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Experience Georgette Heyer's sparkling dialogue in one of her most popular mysteries.It's no ordinary morning at the Poplars - the master is found dead in his bed and it turns out that his high blood pressure was not the cause of death. Heyer uses her attention to detail and brilliant characterizations to concoct a baffling crime for which every single member of the quarrelsome family has a motive, and none, of course, has an alibi. Heyer's sparkling dialogue is a master class in British wit, sarcasm and the intricacies of life above and below stairs.
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Excerpt:It was going to be a fine day. There was a white mist curling away in wreaths over the Heath that told Mary, standing on the half-landing with the dustpan in her hand, and gazing out through the tall window, that it would be sunny and really warm by lunch-time. She would be able to wear the blue voile after all, in spite of Rose's gloomy forebodings. Rose said that it always rained on anybody's half-day. Well, it wasn't going to rain today, not if Mary knew the signs.
She leaned up against the window, watching the mist, approving the heavy dew that lay like a grey sheet over the lawn in front of the house.
It was early. The Heath, which later on would be scattered over with children, and nurses pushing perambulators, seemed quite deserted, nor was there any traffic upon the road that lay between the iron gates of the Poplars and the edge of the Heath. Craning her neck, Mary could obtain a glimpse of the next-door house through a gap in the trees. Curtains still drawn on the backstairs, she noted. Well, she didn't blame the girls at Holly Lodge, she was sure. If your master and mistress went away to the seaside you were entitled to take your ease. Not but what those girls were a lazy lot of sluts, come to think of it. Common, too. Like mistress like maid, said Rose, and that was true enough. She wasn't any class, Mrs Rumbold.
Mary turned her head, transferring her gaze from Holly Lodge to the house on the other side of the Poplars. It was a smaller house, and she could not see much of it, but she noticed that the garage doors were open. That meant that the doctor had been called out early. It was a shame the way people sent for the doctor at all hours, and half the time for nothing more serious than an attack of indigestion, so Miss Stella said. A real gentleman he was, too, and ever so handsome! She didn't wonder at Miss Stella being sweet on him. It was a pity the Master had taken such a dislike to him. For they all knew in the servants' hall that he had, just as they knew about the trouble with Mr Guy, who wanted money for that queer business he ran with that Mr Brooke, and whom the Master wanted to send off to South America. You'd have to be a pretty fool if you didn't know most of what was going on in this house, what with the Master going in off the deep end and the doctor being called in for his Blood Pressure; and Miss Harriet coming out with bits of talk to anybody, even the kitchen-maid; Mrs Matthews taking to her bed because of all the worry about poor Mr Guy; and Mr Guy himself talking it all over with Miss Stella without so much as bothering to see if anyone was listening. Oh no, there were precious few secrets at the Poplars! Too many people cooped up together, thought Mary, vigorously sweeping the last six stairs. It never did to have two families under the same roof : there was bound to be a lot of squabbling, especially when you got an old girl like Miss Harriet behaving sometimes as though she was downright simple, and at other times showing you she was as sharp as a needle, and as mean as - Mary couldn't think of anything as mean as Miss Harriet. Potty, that's what she was. You'd only got to see her collecting all the little bits of soap left over, and using them up herself, just as though she hadn't a penny to bless herself with. Regular old magpie, she was. Now, Mrs Matthews wasn't like that, give her her due. She was a nuisance all right, what with her glasses of hot water, and trays up to her room, but she wasn't one to go poking her nose into store-cupboards.
Behold, Here's PoisonBy: Georgette Heyer