Although Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances are some of the best historical fiction around, also entertaining are her few mystery novels, set in the time period in which they were written (this one in 1936). The only problem with many of them is that the murderer is frequently the only unlikeable character (except the victim, usually) and therefore highly identifiable. However, Heyer’s novels are character driven, and her lifelike and amusing characters are what make them so enjoyable.
There are plenty of characters to dislike in Behold, Here’s Poison. Gregory Matthews is found dead at his country home. His family assumes the death is because of his bad heart, but the police find traces of nicotine poisoning.
Suddenly, all of the surviving Matthews are suspects, including the domineering Aunt Gertrude, hypocritical Zoë Matthews, and malicious nephew Randall. Inspector Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway find that one big stumbling block is their difficulty in figuring out how the poison was administered.
The dialog is especially witty in this novel and the characters lively. As always, Heyer is a brilliant writer.