The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

This is the third in my series of Georgette Heyer reviews. I had to read this one third because I remembered it with such delight! Here is a sample...

     "I was not aware of it, ma'am. Nor do I know why my cousin should leave her home at dead of night and undertake a solitary journey to London."
     "She was wishful to become a governess," explained Sarah.
     He stared at her in the blankest surprise. "Wishful to become a governess? Nonsense! Why should she wish anything of the kind?"
     "Just for the sake of adventure," said Miss Thane.
     "I have yet to learn that a governess's life is adventurous!" he said. "I should be grateful to you if you would tell me the truth!"
     "Come, come, sir!" said Miss Thane pityingly, "it must surely be within your knowledge that the eldest son of the house always falls in love with the governess, and elopes with her in the teeth of all opposition?"
     Sir Tristram drew a breath. "Does he?" he said.
     "Yes, but not, of course, until he has rescued her from an oubliette, and a band of masked ruffians set on to her by his mother," said Miss Thane matter-of-factly. "She has to suffer a good deal of persecution before she elopes."
     "I am of the opinion," said Sir Tristram with asperity, "that a little persecution would do my cousin a world of good! Her thirst for romance is likely to lead her into trouble. In fact, I was very much afraid that she had already run into trouble when I found her bandboxes upon the road. Perhaps, since she appears to have told you so much, she has also told you how she came to lose them?"
     Miss Thane, perceiving that this question would lead her on to dangerous ground, mendaciously denied all knowledge of the bandboxes. She then made the discovery that Sir Tristram Shield's eyes were uncomfortably penetrating. She met their skeptical gaze with all the blandness she could summon to her aid.
     "Indeed!" he said, politely incredulous. "But perhaps you can tell me why, if she was bound for London by the night mail, as her maid informed me, she is still in this inn?"
     "Certainly!" said Sarah, rising to the occasion. "She arrived too late for the mail, and was forced to put up for the night."
     "What did she do for night gear?" inquired Shield.
      "Oh, I lent her what she needed!"
     "I suppose she did not think the loss of her baggage of sufficient interest to call for explanation?"
     "To tell the truth - " began Sarah confidingly.
     "Thank you! I should like to hear the truth."
     "To tell the truth," repeated Sarah coldly, "she had a fright, and the bandboxes broke loose."
     "What frightened her?"
     "A Headless Horseman," said Sarah.
     He was frowning again. "Headless Horseman? Fiddlesticks!"
     "Very well," said Sarah, as one making a concession, "then it was a dragon."
     "I think," said Sir Tristram in a very level voice, "that it will be better if I see my cousin and hear her story from her own lips."
     "Not if you are going to approach it in this deplorable spirit," replied Miss Thane. "I dare say you would tell her there are no such things as dragons or headless horsemen!"
     Miss Thane cast down her eyes to hide the laughter in them, and replied in a saddened tone: "When she told me the whole I thought it impossible that anyone could be so devoid of all sensibility, but now that I have seen you I realize that she spoke no less than the melancholy truth. A man who could remain unaffected by the thought of a young girl, dressed in white, all alone, and in a tumbril --"
     His brow cleared; he gave a short laugh. "Does that rankle? But really I am past the age of being impressed by such absurdities."
     Miss Thane sighed. "Perhaps that might be forgiven, but your heartlessness in refusing to ride ventre à terre to her deathbed -"
     "Good God, surely she cannot have fled the house for such a ridiculous reason?" exclaimed Shield, considerably exasperated. "Why she should be continually harping on the notion of her death passes my comprehension! She seems to me a perfectly healthy young woman."
     Miss Thane looked at him in horror. "You did not tell her that, I trust?"

Now, does that not beg a smile from your lips if not a chuckle out loud however indecorous it may be?

Truly, this is a most delicious offering from our most talented Georgette Heyer. It was written later in her career, if 1936 can be called later. She had already written 20 novels, several of which she suppressed from further publication after the initial debut. Later we'll discuss why Beauvalet may have been suppressed, but today we're discussing The Talisman Ring.

Heyer does an excellent job with written humor. Actors will tell you that comedic acting is far more difficult that dramatic acting. Timing is the key, and comedic acting can be more toiling on the emotions than dramatic acting because of that fact. Heyer could very well be the number one comedic writer of her time.

She sets up the scene in a very nonchalant manner, then zings you with something so surprising the burst of laughter causes quite a stir in the doctor's office, or where ever you might be whiling away the waiting hours with your trusty Kindle or Nook.

I quite enjoy the subtleties of  her writing. Today authors think they must spell everything out in vulgar details giving readers the impression only authors have brains. Heyer takes her time in displaying the underlying character of each player in this novel. The reader is immediately drawn into Sir Tristam Sheffield's character. His strength, no nonsense attitude is calmly noted in his conversation with his grandfather. He promises to marry his cousin because he has yet to meet his one true love. No woman has ever displayed the slightest bit of sense to him so he assumes all women are silly, extravagant females, his cousin is no exception.

And from there we are off on a wonderful adventure filled with smugglers, Bow Street Runners, a shady innkeeper, a villain slowly revealed and a hidden Talisman Ring that proves the innocence of one of the heroes.

Again, don't miss it!

This one receives six of five stars. Don't miss it! It's a keeper and well worth the money.

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