wife, Rosemary. Alas, Clement's riches last only a short time, because, in a matter of days, he is found shot to death in Silas's library. Murder is definitely in the picture now, and the local police summon a Scotland Yard superintendent to untangle the case. Who murdered Clement? Was Silas also murdered? Suspicion falls on everyone from Silas's starchy mother, Emily, to her self-contained companion, Patricia, to her grand-nephew, Jim, who is Patricia's fiancee and now the senior partner in the company. Other suspects include Trevor, Rosemary's oily would-be lover, the Mansells, father and slippery son, and even Oscar, the genial representative of the Australian firm. About the only person not suspected is Jim's half-brother, fifteen-year-old Timothy, who has overdosed on American gangster films and "helps" the police, thereby earning the nickname of "Terrible Timothy". (Hint, one of the suspects listed here is the murderer.) The story is a page-turner, funny, and I didn't figure out the murderer until Miss Heyer revealed the culprit at the end. All in all, a highly enjoyable read, and a book I couldn't put down. I look forward to reading Miss Heyer's other mysteries.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I find that when I read Georgette Heyer novels, I keep on thinking; "Okay this one was better than the last one I read..." then I read this one and it's like: "Okay nevermind, this one was THE BEST one I've read so far!" I have a feeling that's going to keep happening whenever I read one of her mysteries (I still have yet to try her regency ones). I absolutely loved this one and will put this one up as one of my favorite mysteries from Heyer as of yet. As usual, there is a rather large list of suspects and everyone seems to have some sort of motive for the murder. However, what's different from this book and the others is, I found there was quite a bit more action and the characters in this book have much more personality and are "fleshed" out, and they have their own distinct personalities. The action added a lot more intrigue to the book and kept me interested. I had a hunch who was behind the plot, but because of the frequent twists and the suspicion being thrown all over the place I kept on second guessing myself. However, even though my first guess was right, the way it was solved was interesting and never the way I expected it to be. The plot was engaging and intriguing. It's not a thriller per se, but it's got the feel of a classic whodunit mystery which will keep the reader interested. There's a bit of comedy included, with witty backtalk and remarks that will induce a chuckle or two. As I have mentioned previously, the characters in this book were one of the most interesting I've ever read from Heyer's works. Rosemary has to be one of the most annoying and most self absorbed I have ever read. Although she was extremely irritating, she also made me laugh the most because of her stupidities, and the fact that although other characters have told her to be quiet, it just doesn't faze her. I liked Lady Harte even though her arrival in the book is a little too late. She was sharp and the way she had spoken to Rosemary was funny and to the point (Eventually, I think Rosemary got the hint). The only complaint I had with this book is, it got a little dry towards the end of the book. You don't literally find out who was behind the murders until the last few pages. It went in a mini circle for no reason. Otherwise, this is one of Heyer's better mysteries. Overall, an enjoyable read filled with mystery and intrigue. Greatly recommended for Georgette Heyer mystery fans everywhere.
Ladystorm More than 1 year ago
Silas Kane just turned sixty and everyone has gathered for the occasion. The party is not going so well as it is marred with arguments. When money is involved nothing can ever go well. Silas decides to go for a walk in the fog and the next morning he is found dead. Everyone thinks it was just a accident, that he slipped and fell of the cliff in the fog, but then someone shoots Clement, the hier. Now we can tell that this murder mystery is all about who will inherit, Silas Kane's money and who has the greatest motive to kill. Everyone is a suspect, Mrs. Kane didn't even shed a tear when she heard her husband was dead. Rosemary couldn't wait to move into the bigger house and get more money. Mr. Harte was always saying something about knowing that the night looked like a great time for a murder. Joe Mansell was mad because Silas wouldn't expand the firm like he and his partners wanted. Everyone has a motive for murder, but who is the real killer and why? Talk about your big whodunit, Georgette Heyer lays out a great murder mystery in her book They Found Him Dead. This one the first book I have ever read by this author and its a classic (1937) I wish I could say that I had some great authors to compare her too from these early era's but I am sorry to say I have not read as much of the classics as I would like too. Shame on me I know, but I have never even read a Agatha Christy novel, but I am sure Georgette Heyer would rank up there with her in great murder mystery authors. It was a little hard for me to read about times, but most classics are if you are not use to them. Books from different time era's just read different. That doesn't mean that she couldn't deliver a great book. I always thought I might have guessed who had done it, but I was a bit surprised at the ending. The characters reminded me a bit of reading a Austen novel, the were funny and witty and loathed each other. It is always fun to read about rich families and how much they pretend to love each other as long as they get the money. Though sometimes the dialogue was hard for me to follow, it was fun and brough the characters to life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of whodunits.
CelticLadyWI More than 1 year ago
They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer is a delightful little read with an equally delightful cover. I can't say that I judge a book by its cover but I really like these cute little mysteries and their covers. The cast of characters in this mystery are a great mix. You have the two deaths at the beginning of the story Silas Kane and his cousin Clement Kane. Everyone is suspicious of everyone else and everyone comes under suspicion. Clement Kane's wife Rosemary is spending her husbands money like it is going out of style. Emma Kane is the crotchety old matriarch of the Kane family and really not liked by anyone so she is numero uno suspect. Stepbrothers Jim Kane, who is the next heir and "young Mr. Harte" Timmy are suspects also. Sir Adrian Harte who is the father to Timmy and stepfather to Jim is another quaint character. Lady Harte (the mother) is somewhere in the Congo but does show up eventually. Timmy insinuates himself into the investigation with his own theories and has his own mishap with a sinking boat that also makes him suspicious.So Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway(characters in other Heyer mysteries) have their work cut out for them in investigating the deaths.. Miss Patricia Allison, assistant to Emma, is engaged to Jim Kane and they also have a mishap with a car so it almost looks like Jim could be next on the murderers list. Mixed in with the suspects are Silas and Clement Kane's business partners, Joe and his son Paul Mansell along with Oscar Roberts who have a scheme to what they call "the Australian deal". The Kanes, deceased, did not really like the deal that Oscar had and did not want to participate. So with this colorful cast of characters this story is a who dunnit that keeps you hooked to the end to find out who the killer is. There are other minor characters, the maid, butler and some nosy neighbors. All this comes together nicely so that I was surprised at the end as to who the murderer actually was. No the butler didn't do it.. It is refreshing to read books that are entertaining and suspenseful and witty. I liked this book so much I have three more mysteries to read. If you want a light fun read, this is it. I highly recommend it... I did not get paid for this review..
mammadukes More than 1 year ago
This is classic British mystery - and enjoyable book to read & relax with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JEGL More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book by Georgette Heyer I have ever read. Her mysteries are not up to the standard of her straight novels and "They Found Him Dead" is not up to the standard of her mysteries. Try another book.
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Fun to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read by an author I first read 45 years ago. Years have not dulled the interest. It has spanned the years gracefully.
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