REGENCY BUCK (1935) The first Regency and a sparkling, tempestuous tale in which beautiful, strong-willed Judith Taverner pits her wits against her unlikely guardian, Julian Audley, the fifth Earl of Worth.
AN INFAMOUS ARMY (1937) It’s 1815 and we meet Judith and Julian again, this time in Brussels. Napoleon had escaped, the Duke of Wellington comes to town and the Duchess of Richmond gives her famous ball. It is the eve of Waterloo and Heyer’s account of the Battle remains one of her finest achievements.
THE CORINTHIAN (1940) The adventures of the notable whip, dandy and Corinthian, Sir Richard ‘Beau’ Wyndham, who, on the eve of his marriage, rescues a delightful young runaway and helps her(dressed as a boy) escape from London. Pure escapism and full of fun.
THE SPANISH BRIDE (1940) A drumhead wedding on the battlefield and Major Harry Smith marries his beautiful Spanish child-bride, Juana Los Dolores de León. It is a marriage of passion and desire but England is at war with Napoleon and there is danger everywhere. Based on a true story.
FRIDAY’S CHILD (1944) Heyer’s personal favourite and brilliantly told. In a fit of pique, young, irresponsible Lord Sheringham marries the first girl he sees – his childhood friend, naïve Hero Wantage. She has loved him forever but Sherry has a lot to learn about love and marriage. Readers will adore Ferdy, Gil and George!
THE RELUCTANT WIDOW (1946) A Gothic parody in which lovely Elinor Rochdale finds herself married at midnight, widowed at dawn and heiress to a great house, all at the behest of the annoyingly calm Lord Edward Carlyon. Great fun.
THE FOUNDLING (1948) A very different hero, the shy young Duke of Sale has endured years of rigorous mollycoddling and is desperate to break free. When an opportunity to escape appears in the form of the beautiful foundling, Belinda, the Duke is plunged into a series of remarkable adventures. One to reread.
ARABELLA (1949) The daughter of an impoverished country parson, Arabella dreams of a London Season. A benevolent godmother grants her wish, but when Arabella encounters that most eligible Nonpareil, Robert Beaumaris, she is provoked into a deceitful charade… Utterly delightful.
THE GRAND SOPHY (1950) An all-time favourite, Sophy is like its heroine, Sophy Stanton-Lacy: feisty, fast-paced, engaging and triumphant. And who can forget po-faced Eugenia, tyrannical Charles, prosy Lord Bromford, Hubert, Cecilia, or Augustus Fawnhope? A glorious novel.
THE QUIET GENTLEMEN (1951) When Gervase Frant, seventh Earl of St Erth returns home from Waterloo he detects open disappointment that he has survived. Only his cousin Theo and their observant guest, Drusilla Morville, seem pleased to see him only – is someone trying to kill him? One of Heyer’s anti-heroines.
COTILLION (1953) A deliciously clever book with plenty of twists and turns and laugh-out-loud moments. When penniless heiress, Kitty Charing, is told she must marry or lose her inheritance she escapes to London with the help of her kind cousin Freddy. A marvellous imbroglio.
THE TOLL GATE (1954) A lovely tale set in the Derbyshire country complete with smugglers, masquerade, a highwayman, a strong-minded heroine and Heyer’s tallest hero, the swoon-worthy, Captain John Staple. Definitely a keeper.
BATH TANGLE (1955) Mourning her beloved father, Lady Serena Carlow is horrified to discover he has left her fortune to be administered by the Marquis of Rotherham – the man Serena once jilted. Her plans for the future all awry, Serena and her lovely young stepmother move to Bath where things become even more complicated…
SPRIG MUSLIN (1956) When that notable Corinthian, Sir Gareth Ludlow, finds Amanda wandering unattended along the road he feels honour-bound to restore her to her family. Unprepared for his reluctant charge’s vivid imagination and impetuous behaviour, Sir Gareth soon finds himself in the midst of an unexpected adventure.
APRIL LADY (1957) Nell has made a triumphant marriage to the Earl of Cardross but does she really love him and will her desperate attempts to save her scrapegrace brother end in disaster? A light-hearted romp on the path to true love.
SYLVESTER (1957) Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has a reputation for arrogance and it’s not only his mother who is disconcerted by his cold-blooded approach to marriage. The Hon. Phoebe Marlow will do almost anything to avoid his attentions – especially when she has written a novel and cast him as the villain. One of Heyer’s most delightful novels, rich in character and with more than one iimbroglio to entertain the reader.
VENETIA (1958) Beguiling, intelligent, and beautiful, Venetia and the renowned rake, Lord Damerel, are clearly soul-mates. But there’s many an obstacle on the path to true love, especially when society disapproves and there are others with more sedate plans for Venetia’s future. But Venetia is determined and her solution to overcoming all barriers is brilliant.. As apt and gorgeous a love match as Darcy and Elizabeth.
THE UNKNOWN AJAX (1959) One of Heyer’s most endearing heroes, Hugo Darracott, is a giant of a man endowed with a great sense of humour. Spurned by his paternal grandfather and unwelcome as the unexpected heir to the Darracott estate, the ‘weaver’s brat’ must face his new family’s hostility, smugglers and his firebrand cousin, the lovely Anthea Darracott.
PISTOLS FOR TWO (1960) An anthology of short stories to delight and entertain. Miss Heyer gives us delicious stories of affairs of honour between bucks and blades and affairs of the heart between heirs and orphans, beauties and bachelors. All the gallantry, villainy and elegance of the age that she has so triumphantly made her own.
A CIVIL CONTRACT(1961) Much loved by many Heyer readers the story of plain Jenny Chawleigh and her arranged marriage to Adam Deveril, the new Viscount Lynton is one to read again and again. Not least for Jenny’s father, the fabulously wealthy and magnificently vulgar, Jonathan Chawleigh. Even Heyer admitted he was one of her greatest comedic creations.
THE NONESUCH (1962) Sir Waldo Hawkridge is wealthy, handsome and eligible and his arrival in the small Yorkshire village of Oversett is guaranteed to throw its inhabitants into a frenzy of speculation and delight. Everyone wants to know ‘the Nonesuch’ but his interest lies seems to lie with lowly governess, Ancilla Trent.
FALSE COLOURS (1963) Another great example of why Heyer is known for her extraordinary plots and characterisation. When the Hon. Christopher Fancot is forced to impersonate his missing twin brother he is thrown into an unexpected imbroglio in which more than just the family fortunes are riding on his ability to hoodwink a quick-minded heiress.
BLACK SHEEP (1966) With one of Heyer’s truly original heroes in the outrageous and cynical Miles Calverleigh, this is a story certain to please. Bath society belle, Fanny Wendover, has her hands full with her strong-willed niece, Fanny, who seems determined to run away with a suspected fortune-hunter. Heyer’s fifth-second novel but as fresh and entertaining as her first.
COUSIN KATE (1968) A dark Regency with Gothic overtones that tells the story of orphaned Kate Malvern. After the death of her father, Kate feels doomed to a life of penury until she is rescued by her mysterious aunt Minerva and taken to live at the family mansion, Staplewood. There she meets her handsome, moody cousin, Torquil and her distant cousin, Philip. When strange things start to happen, Kate does not know who to turn to.
CHARITY GIRL (1970) When fate and a chivalrous impulse compel Viscount Desford to befriend a homeless waif, he little suspects the challenges Cherry Steane will bring into his life. His old friend, Henrietta Silverdale, wants to help but when Desford sets off on in pursuit of Cherrie’s appalling family, even she begins to wonder if he has fallen head-over-heels in love.
HER GEORGIAN NOVELS
THE BLACK MOTH (1921) Written when she was seventeen, Heyer’s first novel is a rollicking tale of adventure and romance. Jack Carstares, disgraced Earl of Wyncham, has taken to the road disguised as a highwayman. In this guise he foils an attempted abduction and crosses swords with the libertine Duke of Andover, ‘the Black Moth’. But the Duke is determined to have the lovely Diana Beauleigh and Jack must risk everything to save her.
THESE OLD SHADES (1926) Heyer’s most famous novel (written as a ‘sequel’ to the Black Moth) stars ‘Satanas’, the notorious Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon. Proud, cynical and world-weary, he seizes his chance for revenge when fate thrusts the red-headed orphan, Leon, in his path. From the splendours of Versailles to the dignified mansions of Georgian England, it’s all actions as Justin unfolds his sinister plans.
THE MASQUERADERS (1928) Written in a grass hut in Tanganyika, Heyer reveled in this tale of masquerade. Brother and sister, Robin and Prudence Merriot, have grown adept at the art of disguise. The children of a Jacobite with a price on his head they take on the guise of their opposite sex. But when Prue falls in love with Sir Anthony Fanshawe and Robin loses his heart to beautiful Letty Grayson everything is put at risk.
POWDER AND PATCH (1930) When beautiful Cleone Charteris cruelly rejects Philip Jettan’s marriage proposal he vows to become the man she thinks she wants. He goes to Paris and there begins to learn the art of being a ‘gentleman’ adept in all matters of love and war. But will Cleone want the powdered and perfumed society darling or is Philip forever lost to her?
DEVIL’S CUB (1932) The sequel to These Old Shades introduces us to the son of Satanas. The young Marquis of Vidal is a reckless gamester and a notorious lover and, when he shoots a man in a drunken duel, he is forced to flee the country. When cool-headed Mary Challoner discovers his plot to take her lovely sister with him she is determined to impersonate Sophia and foil his dastardly plot.
THE CONVENIENT MARRIAGE (1934) When seventeen-year-old Horatia Winwood learns that her older sister Elizabeth is to sacrifice her true love for the sake of the family and marry the Earl of Rule, she devises her own outrageous plan to solve everyone’s problems.
THE TALISMAN RING (1936) One of Heyer’s great comic novels, The Talisman Ring has adventure, mystery, murder and romance and some of the funniest dialogue in the Heyer canon.
FARO’S DAUGHTER (1941) A perennial favourite among readers, Faro’s Daughter is Deborah Grantham, mistress of her aunt’s gaming house and the target of wealthy Max Ravenscar’s determined efforts to separate her from his lovelorn young cousin.
HER DETECTIVE NOVELS
FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK (1932) Locals claim the Priory is haunted, but to Peter, Celia, and Margaret, it’s just the rundown house they’ve inherited from their late uncle and the perfect setting for a holiday. But when a murder victim is discovered in the drafty Priory halls, they begin to fear that the ghostly rumors are true. With a killer on the loose are they destined to be the next victims, or is there another, more earthly, explanation?
WHY SHOOT A BUTLER (1933) It’s a mystery why anyone would want to murder the trusted butler at Norton Manor. But when London barrister, Frank Amberley, stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers the corpse he has his suspicions. The girl protests her innocence and Amberley believes her—at least until he gets drawn in to the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up…
THE UNFINISHED CLUE (1934) A classic English country-house murder mystery, When the detestable Sir Arthur Billington-Smith is found stabbed to death, none of his guests is particularly grieved, until they find themselves under the scrutiny of Scotland Yard’s cool-headed young Inspector Harding
DEATH IN THE STOCKS (1935) A sleeping village and a local policeman finds a well-dressed corpse locked in the stocks on the village green. Andrew Vereker was not a well-loved man and so narrowing down the suspects won’t be easy. Especially when the Vereker family refuse to take his murder seriously. It’s another case for resourceful Superintendent Hannayside.
BEHOLD, HERE’S POISON (1936) It’s no ordinary morning at the Poplars after the master is found dead in his bed. Heyer concocts a brilliant and baffling crime for which every single member of the quarrelsome family has a motive, and none have an alibi. Heyer skewers human nature in one of her best mysteries, with shrewd, humorous insight and an antihero you’ll love to hate.
THEY FOUND HIM DEAD 1937 The morning after Silas Kane’s sixtieth birthday party is marred when he is found dead. A verdict of death by misadventure holds until his heir is shot and threats are made against the next in line to inherit Silas’s fortune. When the redoubtable Superintendent Hannasyde investigates, everything points to a most unlikely suspect but, as he digs deeper, Hannasyde discovers that nothing is quite as it seems…
A BLUNT INSTRUMENT (1938) WWhen Ernest Fletcher is found bludgeoned to death in his study, everyone is shocked. There’s no apparent motive for killing the perfect gentleman. But Superintendent Hannasyde uncovers one dirty little secret after another until there’s a host of people with reasons for wanting Fletcher dead. When a second murder is committed Hannasyde realises he’s up against a killer on a mission.
NO WIND OF BLAME (1939) An impossible murder and a host of suspects that includes a phony Russian prince, a neglected widow, her resentful daughter and an amorous neighbour make for a mystery so bewildering it will challenge even the resourceful Inspector Hemingway.
ENVIOUS CASCA (1941) A brilliant locked room murder and a Christmas party gone wrong make for a delightful mystery. One of Heyer’s cleverest detective novels with a memorable cast of characters. For Inspector Hemingway ’tis the season to find whodunit.
PENHALLOW (1942) Famous for its opening line: ‘Jimmy the Bastard was cleaning boots’ , Penhallow remains unique among Heyer’s novels. Its brooding atmosphere, its crime story in which the crime is no mystery to the reader and its extraordinary family, the Penhallows, make this compelling reading.
DUPLICATE DEATH (1951) A civilised game of Duplicate Bridge ends in a double murder. The crimes seem identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? Inspector Hemingway has the odds against him but in this witty mystery he doesn’t miss a trick.
DETECTION UNLIMITED (1953) No one in the village of Thornden liked old Sampson Warrenby but who hated him enough to put a bullet in his head? The squire, the vicar, the retired major, are only three of ten likely suspects. A neat murder mystery in a very English village.
HER HISTORICAL NOVELS
SIMON THE COLDHEART (1925) In a time of hand-to-hand combat and real knights in armor, Simon Beauvallet rises from poverty and obscurity to become friend to the future King Henry V. A bold warrior known for his silence and uncompromising principles, after the battle of Agincourt, Simon must besiege Belrémy, where the spitfire Lady Margaret engages him in a daring battle of wits. This is a fascinating and blood-stirring read.
BEAUVALLET (1929) ‘Mad Nicholas’ to his friends, ‘Scourge of Spain’ to the enemy, Sir Nicholas Beauvallet embraces adventure. When a captured galleon yields a beautiful Spaniard, he vows to return Dominica and her father to Spanish shores and right into the lion’s den.
THE CONQUEROR (1931) A vivid recounting of the story of William, illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy, and his determination to rule. His ruthless passion in both love and war lead him irrevocably to the English throne and a battle that will change history.
ROYAL ESCAPE (1938) Dispossessed of crown and kingdom after defeat at the Battle of Worcester, Charles II must flee for his life. Escaping from the battlefield, the outlaw king and his tiny band of supporters must journey across England to France, desperate fugitives from Cromwell’s army. But the King is no easy man to hide…
MY LORD JOHN (1975) Heyer’s only unfinished novel, published posthumously in 1975, it tells the story of John, Duke of Bedford, who grew to manhood fighting for his father, Henry IV of England. A prince of the royal blood, John was strong, loyal and his brother, Henry V’s, greatest ally. Filled with bitter rivalries and deadly power struggles, My Lord John was Heyer’s most ambitious novel.
HER SUPPRESSED NOVELS
THE GREAT ROXHYTHE (1922) Written when she was only nineteen, Heyer’s second novel is notable for its remarkable portrait of Charles II and his fictitious servant, the elegant, enigmatic Marquis of Roxhythe. Attached to Roxhythe is his devoted secretary, Christopher Dart, whose loyalty will be tested as the story unfolds.
INSTEAD OF THE THORN (1923) A fascinating account of Elizabeth Arden, whose intelligence and emotions have been smothered from childhood by the Victorian aunt who brought her up. Elizabeth is naïve and self-deceiving, so when she marries a temperamental writer without loving him and with no idea of sex, things go terribly wrong.
HELEN (1928) A novel with the unusual theme of a girl whose love for her father so completely satisfied her that she wanted no other. Helen’s childhood and experiences in London during and after the Great War see her cleave to her father until circumstances force her realise her need for the man who has always loved her.
PASTEL (1929) Frances Stornaway doesn’t always mind being outshone by her fascinating younger sister, but when Evelyn falls for the man Frances loves and he returns her sister’s affections, she is devastated. After their wedding Frances settles for stolid, reliable Norman who has always loved her but romance proves less elusive than she’d thought. With Helen, this is one of Heyer’s semi-autobiographical novels.
BARREN CORN (1930) Heyer’s last contemporary novel is a compelling study of a disastrous marriage. When beautiful milliner, Laura Burton, meets and marries upper-class Hugh Salinger on the French Riviera she hopes that she can bridge the class gap between them, but their enchanted honeymoon does not last and Laura must decide how much she loves her new husband.
Composition by Jason Tay. Content copyright Jennifer Kloester 2011-2014