Since this is my first post for the 1940 Club, I’ll include my list of other books published in 1940 that I have already reviewed:
- Mariana by Monica Dickens
- The Hamlet by William Faulkner
- Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck
- The Stone of Chastity by Margery Sharp
- Cheerfulness Breaks In by Angela Thirkell
I was happy to reread The Corinthian for the club because I hadn’t read it in some time. It is one of Heyer’s sillier, unlikelier plots, and I found it delightful.
Richard Wyndham is handsome, wealthy, impeccable in appearance, and bored. When a family deputation informs him it’s time he got married and tells him Melissa Brandon considers herself all but engaged to him, he calls on her. He finds an icy, self-possessed young lady ready to make a marriage of convenience to help her family financially. With the prospect of calling on her father the next morning, Richard goes out and gets drunk.
During his subsequent rambles, he spots a boy climbing out of an upper-story window on a rope of knotted sheets that is unfortunately too short. When he catches the boy, he finds he is a girl. Pen Creed is escaping her family, as her aunt is trying to force her to marry her cousin for her money. When Richard finds Pen will not go home, he decides to accompany her to make sure nothing happens to her. She is on the way to the home of her old friend, Piers Luttrell, who vowed to marry her five years ago.
Richard finds himself experiencing many new things, starting with a stagecoach ride during which the coach is overturned. They meet a thief on the stage and soon learn that someone has stolen the famed Brandon diamonds. As if that wasn’t enough, they find a murdered man, assist a damsel in distress, and end up telling many fibs. Richard soon enough realizes he’s in love with Pen, but he can’t say so while she’s under his protection—and perhaps she’s still in love with Piers.
Heyer is always amusing and I had a lot of fun with this one.