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Frank Amberley is a barrister who stumbles onto a dead man on his way to a dinner party. The dead man is in a car, shot. Beside the car is a young lady with a gun. After checking the gun, seeing it hadn't been fired and convincing himself she had nothing to do with it, Amberley lets the girl go. He stops off at the police station to tell them and then, naturally, goes to the dinner party. One musn't be so rude as to allow something like murder interfere with dinner plans. You might offend the host.
And so begins our mystery. Seriously, that's the first few pages.
Amberley is an arrogant but likable sleuth. He sets out to find out who killed the man who - yes, happens to be a butler. HIs banter with the wrong-place-wrong-time young woman, Shirley, is awkward at first but grew on me. Ms. Heyer is a witty author. Her turn of phrase is amusing. I thought "oh that was clever" more than once after reading a passage. The antics Amberley goes through while handling local authorities and flightly relatives were fun to read.
My favorite character, without a doubt, was Lady Matthews, a friend and relative who helps Amberley. She is older, amusing and puts Amberley in his place. Loved when she was on the page.
I couldn't go above three stars because the denouement was 22 pages. Twenty-two pages. I was halfway through it and thought wow, this is a really long explanation. Two-thirds of the way through I just didn't care anymore. The butler is dead- lets move on. Needless to say if you're confused by anything in this book, just wait til the end - it shall be explained in painstaking detail.
But that's just me. Overall an enjoyable read. Finally done with my first Heyer novel!