Why Shoot a Butler?

311134Christina here.  Why Shoot a Butler? is the title of one of Georgette Heyer’s country house mysteries/crime stories. It kind of makes it sound as though a butler isn’t even worth shooting, which is a bit odd! Or maybe that’s just the slant my mind put on it and it wasn’t what the author meant? It did make me think though …

I have just reread all Heyer’s mystery/crime books, and although most of them are ostensibly set during the 1930s (only the last one is after the war), the settings seemed to me almost identical to those of her Regency novels. They all take place either in stately homes or among people of the upper class. The characters are similar to her Regency ones as well – strong alpha males, sensible girls who triumph over the pretty but vapid ones, matrons with decided views on things, etc. And then there are the servants, particularly the butlers, whom I couldn’t help but notice even if the other characters don’t pay them much attention.

311123The 1930s must have been a very confusing time for upper class people. Society had changed a lot after World War I and nothing would ever be the same. And yet, in Heyer’s books they are living just as they’ve always been, with either a house full of servants – butler, housekeeper, cook, maids, grooms and gardeners – or in slightly straightened circumstances but still with a few servants to do all the boring work. There are complaints about how difficult it is to find good staff, and references to the fact that young people (mostly girls it seems) are so much more independent and don’t want a life in service. The older servants complain too because it’s a way of life they are used to and don’t see anything wrong with. And no one is more supercilious than the butlers.

By Merry Christmas at Pixabay

Photo by Merry Christmas at Pixabay

They are invariably against anyone crossing the divide between upstairs and downstairs. In Penhallow, one of the maids has set her sights on marrying one of the sons of the house, but even though she is the butler’s niece (and you would have thought he’d want her to do well for herself), he is completely against this. According to the unwritten rules, no good can come of mixing with your “betters” or marrying above your station. For the Regency period this rings true, but for the 1930s, I found it harder to accept, even if this was the case.

The butler was the most senior member of the staff and all the others were supposed to be in awe of him. His duties seem to have been varied, but chief among them were being in charge of the household silver and the wine cellar, anticipating his master and mistress’s every need (even before they themselves knew what they wanted it seems), and being a sort of omnipresent person with eyes in the back of his head. It was clearly a very important job and he knew it.

311162In Heyer’s books, the butlers are very efficient and wear a wooden expression that is more or less constant as they seldom show any emotions. Some have a sense of humour and sometimes allow their mouths to twitch or their eyes to flash – even raise an eyebrow on occasion! – but most remain passive and calm in the face of the worst of calamities. If they do unbend a little, towards the heroine for example, you know it’s a sign that they approve of that person. Some of them are even more aware of the family’s status than the people they are serving, a sort of inverted snobbery.  In Envious Casca for example, the butler Sturry strongly disapproves of working in a family where a murder has been committed, as it is beneath him. Such goings-on, he feels, would never have happened when he worked for his previous employer, a lord of impeccable character.

Other butlers are unfailingly loyal, even to the point of remaining with a family when they can no longer afford to pay the staff properly. Such loyalty is rewarded by the employers by recognising that the butler is never wrong and that he is a tower of strength. More often than not, he is also married to the housekeeper, who is just as loyal, hardworking and efficient as he is. I wonder how often this was actually true in real life?

I personally love it when one of Heyer’s butlers says something like “Just so, Miss”, showing with those few words that he means a wealth of other things besides. He is the master of understatement!  And she often uses them to great advantage to inject humour into any situation.

Bad butlers are those who drink, or – heaven forbid! – water down the wine. That seems to have been a terrible crime and one could not possibly keep a servant who did that.

The butler is au fait with all the correct codes of conduct and will not put up with any slipping of standards. They would never dream of reprimanding their employers, but they still manage to convey their disdain just by a certain look.

It must have been an incredibly difficult job to have in real life!

By Vic Padilla on Pixabay

Photo by Vic Padilla on Pixabay

You would have thought that this job died out after the second World War, along with things like ladies’ maids and tweenies, but there is actually a school in London where you can learn to become the perfect butler. Clearly, there is still a need for butlers worldwide and now that they no longer rise through the servants’ ranks, learning that way, they can take a course. They learn things like social etiquette and dining, how to open and close a door (silently I assume?), and confidence and deportment. The main change is, of course, that these days you can have female butlers. Have a look here.

The duties seem to be more or less the same as in days gone past: managing the rest of the staff, being responsible for looking after silver, china and crystal items, having a knowledge of fine wines, looking after guests and all the various needs of the household.

512px-Curraghmore_House_meets_Downton_Abbey_(6314536459)When I think of the perfect butler, the ones in the TV series Downton Abbey or the film Gosford Park always spring to mind (although neither is as calm as they make out and have their own personal problems to contend with). My thoughts also went straight to Jeeves from the Jeeves and Wooster books by P G Wodehouse, but when I looked him up again it turns out he’s not a butler but a valet. Still, I feel he fulfils the same functions and as he’s very intelligent and resourceful, he’s often rescuing his clueless master.

Another perfect butler is Alfred Pennyworth from the Batman comics and films. He is incredibly loyal, supportive and clever, and a father-figure to the orphaned Bruce Wayne. The films are very modern, of course, but Alfred’s duties seem really similar to those of butlers from times past. The only difference is that he has a sense of humour and isn’t afraid to voice his opinions.

Returning to my original observation – shooting a mere butler might not have seemed worth it to some of Heyer’s characters (hence the title), but most of them knew that a good butler was worth his weight in gold and they wouldn’t want to lose him. And butlers were good at keeping secrets, which in this case made it imperative to murder him. I guess they couldn’t second-guess everything their employers were going to do!

Have you ever noticed the butlers in the stories you read or are they just part of the setting? And would you want a butler and a house full of servants to see to your every whim? Personally I’d settle for a chef (preferably a Japanese one) and a cleaning lady!

170 thoughts on “Why Shoot a Butler?”

  1. Interesting topic, Christina. We hear so little about the people who made great estates and even comfortable cottages run throughout history. Butlers, especially, must have been intelligent beings with ideas and interests of their own, but in novels they generally appear as pop-ups when needed to further a plot or dress a scene. Anyone reading here who can recommend fiction or nonfiction on the personal lives of upper staff? I’m aware of Remains of the Day (which I recommend) and Longbourn (the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice), but even those don’t answer my inquisitiveness.

    Reply
  2. Interesting topic, Christina. We hear so little about the people who made great estates and even comfortable cottages run throughout history. Butlers, especially, must have been intelligent beings with ideas and interests of their own, but in novels they generally appear as pop-ups when needed to further a plot or dress a scene. Anyone reading here who can recommend fiction or nonfiction on the personal lives of upper staff? I’m aware of Remains of the Day (which I recommend) and Longbourn (the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice), but even those don’t answer my inquisitiveness.

    Reply
  3. Interesting topic, Christina. We hear so little about the people who made great estates and even comfortable cottages run throughout history. Butlers, especially, must have been intelligent beings with ideas and interests of their own, but in novels they generally appear as pop-ups when needed to further a plot or dress a scene. Anyone reading here who can recommend fiction or nonfiction on the personal lives of upper staff? I’m aware of Remains of the Day (which I recommend) and Longbourn (the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice), but even those don’t answer my inquisitiveness.

    Reply
  4. Interesting topic, Christina. We hear so little about the people who made great estates and even comfortable cottages run throughout history. Butlers, especially, must have been intelligent beings with ideas and interests of their own, but in novels they generally appear as pop-ups when needed to further a plot or dress a scene. Anyone reading here who can recommend fiction or nonfiction on the personal lives of upper staff? I’m aware of Remains of the Day (which I recommend) and Longbourn (the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice), but even those don’t answer my inquisitiveness.

    Reply
  5. Interesting topic, Christina. We hear so little about the people who made great estates and even comfortable cottages run throughout history. Butlers, especially, must have been intelligent beings with ideas and interests of their own, but in novels they generally appear as pop-ups when needed to further a plot or dress a scene. Anyone reading here who can recommend fiction or nonfiction on the personal lives of upper staff? I’m aware of Remains of the Day (which I recommend) and Longbourn (the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice), but even those don’t answer my inquisitiveness.

    Reply
  6. Yes, that’s exactly it, Mary – they’re always in the background and yet they were invaluable to the smooth running of the household. I can’t think of any books that feature butlers, but as I said, in Downton Abbey and Gosford Park we really get a glimpse below stairs and into the personal lives of the staff. It’s fascinating, isn’t it!

    Reply
  7. Yes, that’s exactly it, Mary – they’re always in the background and yet they were invaluable to the smooth running of the household. I can’t think of any books that feature butlers, but as I said, in Downton Abbey and Gosford Park we really get a glimpse below stairs and into the personal lives of the staff. It’s fascinating, isn’t it!

    Reply
  8. Yes, that’s exactly it, Mary – they’re always in the background and yet they were invaluable to the smooth running of the household. I can’t think of any books that feature butlers, but as I said, in Downton Abbey and Gosford Park we really get a glimpse below stairs and into the personal lives of the staff. It’s fascinating, isn’t it!

    Reply
  9. Yes, that’s exactly it, Mary – they’re always in the background and yet they were invaluable to the smooth running of the household. I can’t think of any books that feature butlers, but as I said, in Downton Abbey and Gosford Park we really get a glimpse below stairs and into the personal lives of the staff. It’s fascinating, isn’t it!

    Reply
  10. Yes, that’s exactly it, Mary – they’re always in the background and yet they were invaluable to the smooth running of the household. I can’t think of any books that feature butlers, but as I said, in Downton Abbey and Gosford Park we really get a glimpse below stairs and into the personal lives of the staff. It’s fascinating, isn’t it!

    Reply
  11. Pallister, the butler in the Dandy Gilver series, is a stern, disapproving type, at least towards his mistress. While he doesn’t play a major role in the series, he is always present, as if to provide a contrast between the pre-WWI past and the present full of women sleuths! I have 2 favorite TV butlers who play major roles: Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs, and Mr. Butler in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. They play major roles, have distinct personalities, and are men of many talents. I must say I remember more housekeepers from fiction than butlers!

    Reply
  12. Pallister, the butler in the Dandy Gilver series, is a stern, disapproving type, at least towards his mistress. While he doesn’t play a major role in the series, he is always present, as if to provide a contrast between the pre-WWI past and the present full of women sleuths! I have 2 favorite TV butlers who play major roles: Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs, and Mr. Butler in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. They play major roles, have distinct personalities, and are men of many talents. I must say I remember more housekeepers from fiction than butlers!

    Reply
  13. Pallister, the butler in the Dandy Gilver series, is a stern, disapproving type, at least towards his mistress. While he doesn’t play a major role in the series, he is always present, as if to provide a contrast between the pre-WWI past and the present full of women sleuths! I have 2 favorite TV butlers who play major roles: Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs, and Mr. Butler in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. They play major roles, have distinct personalities, and are men of many talents. I must say I remember more housekeepers from fiction than butlers!

    Reply
  14. Pallister, the butler in the Dandy Gilver series, is a stern, disapproving type, at least towards his mistress. While he doesn’t play a major role in the series, he is always present, as if to provide a contrast between the pre-WWI past and the present full of women sleuths! I have 2 favorite TV butlers who play major roles: Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs, and Mr. Butler in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. They play major roles, have distinct personalities, and are men of many talents. I must say I remember more housekeepers from fiction than butlers!

    Reply
  15. Pallister, the butler in the Dandy Gilver series, is a stern, disapproving type, at least towards his mistress. While he doesn’t play a major role in the series, he is always present, as if to provide a contrast between the pre-WWI past and the present full of women sleuths! I have 2 favorite TV butlers who play major roles: Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs, and Mr. Butler in the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. They play major roles, have distinct personalities, and are men of many talents. I must say I remember more housekeepers from fiction than butlers!

    Reply
  16. Thank you for reminding me about Hudson – I used to love that series! Haven’t seen/read the others so will look out for those. I think you’re right, perhaps housekeepers are more part of the stories?

    Reply
  17. Thank you for reminding me about Hudson – I used to love that series! Haven’t seen/read the others so will look out for those. I think you’re right, perhaps housekeepers are more part of the stories?

    Reply
  18. Thank you for reminding me about Hudson – I used to love that series! Haven’t seen/read the others so will look out for those. I think you’re right, perhaps housekeepers are more part of the stories?

    Reply
  19. Thank you for reminding me about Hudson – I used to love that series! Haven’t seen/read the others so will look out for those. I think you’re right, perhaps housekeepers are more part of the stories?

    Reply
  20. Thank you for reminding me about Hudson – I used to love that series! Haven’t seen/read the others so will look out for those. I think you’re right, perhaps housekeepers are more part of the stories?

    Reply
  21. Oh, yes, I do enjoy the butlers. I have to put a word in for Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet. He is Wimsey’s only live-in manservant, so I would say he also acts as the butler.

    Reply
  22. Oh, yes, I do enjoy the butlers. I have to put a word in for Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet. He is Wimsey’s only live-in manservant, so I would say he also acts as the butler.

    Reply
  23. Oh, yes, I do enjoy the butlers. I have to put a word in for Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet. He is Wimsey’s only live-in manservant, so I would say he also acts as the butler.

    Reply
  24. Oh, yes, I do enjoy the butlers. I have to put a word in for Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet. He is Wimsey’s only live-in manservant, so I would say he also acts as the butler.

    Reply
  25. Oh, yes, I do enjoy the butlers. I have to put a word in for Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet. He is Wimsey’s only live-in manservant, so I would say he also acts as the butler.

    Reply
  26. Interesting topic. I personally don’t really like Heyers mysteries, even though I love all her other books.
    Still your thoughts about the role of the servants is very interesting, I am a behind the scenes person anyway (Sometimes I prefer the making of to the actual movie ;))
    Anyway: There is a book called “Up and Down Stairs. The History of the Country House Servant” by Jeremy Musson. Who seems quite the specialist on country houses. This book covers the servant situation from the late middle ages right through the 20th century.
    I picked this up while browsing through the gift shop section at some English Heritage site or so.
    The other book I found at the same time, which is also quite fascinating is called The Country House Kitchen Garden 1600-190 (Edited by C. Anne Wilson)

    Reply
  27. Interesting topic. I personally don’t really like Heyers mysteries, even though I love all her other books.
    Still your thoughts about the role of the servants is very interesting, I am a behind the scenes person anyway (Sometimes I prefer the making of to the actual movie ;))
    Anyway: There is a book called “Up and Down Stairs. The History of the Country House Servant” by Jeremy Musson. Who seems quite the specialist on country houses. This book covers the servant situation from the late middle ages right through the 20th century.
    I picked this up while browsing through the gift shop section at some English Heritage site or so.
    The other book I found at the same time, which is also quite fascinating is called The Country House Kitchen Garden 1600-190 (Edited by C. Anne Wilson)

    Reply
  28. Interesting topic. I personally don’t really like Heyers mysteries, even though I love all her other books.
    Still your thoughts about the role of the servants is very interesting, I am a behind the scenes person anyway (Sometimes I prefer the making of to the actual movie ;))
    Anyway: There is a book called “Up and Down Stairs. The History of the Country House Servant” by Jeremy Musson. Who seems quite the specialist on country houses. This book covers the servant situation from the late middle ages right through the 20th century.
    I picked this up while browsing through the gift shop section at some English Heritage site or so.
    The other book I found at the same time, which is also quite fascinating is called The Country House Kitchen Garden 1600-190 (Edited by C. Anne Wilson)

    Reply
  29. Interesting topic. I personally don’t really like Heyers mysteries, even though I love all her other books.
    Still your thoughts about the role of the servants is very interesting, I am a behind the scenes person anyway (Sometimes I prefer the making of to the actual movie ;))
    Anyway: There is a book called “Up and Down Stairs. The History of the Country House Servant” by Jeremy Musson. Who seems quite the specialist on country houses. This book covers the servant situation from the late middle ages right through the 20th century.
    I picked this up while browsing through the gift shop section at some English Heritage site or so.
    The other book I found at the same time, which is also quite fascinating is called The Country House Kitchen Garden 1600-190 (Edited by C. Anne Wilson)

    Reply
  30. Interesting topic. I personally don’t really like Heyers mysteries, even though I love all her other books.
    Still your thoughts about the role of the servants is very interesting, I am a behind the scenes person anyway (Sometimes I prefer the making of to the actual movie ;))
    Anyway: There is a book called “Up and Down Stairs. The History of the Country House Servant” by Jeremy Musson. Who seems quite the specialist on country houses. This book covers the servant situation from the late middle ages right through the 20th century.
    I picked this up while browsing through the gift shop section at some English Heritage site or so.
    The other book I found at the same time, which is also quite fascinating is called The Country House Kitchen Garden 1600-190 (Edited by C. Anne Wilson)

    Reply
  31. Definitely – a bit like Jeeves, I imagine! Those poor men must have worked 24/7 – they seem to have been extremely dedicated to their jobs!

    Reply
  32. Definitely – a bit like Jeeves, I imagine! Those poor men must have worked 24/7 – they seem to have been extremely dedicated to their jobs!

    Reply
  33. Definitely – a bit like Jeeves, I imagine! Those poor men must have worked 24/7 – they seem to have been extremely dedicated to their jobs!

    Reply
  34. Definitely – a bit like Jeeves, I imagine! Those poor men must have worked 24/7 – they seem to have been extremely dedicated to their jobs!

    Reply
  35. Definitely – a bit like Jeeves, I imagine! Those poor men must have worked 24/7 – they seem to have been extremely dedicated to their jobs!

    Reply
  36. That does sound very interesting, Katja! I’ll have to look for that. I have The Country House Kitchen Garden or possibly The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Can’t remember now, but it’s fascinating and quite amazing how much work went into the grounds of a stately home. The head gardener must have been the outdoor equivalent of the butler. As for Heyer’s mysteries, I liked some better than others, but this was the first time I’d read them in order and realised that some of the characters from previous books made cameo appearances in later books. That added a little something extra for me.

    Reply
  37. That does sound very interesting, Katja! I’ll have to look for that. I have The Country House Kitchen Garden or possibly The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Can’t remember now, but it’s fascinating and quite amazing how much work went into the grounds of a stately home. The head gardener must have been the outdoor equivalent of the butler. As for Heyer’s mysteries, I liked some better than others, but this was the first time I’d read them in order and realised that some of the characters from previous books made cameo appearances in later books. That added a little something extra for me.

    Reply
  38. That does sound very interesting, Katja! I’ll have to look for that. I have The Country House Kitchen Garden or possibly The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Can’t remember now, but it’s fascinating and quite amazing how much work went into the grounds of a stately home. The head gardener must have been the outdoor equivalent of the butler. As for Heyer’s mysteries, I liked some better than others, but this was the first time I’d read them in order and realised that some of the characters from previous books made cameo appearances in later books. That added a little something extra for me.

    Reply
  39. That does sound very interesting, Katja! I’ll have to look for that. I have The Country House Kitchen Garden or possibly The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Can’t remember now, but it’s fascinating and quite amazing how much work went into the grounds of a stately home. The head gardener must have been the outdoor equivalent of the butler. As for Heyer’s mysteries, I liked some better than others, but this was the first time I’d read them in order and realised that some of the characters from previous books made cameo appearances in later books. That added a little something extra for me.

    Reply
  40. That does sound very interesting, Katja! I’ll have to look for that. I have The Country House Kitchen Garden or possibly The Victorian Kitchen Garden? Can’t remember now, but it’s fascinating and quite amazing how much work went into the grounds of a stately home. The head gardener must have been the outdoor equivalent of the butler. As for Heyer’s mysteries, I liked some better than others, but this was the first time I’d read them in order and realised that some of the characters from previous books made cameo appearances in later books. That added a little something extra for me.

    Reply
  41. Very good blog, Christina. I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve never much liked Heyer’s mysteries–there’s something a little claustrophobic and out of joint about them. But the set of covers you’re showing here, presumably from a set of new releases, are really nice!

    Reply
  42. Very good blog, Christina. I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve never much liked Heyer’s mysteries–there’s something a little claustrophobic and out of joint about them. But the set of covers you’re showing here, presumably from a set of new releases, are really nice!

    Reply
  43. Very good blog, Christina. I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve never much liked Heyer’s mysteries–there’s something a little claustrophobic and out of joint about them. But the set of covers you’re showing here, presumably from a set of new releases, are really nice!

    Reply
  44. Very good blog, Christina. I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve never much liked Heyer’s mysteries–there’s something a little claustrophobic and out of joint about them. But the set of covers you’re showing here, presumably from a set of new releases, are really nice!

    Reply
  45. Very good blog, Christina. I think you’ve put your finger on why I’ve never much liked Heyer’s mysteries–there’s something a little claustrophobic and out of joint about them. But the set of covers you’re showing here, presumably from a set of new releases, are really nice!

    Reply
  46. Thank you, Mary Jo! Yes, I liked these covers too – they seem to really capture the era the books are portraying. Much better than the original ones IMO.

    Reply
  47. Thank you, Mary Jo! Yes, I liked these covers too – they seem to really capture the era the books are portraying. Much better than the original ones IMO.

    Reply
  48. Thank you, Mary Jo! Yes, I liked these covers too – they seem to really capture the era the books are portraying. Much better than the original ones IMO.

    Reply
  49. Thank you, Mary Jo! Yes, I liked these covers too – they seem to really capture the era the books are portraying. Much better than the original ones IMO.

    Reply
  50. Thank you, Mary Jo! Yes, I liked these covers too – they seem to really capture the era the books are portraying. Much better than the original ones IMO.

    Reply
  51. I was thinking of Buter also. As you say, he is technically a valet, but he serves the butler’s partt. (And I believe he DOES become butler when Harriet and Peter marry.

    Reply
  52. I was thinking of Buter also. As you say, he is technically a valet, but he serves the butler’s partt. (And I believe he DOES become butler when Harriet and Peter marry.

    Reply
  53. I was thinking of Buter also. As you say, he is technically a valet, but he serves the butler’s partt. (And I believe he DOES become butler when Harriet and Peter marry.

    Reply
  54. I was thinking of Buter also. As you say, he is technically a valet, but he serves the butler’s partt. (And I believe he DOES become butler when Harriet and Peter marry.

    Reply
  55. I was thinking of Buter also. As you say, he is technically a valet, but he serves the butler’s partt. (And I believe he DOES become butler when Harriet and Peter marry.

    Reply
  56. I will always prefer my favorite Heyer romances to her mysteries. But I found some of the mysteries quite entertaining also. (And some, I almost never re-read, Envious Casca being one of those.)

    Reply
  57. I will always prefer my favorite Heyer romances to her mysteries. But I found some of the mysteries quite entertaining also. (And some, I almost never re-read, Envious Casca being one of those.)

    Reply
  58. I will always prefer my favorite Heyer romances to her mysteries. But I found some of the mysteries quite entertaining also. (And some, I almost never re-read, Envious Casca being one of those.)

    Reply
  59. I will always prefer my favorite Heyer romances to her mysteries. But I found some of the mysteries quite entertaining also. (And some, I almost never re-read, Envious Casca being one of those.)

    Reply
  60. I will always prefer my favorite Heyer romances to her mysteries. But I found some of the mysteries quite entertaining also. (And some, I almost never re-read, Envious Casca being one of those.)

    Reply
  61. I had an afterthought.
    I grew up with the mid-western idea of live-in help. (Entire U.S.?) And I like it MUCH better than servants. Help was the same as family in most matters. She didn’t sit at the meals with us, because her job was keeping the meals going. But from time to time my sister and I performed the same household jobs the help did. We learned to make beds, put away laundry — and so on, from her. The late teenager who moved to St. Louis to in order to get a highschool education did her homework at the kitchen table at the same time I did. One of her predicessors became a life-long friend of the family.
    This type of help is a person, not a faceless automatron as it appears the upper classes saw their servants.

    Reply
  62. I had an afterthought.
    I grew up with the mid-western idea of live-in help. (Entire U.S.?) And I like it MUCH better than servants. Help was the same as family in most matters. She didn’t sit at the meals with us, because her job was keeping the meals going. But from time to time my sister and I performed the same household jobs the help did. We learned to make beds, put away laundry — and so on, from her. The late teenager who moved to St. Louis to in order to get a highschool education did her homework at the kitchen table at the same time I did. One of her predicessors became a life-long friend of the family.
    This type of help is a person, not a faceless automatron as it appears the upper classes saw their servants.

    Reply
  63. I had an afterthought.
    I grew up with the mid-western idea of live-in help. (Entire U.S.?) And I like it MUCH better than servants. Help was the same as family in most matters. She didn’t sit at the meals with us, because her job was keeping the meals going. But from time to time my sister and I performed the same household jobs the help did. We learned to make beds, put away laundry — and so on, from her. The late teenager who moved to St. Louis to in order to get a highschool education did her homework at the kitchen table at the same time I did. One of her predicessors became a life-long friend of the family.
    This type of help is a person, not a faceless automatron as it appears the upper classes saw their servants.

    Reply
  64. I had an afterthought.
    I grew up with the mid-western idea of live-in help. (Entire U.S.?) And I like it MUCH better than servants. Help was the same as family in most matters. She didn’t sit at the meals with us, because her job was keeping the meals going. But from time to time my sister and I performed the same household jobs the help did. We learned to make beds, put away laundry — and so on, from her. The late teenager who moved to St. Louis to in order to get a highschool education did her homework at the kitchen table at the same time I did. One of her predicessors became a life-long friend of the family.
    This type of help is a person, not a faceless automatron as it appears the upper classes saw their servants.

    Reply
  65. I had an afterthought.
    I grew up with the mid-western idea of live-in help. (Entire U.S.?) And I like it MUCH better than servants. Help was the same as family in most matters. She didn’t sit at the meals with us, because her job was keeping the meals going. But from time to time my sister and I performed the same household jobs the help did. We learned to make beds, put away laundry — and so on, from her. The late teenager who moved to St. Louis to in order to get a highschool education did her homework at the kitchen table at the same time I did. One of her predicessors became a life-long friend of the family.
    This type of help is a person, not a faceless automatron as it appears the upper classes saw their servants.

    Reply
  66. Thanks for a fascinating post, Christina. I grew up in hotels as my father was a hotel manager and, in some smaller motels, my mother was the housekeeper. In thinking about it, my father was not dissimilar to a butler; many of the tasks were very similar.

    Reply
  67. Thanks for a fascinating post, Christina. I grew up in hotels as my father was a hotel manager and, in some smaller motels, my mother was the housekeeper. In thinking about it, my father was not dissimilar to a butler; many of the tasks were very similar.

    Reply
  68. Thanks for a fascinating post, Christina. I grew up in hotels as my father was a hotel manager and, in some smaller motels, my mother was the housekeeper. In thinking about it, my father was not dissimilar to a butler; many of the tasks were very similar.

    Reply
  69. Thanks for a fascinating post, Christina. I grew up in hotels as my father was a hotel manager and, in some smaller motels, my mother was the housekeeper. In thinking about it, my father was not dissimilar to a butler; many of the tasks were very similar.

    Reply
  70. Thanks for a fascinating post, Christina. I grew up in hotels as my father was a hotel manager and, in some smaller motels, my mother was the housekeeper. In thinking about it, my father was not dissimilar to a butler; many of the tasks were very similar.

    Reply
  71. I agree the romances are better, Sue, but some of the mysteries have a very similar feel to them. The one I really disliked was Penhallow, which seemed very different to all the others – a bit like My Lord John, the one romance I never liked!

    Reply
  72. I agree the romances are better, Sue, but some of the mysteries have a very similar feel to them. The one I really disliked was Penhallow, which seemed very different to all the others – a bit like My Lord John, the one romance I never liked!

    Reply
  73. I agree the romances are better, Sue, but some of the mysteries have a very similar feel to them. The one I really disliked was Penhallow, which seemed very different to all the others – a bit like My Lord John, the one romance I never liked!

    Reply
  74. I agree the romances are better, Sue, but some of the mysteries have a very similar feel to them. The one I really disliked was Penhallow, which seemed very different to all the others – a bit like My Lord John, the one romance I never liked!

    Reply
  75. I agree the romances are better, Sue, but some of the mysteries have a very similar feel to them. The one I really disliked was Penhallow, which seemed very different to all the others – a bit like My Lord John, the one romance I never liked!

    Reply
  76. You see something of the sort in early Agatha Christie too. It’s as if servants belong to a slightly different species. Most of them are not very bright, and the good ones are devoted to their employers.
    I can’t help thinking that wasn’t quite true.

    Reply
  77. You see something of the sort in early Agatha Christie too. It’s as if servants belong to a slightly different species. Most of them are not very bright, and the good ones are devoted to their employers.
    I can’t help thinking that wasn’t quite true.

    Reply
  78. You see something of the sort in early Agatha Christie too. It’s as if servants belong to a slightly different species. Most of them are not very bright, and the good ones are devoted to their employers.
    I can’t help thinking that wasn’t quite true.

    Reply
  79. You see something of the sort in early Agatha Christie too. It’s as if servants belong to a slightly different species. Most of them are not very bright, and the good ones are devoted to their employers.
    I can’t help thinking that wasn’t quite true.

    Reply
  80. You see something of the sort in early Agatha Christie too. It’s as if servants belong to a slightly different species. Most of them are not very bright, and the good ones are devoted to their employers.
    I can’t help thinking that wasn’t quite true.

    Reply
  81. That does sound a lot better – a bit like having an au pair to help with the children. We had one and she became one of my closest friends and a sort of honorary daughter (as she’s much younger than me). She was really a part of the family.

    Reply
  82. That does sound a lot better – a bit like having an au pair to help with the children. We had one and she became one of my closest friends and a sort of honorary daughter (as she’s much younger than me). She was really a part of the family.

    Reply
  83. That does sound a lot better – a bit like having an au pair to help with the children. We had one and she became one of my closest friends and a sort of honorary daughter (as she’s much younger than me). She was really a part of the family.

    Reply
  84. That does sound a lot better – a bit like having an au pair to help with the children. We had one and she became one of my closest friends and a sort of honorary daughter (as she’s much younger than me). She was really a part of the family.

    Reply
  85. That does sound a lot better – a bit like having an au pair to help with the children. We had one and she became one of my closest friends and a sort of honorary daughter (as she’s much younger than me). She was really a part of the family.

    Reply
  86. On fictional butlers: I have yet to read it, but I bought this book after seeing good reviews ~ The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell. The author generally writes science fiction but this work is fantasy.

    Reply
  87. On fictional butlers: I have yet to read it, but I bought this book after seeing good reviews ~ The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell. The author generally writes science fiction but this work is fantasy.

    Reply
  88. On fictional butlers: I have yet to read it, but I bought this book after seeing good reviews ~ The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell. The author generally writes science fiction but this work is fantasy.

    Reply
  89. On fictional butlers: I have yet to read it, but I bought this book after seeing good reviews ~ The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell. The author generally writes science fiction but this work is fantasy.

    Reply
  90. On fictional butlers: I have yet to read it, but I bought this book after seeing good reviews ~ The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell. The author generally writes science fiction but this work is fantasy.

    Reply
  91. That’s really interesting, Kareni! I worked in a hotel for a while and was taught the housekeeper’s duties so that I would be able to fill in if necessary. I never thought of the manager as a butler but you’re right!

    Reply
  92. That’s really interesting, Kareni! I worked in a hotel for a while and was taught the housekeeper’s duties so that I would be able to fill in if necessary. I never thought of the manager as a butler but you’re right!

    Reply
  93. That’s really interesting, Kareni! I worked in a hotel for a while and was taught the housekeeper’s duties so that I would be able to fill in if necessary. I never thought of the manager as a butler but you’re right!

    Reply
  94. That’s really interesting, Kareni! I worked in a hotel for a while and was taught the housekeeper’s duties so that I would be able to fill in if necessary. I never thought of the manager as a butler but you’re right!

    Reply
  95. That’s really interesting, Kareni! I worked in a hotel for a while and was taught the housekeeper’s duties so that I would be able to fill in if necessary. I never thought of the manager as a butler but you’re right!

    Reply
  96. Yes, I should have thought of that – haven’t read an Agatha Christie book for ages but often watch the tv adaptations. I’m sure in real life the servants weren’t such stereotypes!

    Reply
  97. Yes, I should have thought of that – haven’t read an Agatha Christie book for ages but often watch the tv adaptations. I’m sure in real life the servants weren’t such stereotypes!

    Reply
  98. Yes, I should have thought of that – haven’t read an Agatha Christie book for ages but often watch the tv adaptations. I’m sure in real life the servants weren’t such stereotypes!

    Reply
  99. Yes, I should have thought of that – haven’t read an Agatha Christie book for ages but often watch the tv adaptations. I’m sure in real life the servants weren’t such stereotypes!

    Reply
  100. Yes, I should have thought of that – haven’t read an Agatha Christie book for ages but often watch the tv adaptations. I’m sure in real life the servants weren’t such stereotypes!

    Reply
  101. I have read Why Shoot The Butler as well as several other of Ms Heyer’s mysteries. I enjoy her writing. I believe that just like many other authors of that era, she writes about the times in which she lived and the life which she knew.
    Servants were a part of the lives of many people. The idea of being “in service” meant that as long as you did as you were told, you had a job. And having a job could be a good thing.
    In literature, butlers are generally portrayed as super beings who are all knowing. Personally, I think that sounds like someone who would be wonderful to have in your home. I guess that is why there are so many homes with mothers in them.
    Thanks for this post. It actually is a reminder for me of one of the many reasons I love historical books.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  102. I have read Why Shoot The Butler as well as several other of Ms Heyer’s mysteries. I enjoy her writing. I believe that just like many other authors of that era, she writes about the times in which she lived and the life which she knew.
    Servants were a part of the lives of many people. The idea of being “in service” meant that as long as you did as you were told, you had a job. And having a job could be a good thing.
    In literature, butlers are generally portrayed as super beings who are all knowing. Personally, I think that sounds like someone who would be wonderful to have in your home. I guess that is why there are so many homes with mothers in them.
    Thanks for this post. It actually is a reminder for me of one of the many reasons I love historical books.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  103. I have read Why Shoot The Butler as well as several other of Ms Heyer’s mysteries. I enjoy her writing. I believe that just like many other authors of that era, she writes about the times in which she lived and the life which she knew.
    Servants were a part of the lives of many people. The idea of being “in service” meant that as long as you did as you were told, you had a job. And having a job could be a good thing.
    In literature, butlers are generally portrayed as super beings who are all knowing. Personally, I think that sounds like someone who would be wonderful to have in your home. I guess that is why there are so many homes with mothers in them.
    Thanks for this post. It actually is a reminder for me of one of the many reasons I love historical books.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  104. I have read Why Shoot The Butler as well as several other of Ms Heyer’s mysteries. I enjoy her writing. I believe that just like many other authors of that era, she writes about the times in which she lived and the life which she knew.
    Servants were a part of the lives of many people. The idea of being “in service” meant that as long as you did as you were told, you had a job. And having a job could be a good thing.
    In literature, butlers are generally portrayed as super beings who are all knowing. Personally, I think that sounds like someone who would be wonderful to have in your home. I guess that is why there are so many homes with mothers in them.
    Thanks for this post. It actually is a reminder for me of one of the many reasons I love historical books.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  105. I have read Why Shoot The Butler as well as several other of Ms Heyer’s mysteries. I enjoy her writing. I believe that just like many other authors of that era, she writes about the times in which she lived and the life which she knew.
    Servants were a part of the lives of many people. The idea of being “in service” meant that as long as you did as you were told, you had a job. And having a job could be a good thing.
    In literature, butlers are generally portrayed as super beings who are all knowing. Personally, I think that sounds like someone who would be wonderful to have in your home. I guess that is why there are so many homes with mothers in them.
    Thanks for this post. It actually is a reminder for me of one of the many reasons I love historical books.
    I hope everyone is taking care and staying well.

    Reply
  106. Thank you Annette! Yes, I’m fairly sure Ms Heyer was writing about the world she knew herself and it does sound authentic. And you’re right – having a job like that was a security, always with clothes and enough food to eat, as well as a salary to possibly help other family members. I’m not sure I’d want a butler around as they seem to have known way too much about their employers!

    Reply
  107. Thank you Annette! Yes, I’m fairly sure Ms Heyer was writing about the world she knew herself and it does sound authentic. And you’re right – having a job like that was a security, always with clothes and enough food to eat, as well as a salary to possibly help other family members. I’m not sure I’d want a butler around as they seem to have known way too much about their employers!

    Reply
  108. Thank you Annette! Yes, I’m fairly sure Ms Heyer was writing about the world she knew herself and it does sound authentic. And you’re right – having a job like that was a security, always with clothes and enough food to eat, as well as a salary to possibly help other family members. I’m not sure I’d want a butler around as they seem to have known way too much about their employers!

    Reply
  109. Thank you Annette! Yes, I’m fairly sure Ms Heyer was writing about the world she knew herself and it does sound authentic. And you’re right – having a job like that was a security, always with clothes and enough food to eat, as well as a salary to possibly help other family members. I’m not sure I’d want a butler around as they seem to have known way too much about their employers!

    Reply
  110. Thank you Annette! Yes, I’m fairly sure Ms Heyer was writing about the world she knew herself and it does sound authentic. And you’re right – having a job like that was a security, always with clothes and enough food to eat, as well as a salary to possibly help other family members. I’m not sure I’d want a butler around as they seem to have known way too much about their employers!

    Reply
  111. I LOVE Georgette Heyer’s books. The romances are my favorites (some of them are so funny) and I only recently started reading her crime novels. I’m part of a GH group on GoodReads and that’s how I came to the crime books. The ones I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.
    I’d hate to have servants waiting on me. I guess you have to be born to it. I grew up very poor so I would have probably been the servant :):):)
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  112. I LOVE Georgette Heyer’s books. The romances are my favorites (some of them are so funny) and I only recently started reading her crime novels. I’m part of a GH group on GoodReads and that’s how I came to the crime books. The ones I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.
    I’d hate to have servants waiting on me. I guess you have to be born to it. I grew up very poor so I would have probably been the servant :):):)
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  113. I LOVE Georgette Heyer’s books. The romances are my favorites (some of them are so funny) and I only recently started reading her crime novels. I’m part of a GH group on GoodReads and that’s how I came to the crime books. The ones I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.
    I’d hate to have servants waiting on me. I guess you have to be born to it. I grew up very poor so I would have probably been the servant :):):)
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  114. I LOVE Georgette Heyer’s books. The romances are my favorites (some of them are so funny) and I only recently started reading her crime novels. I’m part of a GH group on GoodReads and that’s how I came to the crime books. The ones I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.
    I’d hate to have servants waiting on me. I guess you have to be born to it. I grew up very poor so I would have probably been the servant :):):)
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  115. I LOVE Georgette Heyer’s books. The romances are my favorites (some of them are so funny) and I only recently started reading her crime novels. I’m part of a GH group on GoodReads and that’s how I came to the crime books. The ones I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.
    I’d hate to have servants waiting on me. I guess you have to be born to it. I grew up very poor so I would have probably been the servant :):):)
    Lovely post!

    Reply
  116. Thank you Teresa! I didn’t know there was a GH group but I’m glad you’re enjoying the crime novels too. Would love to know which one was your favourite once you finish!

    Reply
  117. Thank you Teresa! I didn’t know there was a GH group but I’m glad you’re enjoying the crime novels too. Would love to know which one was your favourite once you finish!

    Reply
  118. Thank you Teresa! I didn’t know there was a GH group but I’m glad you’re enjoying the crime novels too. Would love to know which one was your favourite once you finish!

    Reply
  119. Thank you Teresa! I didn’t know there was a GH group but I’m glad you’re enjoying the crime novels too. Would love to know which one was your favourite once you finish!

    Reply
  120. Thank you Teresa! I didn’t know there was a GH group but I’m glad you’re enjoying the crime novels too. Would love to know which one was your favourite once you finish!

    Reply
  121. I’ve read all GH’s mysteries, romances and modern books. Hate the moderns. The two mysteries I didn’t like were Penhallow (read once and that was enough) and Envious Casa.
    According to the biographies I’ve read, GH did grow up with a butler, maids, etc. She was definitely writing about the life style she was used to.
    My understanding is that she wrote the mysteries because they were easy for her to write and sold well. When she needed quick money she’d write one.
    I like reading the mysteries because they showed how WWI and WWII was having an impact on life. You have to read between the lines but you can see it. I’m also thinking she still knew people who lived that life style because when she wrote the mysteries they were contemporary. Not historical as they seem now.
    Ten of the mysteries were published between 1932 and 1942. The remaining two were published in 1951 & 1953.
    As for Miss Fisher’s Mr. Butler he is a fascinating character.
    I think in many modest households the housekeeper and the butler were a married couple. I wouldn’t swear to that but I remember reading the term “Married couple” in many descriptions of the butler/house manager and the housekeeper/cook.

    Reply
  122. I’ve read all GH’s mysteries, romances and modern books. Hate the moderns. The two mysteries I didn’t like were Penhallow (read once and that was enough) and Envious Casa.
    According to the biographies I’ve read, GH did grow up with a butler, maids, etc. She was definitely writing about the life style she was used to.
    My understanding is that she wrote the mysteries because they were easy for her to write and sold well. When she needed quick money she’d write one.
    I like reading the mysteries because they showed how WWI and WWII was having an impact on life. You have to read between the lines but you can see it. I’m also thinking she still knew people who lived that life style because when she wrote the mysteries they were contemporary. Not historical as they seem now.
    Ten of the mysteries were published between 1932 and 1942. The remaining two were published in 1951 & 1953.
    As for Miss Fisher’s Mr. Butler he is a fascinating character.
    I think in many modest households the housekeeper and the butler were a married couple. I wouldn’t swear to that but I remember reading the term “Married couple” in many descriptions of the butler/house manager and the housekeeper/cook.

    Reply
  123. I’ve read all GH’s mysteries, romances and modern books. Hate the moderns. The two mysteries I didn’t like were Penhallow (read once and that was enough) and Envious Casa.
    According to the biographies I’ve read, GH did grow up with a butler, maids, etc. She was definitely writing about the life style she was used to.
    My understanding is that she wrote the mysteries because they were easy for her to write and sold well. When she needed quick money she’d write one.
    I like reading the mysteries because they showed how WWI and WWII was having an impact on life. You have to read between the lines but you can see it. I’m also thinking she still knew people who lived that life style because when she wrote the mysteries they were contemporary. Not historical as they seem now.
    Ten of the mysteries were published between 1932 and 1942. The remaining two were published in 1951 & 1953.
    As for Miss Fisher’s Mr. Butler he is a fascinating character.
    I think in many modest households the housekeeper and the butler were a married couple. I wouldn’t swear to that but I remember reading the term “Married couple” in many descriptions of the butler/house manager and the housekeeper/cook.

    Reply
  124. I’ve read all GH’s mysteries, romances and modern books. Hate the moderns. The two mysteries I didn’t like were Penhallow (read once and that was enough) and Envious Casa.
    According to the biographies I’ve read, GH did grow up with a butler, maids, etc. She was definitely writing about the life style she was used to.
    My understanding is that she wrote the mysteries because they were easy for her to write and sold well. When she needed quick money she’d write one.
    I like reading the mysteries because they showed how WWI and WWII was having an impact on life. You have to read between the lines but you can see it. I’m also thinking she still knew people who lived that life style because when she wrote the mysteries they were contemporary. Not historical as they seem now.
    Ten of the mysteries were published between 1932 and 1942. The remaining two were published in 1951 & 1953.
    As for Miss Fisher’s Mr. Butler he is a fascinating character.
    I think in many modest households the housekeeper and the butler were a married couple. I wouldn’t swear to that but I remember reading the term “Married couple” in many descriptions of the butler/house manager and the housekeeper/cook.

    Reply
  125. I’ve read all GH’s mysteries, romances and modern books. Hate the moderns. The two mysteries I didn’t like were Penhallow (read once and that was enough) and Envious Casa.
    According to the biographies I’ve read, GH did grow up with a butler, maids, etc. She was definitely writing about the life style she was used to.
    My understanding is that she wrote the mysteries because they were easy for her to write and sold well. When she needed quick money she’d write one.
    I like reading the mysteries because they showed how WWI and WWII was having an impact on life. You have to read between the lines but you can see it. I’m also thinking she still knew people who lived that life style because when she wrote the mysteries they were contemporary. Not historical as they seem now.
    Ten of the mysteries were published between 1932 and 1942. The remaining two were published in 1951 & 1953.
    As for Miss Fisher’s Mr. Butler he is a fascinating character.
    I think in many modest households the housekeeper and the butler were a married couple. I wouldn’t swear to that but I remember reading the term “Married couple” in many descriptions of the butler/house manager and the housekeeper/cook.

    Reply
  126. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) Heyer’s husband made up the mystery plots and then she wrote them. That could also be part of why they don’t work as well for many people — they didn’t tumble straight from her imagination, as the historicals did.
    Great blog, Christina. I was also thinking of Jeeves, valet-cum-butler in effect. And Hudson, too.

    Reply
  127. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) Heyer’s husband made up the mystery plots and then she wrote them. That could also be part of why they don’t work as well for many people — they didn’t tumble straight from her imagination, as the historicals did.
    Great blog, Christina. I was also thinking of Jeeves, valet-cum-butler in effect. And Hudson, too.

    Reply
  128. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) Heyer’s husband made up the mystery plots and then she wrote them. That could also be part of why they don’t work as well for many people — they didn’t tumble straight from her imagination, as the historicals did.
    Great blog, Christina. I was also thinking of Jeeves, valet-cum-butler in effect. And Hudson, too.

    Reply
  129. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) Heyer’s husband made up the mystery plots and then she wrote them. That could also be part of why they don’t work as well for many people — they didn’t tumble straight from her imagination, as the historicals did.
    Great blog, Christina. I was also thinking of Jeeves, valet-cum-butler in effect. And Hudson, too.

    Reply
  130. As I understand it (and I could be wrong) Heyer’s husband made up the mystery plots and then she wrote them. That could also be part of why they don’t work as well for many people — they didn’t tumble straight from her imagination, as the historicals did.
    Great blog, Christina. I was also thinking of Jeeves, valet-cum-butler in effect. And Hudson, too.

    Reply
  131. I love “Terrible Timothy” Harte in “They found him dead” and he gets to be the hero in “Duplicate death”. From New Scotland Yard, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, who also feature in eight of the novels, add the police procedural touch. Hemingway is very engaging and moves up the ranks to Chief Inspector.

    Reply
  132. I love “Terrible Timothy” Harte in “They found him dead” and he gets to be the hero in “Duplicate death”. From New Scotland Yard, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, who also feature in eight of the novels, add the police procedural touch. Hemingway is very engaging and moves up the ranks to Chief Inspector.

    Reply
  133. I love “Terrible Timothy” Harte in “They found him dead” and he gets to be the hero in “Duplicate death”. From New Scotland Yard, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, who also feature in eight of the novels, add the police procedural touch. Hemingway is very engaging and moves up the ranks to Chief Inspector.

    Reply
  134. I love “Terrible Timothy” Harte in “They found him dead” and he gets to be the hero in “Duplicate death”. From New Scotland Yard, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, who also feature in eight of the novels, add the police procedural touch. Hemingway is very engaging and moves up the ranks to Chief Inspector.

    Reply
  135. I love “Terrible Timothy” Harte in “They found him dead” and he gets to be the hero in “Duplicate death”. From New Scotland Yard, Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway, who also feature in eight of the novels, add the police procedural touch. Hemingway is very engaging and moves up the ranks to Chief Inspector.

    Reply
  136. Thank you, Anne! Yes, I think she needed him to come up with the crime plots but the characters are pure Heyer with witty dialogue as always. It’s a strange amalgamation and only works in some of them!

    Reply
  137. Thank you, Anne! Yes, I think she needed him to come up with the crime plots but the characters are pure Heyer with witty dialogue as always. It’s a strange amalgamation and only works in some of them!

    Reply
  138. Thank you, Anne! Yes, I think she needed him to come up with the crime plots but the characters are pure Heyer with witty dialogue as always. It’s a strange amalgamation and only works in some of them!

    Reply
  139. Thank you, Anne! Yes, I think she needed him to come up with the crime plots but the characters are pure Heyer with witty dialogue as always. It’s a strange amalgamation and only works in some of them!

    Reply
  140. Thank you, Anne! Yes, I think she needed him to come up with the crime plots but the characters are pure Heyer with witty dialogue as always. It’s a strange amalgamation and only works in some of them!

    Reply
  141. That would make sense, Vicki – if I was a butler or housekeeper and married, I’d want to work in the same house as my spouse. It must have made for a more harmonious working environment too (hopefully!). I was ok with Envious Casca but really didn’t like Penhallow!

    Reply
  142. That would make sense, Vicki – if I was a butler or housekeeper and married, I’d want to work in the same house as my spouse. It must have made for a more harmonious working environment too (hopefully!). I was ok with Envious Casca but really didn’t like Penhallow!

    Reply
  143. That would make sense, Vicki – if I was a butler or housekeeper and married, I’d want to work in the same house as my spouse. It must have made for a more harmonious working environment too (hopefully!). I was ok with Envious Casca but really didn’t like Penhallow!

    Reply
  144. That would make sense, Vicki – if I was a butler or housekeeper and married, I’d want to work in the same house as my spouse. It must have made for a more harmonious working environment too (hopefully!). I was ok with Envious Casca but really didn’t like Penhallow!

    Reply
  145. That would make sense, Vicki – if I was a butler or housekeeper and married, I’d want to work in the same house as my spouse. It must have made for a more harmonious working environment too (hopefully!). I was ok with Envious Casca but really didn’t like Penhallow!

    Reply
  146. Yes definitely! Timothy was a great character. This was why I was so pleased I read the books in order because I didn’t first time round and so I missed details like that. And yes, Hannasyde and Hemingway are brilliant and I loved seeing Hemingway take on his own cases.

    Reply
  147. Yes definitely! Timothy was a great character. This was why I was so pleased I read the books in order because I didn’t first time round and so I missed details like that. And yes, Hannasyde and Hemingway are brilliant and I loved seeing Hemingway take on his own cases.

    Reply
  148. Yes definitely! Timothy was a great character. This was why I was so pleased I read the books in order because I didn’t first time round and so I missed details like that. And yes, Hannasyde and Hemingway are brilliant and I loved seeing Hemingway take on his own cases.

    Reply
  149. Yes definitely! Timothy was a great character. This was why I was so pleased I read the books in order because I didn’t first time round and so I missed details like that. And yes, Hannasyde and Hemingway are brilliant and I loved seeing Hemingway take on his own cases.

    Reply
  150. Yes definitely! Timothy was a great character. This was why I was so pleased I read the books in order because I didn’t first time round and so I missed details like that. And yes, Hannasyde and Hemingway are brilliant and I loved seeing Hemingway take on his own cases.

    Reply
  151. Fascinating post, Christina. I really enjoyed it. I have read all of Heyer’s mystery books and enjoyed them to a greater or lesser degree (Envious Casca being my least favourite and No Wind of Blame probably my favourite.) I do agree there’s a sense of snobbishness and claustrophobia about them that feels very alien today. I think it was probably very accurate for the period though. I’ve only been “buttled” once or twice so have no real experience but I used to know a lady who had grown up in a big castle with servants in Scotland who told a story from her youth. One day, the after-dinner coffee was late arriving by about ten minutes and when the butler had finally distributed it he went up to her father and said with a completely wooden expression: “I do apologise for the delay, my lord. Cook died.”

    Reply
  152. Fascinating post, Christina. I really enjoyed it. I have read all of Heyer’s mystery books and enjoyed them to a greater or lesser degree (Envious Casca being my least favourite and No Wind of Blame probably my favourite.) I do agree there’s a sense of snobbishness and claustrophobia about them that feels very alien today. I think it was probably very accurate for the period though. I’ve only been “buttled” once or twice so have no real experience but I used to know a lady who had grown up in a big castle with servants in Scotland who told a story from her youth. One day, the after-dinner coffee was late arriving by about ten minutes and when the butler had finally distributed it he went up to her father and said with a completely wooden expression: “I do apologise for the delay, my lord. Cook died.”

    Reply
  153. Fascinating post, Christina. I really enjoyed it. I have read all of Heyer’s mystery books and enjoyed them to a greater or lesser degree (Envious Casca being my least favourite and No Wind of Blame probably my favourite.) I do agree there’s a sense of snobbishness and claustrophobia about them that feels very alien today. I think it was probably very accurate for the period though. I’ve only been “buttled” once or twice so have no real experience but I used to know a lady who had grown up in a big castle with servants in Scotland who told a story from her youth. One day, the after-dinner coffee was late arriving by about ten minutes and when the butler had finally distributed it he went up to her father and said with a completely wooden expression: “I do apologise for the delay, my lord. Cook died.”

    Reply
  154. Fascinating post, Christina. I really enjoyed it. I have read all of Heyer’s mystery books and enjoyed them to a greater or lesser degree (Envious Casca being my least favourite and No Wind of Blame probably my favourite.) I do agree there’s a sense of snobbishness and claustrophobia about them that feels very alien today. I think it was probably very accurate for the period though. I’ve only been “buttled” once or twice so have no real experience but I used to know a lady who had grown up in a big castle with servants in Scotland who told a story from her youth. One day, the after-dinner coffee was late arriving by about ten minutes and when the butler had finally distributed it he went up to her father and said with a completely wooden expression: “I do apologise for the delay, my lord. Cook died.”

    Reply
  155. Fascinating post, Christina. I really enjoyed it. I have read all of Heyer’s mystery books and enjoyed them to a greater or lesser degree (Envious Casca being my least favourite and No Wind of Blame probably my favourite.) I do agree there’s a sense of snobbishness and claustrophobia about them that feels very alien today. I think it was probably very accurate for the period though. I’ve only been “buttled” once or twice so have no real experience but I used to know a lady who had grown up in a big castle with servants in Scotland who told a story from her youth. One day, the after-dinner coffee was late arriving by about ten minutes and when the butler had finally distributed it he went up to her father and said with a completely wooden expression: “I do apologise for the delay, my lord. Cook died.”

    Reply
  156. OMG Nicola, that is priceless! But it really does illustrate how unflappable a butler had to be and also how unimportant the cook was – wow! Thank you for that, great story!

    Reply
  157. OMG Nicola, that is priceless! But it really does illustrate how unflappable a butler had to be and also how unimportant the cook was – wow! Thank you for that, great story!

    Reply
  158. OMG Nicola, that is priceless! But it really does illustrate how unflappable a butler had to be and also how unimportant the cook was – wow! Thank you for that, great story!

    Reply
  159. OMG Nicola, that is priceless! But it really does illustrate how unflappable a butler had to be and also how unimportant the cook was – wow! Thank you for that, great story!

    Reply
  160. OMG Nicola, that is priceless! But it really does illustrate how unflappable a butler had to be and also how unimportant the cook was – wow! Thank you for that, great story!

    Reply

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