The premise of The Unfinished Clue is the murder of Sir Arthur Billington-Smith in his country house. The book starts off with a promising, friendly weekend with quite a few people attending. Apparently, Sir Arthur is a highly disliked figure by all of the guests and members of the family living nearby. He is abusive towards his young wife Fay, he hates his son Geoffrey, whom he ends up disinheriting for being engaged to Miss Silva, a Spanish dancer with questionable character for a proper English lady, and besides Mrs. Camilla Halliday, Sir Arthur has something negative to say about pretty much everyone around him. No wonder they all hate him. One of these people hates him enough to kill him. And with the violent death of Sir Arthur the fun begins. Obviously everyone has a reason to murder him and not even the persons with alibis are beyond suspicion. Inspector Harding from Scotland Yard makes sure that this difficult case will get solved.
I have to say that for me it’s just impossible to not like Heyer’s writing. I don’t even put so much importance on the murder mystery as on the dialogue and the characterization. I loved the ladies’ snappy and quite often cruel remarks always disguised as polite, so as not to step outside of the decorum. It was really very witty and funny. All the characters, including the secondary ones, have so much depth surprisingly, and are so vividly portrayed that I can just imagine myself sitting amongst them all and forming opinions of who would be my friend, who I would cross words with and so forth. This is not to say that the plot was of no interest to me. I was absolutely and completely engaged in trying to solve this murder mystery ahead of Inspector Harding, and not surprisingly, I failed. The ending was quite unexpected and that’s what made The Unfinished Clue all the more delicious. This delightful book is, in my humble opinion, a perfect remedy for a gloomy mood and a thing to enjoy on a summer day at the beach (just make sure you put a lot of SPF on, as there’s a danger you might forget all about it as you start reading).
Special Thanks to Danielle J. from Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of this book.