Description from Goodreads:
Tragedy befalls the Carter family following an eventful visit from a Russian prince and a scandalous blackmail letter. The murder of Wally Carter is a bewildering mystery — how does one shoot a man crossing a narrow bridge without being near the murder weapon when it is fired? The analytical Inspector Hemingway reveals his unnerving talent for solving a fiendish problem.
Last year during the month of August, Sourcebooks put all of the electronic versions of Ms. Heyer’s books on sale for $1.99 on Smashwords, which Amazon quickly price matched. As a result, I ended up buying around 30 books. A number of them were her Regency style romances, but included in them was some historical fiction and two separate mystery series of 4 books each. I read some of the romances, then got sidetracked until last week, when I was looking for a mystery novel to read while I was working through The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, from my classics club challenge.
No Wind of Blame is my first Heyer mystery, and is also the first in her Inspector Hemingway series. Overall, I enjoyed it, although I don’t think that her mysteries are as charming as her regencies, and I don’t think that she meets the standard of quality of some of the other writers of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, most particularly Dorothy Sayers.
But, in any event, this is a very light-hearted book. There is a murder that occurs about a quarter of the way into the book, and then Inspector Hemingway himself isn’t introduced until about halfway into the book. It is in the English Country House tradition of books, with a puzzle solution that has to be unraveled by our fine inspector from Scotland Yard. Because Inspector Hemingway is introduced rather late in the book, he remains a bit of a cipher. There is definitely not the same type of character development of the main detective in this book as would be seen in a book featuring Hercule Poirot or Peter Wimsey.
Many of the common themes from this era of detective fiction are found in this book. There is foreign royalty (a Russian Prince), a spendthrift, unfaithful husband, an unethical hanger-on, and a flighty drama queen. There is also a side story related to a romantic attachment between the handsome and somewhat staid young solicitor, Hugh, and the heroine of the book. Ms. Heyer does do a bit of bait and switch with this storyline, although it is fairly easy to see that coming. I would actually have liked to see more of the romance, since I really liked Hugh. The solution of the mystery is clever, but not very realistic.
This book would be good for fans of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, and although I can’t say that it is quite up to their standards, I did enjoy it enough that I followed it up by reading Envious Casca, Heyer’s second Inspector Hemingway mystery.
Star Rating: 3 stars