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* WrongGenreSavvy: In ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'', financiers who are managing a specific, valuable trust fund keep dying mysteriously. Our protagonists naturally assume it's related to the nine million pounds that are at stake. It turns out that the financiers are indeed being murdered, but every likely suspect has an airtight alibi. [[spoiler: As Hillary points out once the mystery is solved, this is because they're acting as though they're in a modern crime thriller. If they'd taken a moment to think about things like a Victorian novel, it would be ''obvious'' that, when a married woman is away from her husband for long stretches and the men around her start getting bumped off, it's because her jealous husband is murdering what he thinks are her lovers.]]

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* WrongGenreSavvy: In ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'', financiers who are managing a specific, valuable trust fund keep dying mysteriously. Our protagonists naturally assume it's related to the nine million pounds that are at stake. It turns out that the financiers are indeed being murdered, but every likely suspect has an airtight alibi. alibi and none of the protagonists can crack the case. [[spoiler: As Hillary points out once the mystery is solved, this is because they're acting as though they're in a modern crime thriller.thriller where the motive is money. If they'd taken a moment to think about things like a Victorian novel, it would be ''obvious'' that, when a married woman is away from her husband for long stretches and the men around her start getting bumped off, it's because her jealous husband is murdering what he thinks are her lovers.]]

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* WrongGenreSavvy: In ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'', financiers who are managing a specific, valuable trust fund keep dying mysteriously. Our protagonists naturally assume it's related to the nine million pounds that are at stake. It turns out that the financiers are indeed being murdered, but every likely suspect has an airtight alibi. [[spoiler: As Hillary points out once the mystery is solved, this is because they're acting as though they're in a modern crime thriller. If they'd taken a moment to think about things like a Victorian novel, it would be ''obvious'' that, when a married woman is away from her husband for long stretches and the men around her start getting bumped off, it's because her jealous husband is murdering what he thinks are her lovers.]]


# ''The Sybil in Her Grave'' (2000)

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# ''The Sybil Sibyl in Her Grave'' (2000)





* BedTrick: A key plot point in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.

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* %%* BedTrick: A key plot point in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.



* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Julia.

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* %%* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Julia.



* DistinctionWithoutADifference:
-->"It's not exactly", said Selena, "that [Julia]'s unobservant. It's just that she doesn't always notice what's happening."



* NoExceptYes:
-->"It's not exactly," said Selena, "that [Julia]'s unobservant. It's just that she doesn't always notice what's happening."



* SympatheticAdulterer: Gabrielle in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.

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* %%* SympatheticAdulterer: Gabrielle in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.

Added DiffLines:

->On my first day in London I made an early start. Reaching the Public Records Office not much after ten, I soon secured the papers needed for my research and settled in my place. I became, as is the way of the scholar, so deeply absorbed as to lose all consciousness of my surroundings or the passage of time. When at last I came to myself it was almost eleven, and I was quite exhausted: I knew I could not prudently continue without refreshment.

The Hilary Tamar books are a series of witty first-person mystery novels by Sarah Caudwell, whose eponymous protagonist is probably one of the laziest detectives in literary history.

They are:

# ''Thus Was Adonis Murdered'' (1981)
# ''The Shortest Way to Hades'' (1985)
# ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'' (1989)
# ''The Sybil in Her Grave'' (2000)
----
!!Tropes featured include:
* AmateurSleuth: Hilary -- who does most of the actual detecting -- is an Oxford professor. Most of the other major characters are barristers.
* BedTrick: A key plot point in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.
* ChainedToABed: Edmund Albany ends up this way in ''The Sybil in Her Grave'', after addressing a French dominatrix as ''tu'' when she would have preferred ''vous''.
* ChekhovsGunman: Several elderly relatives. Colonel Cantrip gets a mention in ''Thus Was Adonis Murdered'' and ends up playing BigDamnHeroes in a stolen helicopter in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''. Julia's Aunt Regina gets a brief mention in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'' before playing an important role in ''The Sybil in Her Grave''.
* ClearTheirName: ''Thus Was Adonis Murdered'' is about Julia accidentally getting herself arrested for murder in Venice and Hilary having to clear her of it.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Julia.
* CouldSayItBut: The prologue of ''The Shortest Way to Hades'' starts by violently denying that the book is in any way fictional, before going on to talk about what would have been in the prologue if it were a novel rather than a historical document.
* EpistolaryNovel: None of the novels are full examples of this, but all of them narrate significant portions of their action through letters.
* ExcitedShowTitle: An in-universe example: in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'', Julia and Cantrip are writing a novel called ''Chancery!''
* GenderNeutralWriting / TheAllConcealingI: Hilary Tamar's gender is never revealed. The prologue to ''The Sybil in Her Grave'' all but comes out and says that Hilary is [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis doing this on purpose]], believing that this kind of personal detail is irrelevant to the cases that s/he is describing.
* HerCodeNameWasMarySue: Julia and Cantrip's novel ''Chancery!'', described in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'', fits this to a T. The two protagonists are obvious stand-ins for them, the villains are modeled after Cantrip's romantic rival and a judge Julia is having trouble with, and so on.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Julia and Selena, complete with the obligatory continuous MistakenForGay.
* IHaveManyNames: Discussed with reference to Greek places in ''The Shortest Way to Hades'':
--> We came without further misadventure to the island which I call Corfu, which its inhabitants call Kekira, which ancient historians call Corcyra, and which Homer calls Scheria, the land of the Phaecians -- never try to tell me that the Greeks don't do this on purpose.
* IHaveThisFriend: In ''The Shortest Way to Hades'', Lucian and Lucinda try this on Hilary, who doesn't buy it.
* IntoxicationEnsues: In ''The Shortest Way to Hades'', the fudge that Julia and Selena eat while at Rupert Galloway's party/orgy is spiked, leading them to "cast off all conventional restraints and devote [themselves] without shame to the pleasures of the moment." In Selena's case, this means reading a copy of ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' while ignoring anyone who tries to talk to her; in Julia's case, it means explaining the effect of Section 478 of the Taxes Act to anyone who's willing to listen.
* LastNameBasis: (Desmond) Ragwort and (Michael) Cantrip. Also, in the letters he writes to her, Cantrip habitually addresses Julia as "Larwood".
* NeverSuicide: Deirdre's death in ''The Shortest Way to Hades'' is initially ruled a suicide.
* NoExceptYes:
-->"It's not exactly," said Selena, "that [Julia]'s unobservant. It's just that she doesn't always notice what's happening."
* NoodleIncident: Everything involving Cantrip and Julia's past relationship seems to fall into this category. There's one April Fool's Day incident involving spiders, something else that happened right after Julia won a case about goldfish, and so on.
* NoSenseOfDirection: Julia gets lost constantly; this is an important plot point in ''Thus Was Adonis Murdered''.
* OopNorth: Geoffrey Bolton in ''The Sybil in Her Grave'' is a bank director with a prominent accent of this sort. [[spoiler:It turns out that he's exaggerating the accent -- and the stereotypes associated with it -- to mess with a co-worker he doesn't like.]]
* APartyAlsoKnownAsAnOrgy: Julia and Selena accidentally end up at one in ''The Shortest Way to Hades''.
-->"Julia was afraid we might be committing some sort of solecism by not taking our clothes off; but I thought we could regard the occasion as one at which dress was optional."
* RedHerring: Quite a few elaborate ones. In particular, ''The Sybil in Her Grave'', [[spoiler:all the mysterious deaths turn out to be entirely unrelated to the insider trading problem that initially attracts Hilary's attention to them.]]
* SorryImGay: Julia deliberately makes Malvoisin think she's a lesbian in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder'' in an attempt to make it easier to turn down his advances without ruining their business relationship.
* SympatheticAdulterer: Gabrielle in ''The Sirens Sang of Murder''.
* ThemeInitials: ''The Shortest Way to Hades'' has twins Lucian and Lucinda, as well as their younger half-brother Leonidas.
* {{Troll}}: Cantrip with access to a telex machine.
-->His messages, covering a wide range of topics and sometimes employing various ingenious noms de telex, were addressed not merely to his friends, acquaintances, and enemies in every corner of the world but often to total strangers whose telex number became available to him. Could he have contented himself with mere composition, no harm would have come of it, but seldom if ever was he able to deny himself the ultimate rapture of pressing the key marked "Enter" to transmit the message to its destination.
:: He eventually gets banned from using it, after a transparent attempt to get the British government to give him silk.
* UnreliableNarrator: A minor example: everything that happens is probably described accurately, but Hilary's motives are clearly never quite as pure as s/he claims.
* UpperClassTwit: Cantrip has all the right mannerisms for this trope, despite being gainfully employed.
----

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