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Creator / Georgette Heyer

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Georgette Heyer (16 August 1902 – 4 July 1974) was one of the most successful English romance novelists of the 20th century. Her books were famous for her intelligent comedy, the genuine sweetness of her romances and her meticulous research on the Regency period - which in turn leads to An Infamous Army rather incongruously being on the recommended reading list at, of all things, Sandhurst, the UK equivalent of West Point, for its superb description of the Battle of Waterloo. She also wrote a few detective novels here and there, but these aren't nearly as well-known, which is a shame.

Heyer's heroes and heroines (occasionally dubbed Heyeroes and Heyeroines) tended to come in two types each:

  • Hero #1: Tall, usually dark, and definitely handsome. Almost always has a past. While highly unlikely to actually mistreat the heroine, he's not above scaring her into submission (however, as he's often dealing with Heroine #1, it's unlikely to work).
  • Hero #2: This is the consummate gentleman, who invariably comes up with the perfect response to any situation. Their usual role is to provide the heroine with an escape from any difficulties, whereas Hero #1 is frequently the cause of those difficulties.

  • Heroine #1: A lively young woman. She naturally gets herself into many a social scrape, from which the hero must rescue her, and either bounces back or feels humiliated deep down inside that he saw her in such a state.
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  • Heroine #2: Overlooked and ignored, she may seem quiet. However, once the hero talks to her, or needs help, Heroine #2 comes into her own and reveals Hidden Depths.

Heyer was not above mixing and matching types, as well as subverting the expectations of her readers. In Sylvester, for example, the eponymous hero appears to be a Hero #1, whereas he's actually a Hero #2 (he merely has an unfortunate pair of eyebrows).

Heyer used a lot of tropes in various ways, so listing them by novel seems the best way to go.


Tropes present in most Heyers include:

Individual works provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A Blunt Instrument 
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The first victim is originally portrayed as a nice old guy... however, it soons turns out he's a Dirty Old Man, which explains why he was killed.
  • Detective Mole: The local police constable who "found" the body, PC Glass, is the murderer, and the titular weapon was his police truncheon.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: Might be intentional... but if not, she was probably having an off day.
  • The Fundamentalist: Constable Glass, Up to Eleven.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One early chapter includes some of the suspects thinking about how to get some IOUs out of a safe. Failing completely, they immediately lampshade the situation by pointing out how much easier it would be if they were all characters in a detective novel.

    April Lady 
  • Unable to Support a Wife: The reason Giles isn't worried about Allandale and Letty trying to elope. Letty would take more supporting than the average wife. Things change when Allandale gets the offer to go to Brazil.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Allandale and Letty.

  • Credit Card Plot: For Bertram.
  • Elopement: Started, but Arabella decides she can't go through with it. Much to Mr. Beaumaris's amusement and gratification.
  • Good Samaritan: Arabella.
  • Happily Married: Arabella's parents.
  • Love Epiphany: Mr Beaumaris has a very strong one, when he sees Arabella defend a poor urchin. It impacts him so strongly, he has to grip the back of a chair.

    Bath Tangle 
  • Arranged Marriage: Even after his death, Serena's father wants to tie her to Ivo, by making him executor of his will, and putting her fortune in trust under Ivo's care. And by making it up to Ivo to decide whether Serena may or may not marry and whom she may marry.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Serena and Ivo are not pleasant to one another for the majority of the book.


    Behold, Here's Poison 

    The Black Moth 

    Black Sheep 
  • Abduction Is Love: Parodied: Miles kidnaps Abby in the end, but she's just irritated at him for being presumptuous; when he offers to take her back to her family if she says she really doesn't want to marry him, she replies that he can abduct her, but he can't make her tell a lie.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Miles and Abby discuss the logistics of a nocturnal elopement and agree that using a rope ladder in real life would be insanely difficult, especially for a woman wearing long skirts and petticoats.
  • Batman Gambit: Miles hiring a prostitute to trick Stacey.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted with Stacey Calverleigh.
  • The Charmer: Most characters (except Abby) find Stacey to be this.
  • Elopement:
    • Averted by a timely attack of influenza.
    • Also, the big reason Miles is the "black sheep" of his family is that he once attempted to elope with Fanny's mother.
  • Genre Savvy: Abby refuses to pull a Parental Marriage Veto on Fanny, knowing Fanny will try to elope with Stacey if she does.
  • Gold Digger: Stacey is a male example.
  • Guile Hero: Miles can be seen as a reluctant, lazy version of this.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Dolly "the Dasher" jumps at the chance to help Miles with his plan to show Stacey's true colors. In fact, she insists to be part of it.
  • Humiliation Conga: For Stacey Calverleigh.
  • Hypochondria: Selina's favorite pastime.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Between Abby and Miles early on, when she thinks he's the other Mr. Calverleigh.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Abby and Selina, the former lively, witty, and not one for social conventions, the latter a dainty hypochondriac who insists upon propriety.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: Miles shocks some people by paying morning calls in riding dress.
  • The Un-Favourite: Miles was this in his family. He is the titular Black Sheep.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Fanny.

    Charity Girl 
  • Damsel in Distress: But not the heroine herself.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Implied. Both Desford and the heroine experience the jealousy, but the epiphany part happens off-page.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: Discussed; Cherry's father says that Desford should offer to marry Cherry to save her reputation after he took her to London. Everyone who hears the idea laughs it off, as Desford went to great lengths to make sure Cherry's reputation was not damaged.
  • The Ingenue: Cherry, who is even referred to as such at one point.

    A Civil Contract 
  • All Take and No Give: Adam is stricken with horror upon realizing that, while Jenny is trying to make him comfortable and her wealth has given him everything, he's given her nothing. After that point, he starts trying to be considerate of her feelings and wants instead of being polite but minimum-effort.
  • Birds of a Feather: Once they get to know each other, Adam and Jenny discover they have far more in common than either suspected, with both being level-headed, practical, reserved in manners of their feelings, countryside lovers, and interested in handling their household affairs hands-on.
  • First Love: Adam for Julia and vice versa. Compounding issues is that he's still in love with her, but has to marry Jenny to save his family. And they still have to see each other in society. By the end of the novel, he's moved on and loves Jenny, though Jenny notes he'll likely always have a special place in his heart for Julia.
  • Happily Married: Adam and Jenny, eventually. The end of the novel notes that while theirs may not be a grand, exciting marriage built on the passion he had with Julia, it is one built on deepening friendship and comfortable love, and those make up far more of life's moments than passion alone.
  • Historical In-Joke: Adam buying Government stock just before Waterloo.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Jenny's father warning Adam that Wellington is bound to lose at Waterloo.
  • Nobility Marries Money: What kickstarts the Arranged Marriage between Adam and Jenny is the former's desperate need of money to pay off his father's debt's, and the latter's father's desperate want of a title for his daughter.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Parodied: Adam pretends to be doubtful about Brough's intentions.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
    • Adam and Jenny, as despite initial appearances they're both willing to try and make it work — Jenny rather more so, of course — and suit each other well.
    • Julia and Rockhill, despite the age gap. He finds her dramatics quite endearing and handles them well, while she's happy to be surrounded by love.
  • Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Adam barely registers Jenny's existence until he finds out he's bankrupt and she has lots of money.
  • Wrong Guy First: Naturally for a Heyer novel. By the end of the book, Adam and Julia have both learned that, while they had passion for each other, they didn't have very compatible personalities: Adam finds Julia too dramatic and she finds him too boring, and their current spouses suit them much better.

    The Conquerer 

    The Convenient Marriage 
  • Arranged Marriage: Horatia and Rule.
  • The Baroness / Woman Scorned: Caroline Massey.
  • Best Served Cold: Lethbridge has been waiting seven years to get his revenge on Rule for foiling his attempt to elope with Rule's sister.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Viscount Winwood and company.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Lethbridge's intention for Horatia. Eventually leads to I Have You Now, My Pretty, foiled by a Tap on the Head.
  • Duel to the Death: Two, in fact, although neither ends in death.
  • Gambit Pileup: Lady Massey is out to get Rule back; Lord Lethbridge is out to compromise Horatia in order to humiliate her husband; Drelincourt wants to destroy the marriage so he won't be displaced in the succession to the Earldom; Viscount Winwood wants to protect his sister; Horatia wants to save her marriage — and Rule wants exactly the same thing. The intersection of all these plots and plans results in a confused whirlwind of duels, risqué parties, kidnapping, attempted murder, highwaymen and an heirloom brooch.
  • The Gambling Addict: Several members of the Winwood family have "the fatal weakness."
  • Gem-Encrusted: Horatia buys a pair of shoes with emerald-studded heels, the emeralds explain the ridiculous price.
  • The Highwayman: Played with. If a highwayman appears, either someone hired him for an ulterior purpose, or he's a major character in disguise.
  • I Am Not Pretty: "Horry" is certainly unconventional, with a Speech Impediment and straight, heavy eyebrows, but Rule finds her charming just the way she is.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Horatia is in love with her husband, and her husband is in love with her, but neither know it. Horatia thinks that her husband loves his former mistress Lady Caroline Massey, and thus falls into an unfortunate entanglement with Lord Lethbridge, who himself had an affair with Lady Caroline.
  • MacGuffin: Everybody wants Horry's heirloom ring brooch.
  • Milholland Relationship Moment: several, actually, but most notably Horatia's confession after Ranelagh.
  • Rescue Romance: How Lethbridge gets Horry's attention.
  • Signature Item Clue: Horatia loses her distinctive heirloom ring brooch at Lethbridge's home.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Horatia is this.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
    • Viscount Winwood provokes Drelincourt into challenging him to a duel by first insulting and then stamping on his hat.
    • In a more metaphorical sense, Horatia leaves Rule a defiant message before going off to Ranelagh.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Horry's Impoverished Patrician family desperately needs the match with the wealthy Earl of Rule but the beautiful elder sister is in love with another man. Horry very sensibly goes to Rule who is marrying for the bloodline not love, and asks if she won't do instead? He decides she would.
  • Zany Scheme: Any plan Horry and her brother come up with.

    The Corinthian 

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted.
  • Betty and Veronica: Freddy is Betty and Jack is Veronica for Kitty.
  • Camp Straight: Freddy, who is not The Casanova, cares deeply about fashion, and is very fastidious about rules of proper conduct. He is considered so safe for women that men don't mind him being around their wives and Kitty uses him as her fake fiancé, knowing that he won't take advantage of this and want to marry her himself. But he is certainly straight, and becomes protective of her to the point of violence, which shocks everybody he knows, and eventually falls in love with her.
  • Chaste Hero: Freddy. Often mistaken by readers as latent or closeted homosexual (see above) [1], but as a matter of fact there is no sign of his being attracted to anybody until Kitty comes along, of course. He is, because of this trope, considered so harmless, that other men don't mind him spending time with their wives.
  • Converting for Love: It's mentioned in passing that Olivia will probably have to become a Catholic to marry Camille.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Freddy may be a trifle slow, and he is neither tall or strong like his cousin Jack, but when the stronger, taller and rakish Jack calls Kitty a jade, Freddy punches him straight in the face.
  • Genius Ditz: Freddy.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Parodied: Camille makes extravagant proclamations of what he would do to save Olivia, but is surprised when practical Freddy suggests simply eloping with her. Also played subtly straight with Freddy submitting to a day of sightseeing with Kitty.
  • Hands-On Approach: Freddy and Kitty dancing.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Freddy tries to do this for Kitty, despite genuine reservations about Jack beyond simple jealousy.
  • Kick the Dog: Jack blackmails Camille and insults Freddy.
  • Love at First Sight: Camille and Olivia.
  • Loving a Shadow: Kitty's realisation that she only ever loved her childhood hero, not Jack himself.
  • Masquerade Ball: Kitty has a miserable time at one of these until Freddy rescues her.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Kitty tries one of these on Jack.
  • Poirot Speak: Camille.
  • Professional Gambler: Jack, Camille.
  • Reformed Rakes: Subverted: not only is Jack not planning to reform for Kitty's sake, he's actively trying to seduce a friend of hers while courting her.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Kitty and Freddy.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Sort of: Kitty is running away from the possibility of being forced into an engagement to please her guardian, before coming up with a better plan.
  • Secret Relationship: Freddy and Kitty pretend to have one of these.

    Cousin Kate 
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Torquil basically has the symptoms Heyer needs him to have for the plot, not ones that actually fit into a comprehensible diagnosis.
  • Arranged Marriage: Minerva tries to press-gang Kate into one of these.

    Detection Unlimited 

    Devil's Cub 
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Although Mary mocks Vidal as being no more than bratty and not nearly as bad as he thinks he is.
  • Betty and Veronica: Appears several times. For Vidal Mary is Betty and her sister Sophie is Veronica. For Mary, Comyn is Betty and Vidal is Veronica.
  • Continuity Nod: Avon deplores Vidal's lack of finesse in methods of daylight abduction.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted: Mary shoots Vidal when he comes near her and derides crying and screaming as a useless ploy when in trouble.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Mary and Sophia.
  • Handsome Lech: Vidal.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: First Vidal insists he must marry Mary to make up for compromising her reputation by taking her to France with him. Then Mr. Comyn offers her a way out of that dilemma by offering to marry her himself.
  • Happily Married: Avon and Léonie from These Old Shades.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: It may not have been intended as such, but Vidal goes to great lengths to make sure everyone knows he and Mary have not had sex.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Thanks to the Twin Switch below, Mary deliberately infuriates Vidal to put him off her sister for good. She mourns afterwards how silly an idea this really was, since it leads to him forcing her to come with him to France.
  • Parent ex Machina: Avon.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Mary fully expects one of these from Vidal's parents, so she runs away before they get there; averted because they both thoroughly approve of her.
  • Poirot Speak: Léonie.
  • Rescue Romance: Averted: Vidal is what Mary needs to be rescued from.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Vidal.
  • Twin Switch: Sort of: Mary, although not Sophia's twin, swaps places with her in her elopement with Vidal in order to put him off.
  • The Un-Favourite: Mary is this to her mother, who much prefers Sophia.

    False Colours 
  • Fat Idiot / Fat Slob: Averted with Bonamy Ripple. He may be enormously fat, but he's a fastidious dresser and surprisingly perceptive (given his easygoing nature).
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: What Evelyn is experiencing while Kit takes his place.
  • Ms. Red Ink: Lady Denville.
  • Noodle Incident: Just what did the twins do to get themselves sent down from Oxford? Whatever it was, they consider it one of their best stunts, and the students are still talking about it years later.
  • Twin Switch: The entire premise.
  • Twin Telepathy: Kit rushes back to England because he has a premonition that Evelyn is in trouble. He is also sure that Evelyn isn't dead, even as time drags on with no sign of him.

    Faro's Daughter 

    The Foundling 
  • Betty and Veronica: Subverted: everyone thinks Gilly is in love with Belinda, but he isn't.


    Friday's Child 
  • Affectionate Parody: George is a clear parody of the Byronic Hero archetype, and his relationship with Isabella a clear parody of the dramatic Slap-Slap-Kiss romance that is not uncommonly paired with said archetype. Both of those have been lovingly written by Georgette Heyer herself.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Isabella rejects Sherry—a rake with a bad gambling habit—because he's not bad enough for her tastes. In fact, she's thinking of George, a parody of a brooding Byronic Hero with the same bad habits as Sherry but with a quick temper on top, when she does so, and has a rather tempestuous relationship with him.
  • Beta Couple: George and Isabella.
  • The Bro Code: Essentially the reason why Sherry throws a fit at the idea of George and Hero having an affair - that, and he's in love with Hero, of course.
  • Byronic Hero: Invoked and parodied - George would love to be this, acts like a stereotypical one, and the narrative and his friends both poke fun at him for being so wildly dramatic.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Victorious Hero.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hero, Ferdy.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Sherry, Hero to an extent.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Isabella.
  • Duel to the Death: George is constantly spoiling for one. He gets his wish when Sherry catches him giving Hero a brotherly kiss, but neither of them dies.
  • Friendless Background: Hero seems to have only had two friends in her life prior to marrying Sherry, one of whom was him, the other being Isabella, and neither of them seem to have paid her much attention.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sherry's mother, affronted when her son orders her to deliver an heirloom emerald necklace to Hero, sarcastically asks if he wants her to give her the pearl set and diamond stud as well. Sherry says that yes, in fact, he would, leaving his stupefied mother with the realization that she played herself.
  • The Ingenue: Hero.
  • Kick the Dog: Revesby, first when he rejects his discarded mistress and illegitimate infant daughter and second when he arranges for Hero to get into debt.
  • Lovable Coward: Ferdy, whom Sherry can't even stay angry with when he finds out Ferdy hid his wife from him for weeks because Ferdy is so shamelessly trying to placate him.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Isabella. While she is rich, haughty, and runs hot-and-cold, most of her unpleasant moments are also her most sympathetic, and she can be a genuinely good friend to Sherry and Hero when not spurred by pique.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Both Sherry and George court Isabella Milborne (along with many other men). Sherry marries Hero, who is in love with him. Hero and George find comfort in each other because they think (wrongly) that their loves are unrequited. This makes Isabella think that George is in love with Hero, and fall into a scrape with Sir Montagu Revesby. Meanwhile, Hero is courted by Mr Tarleton, which makes Sherry fall into another jealous rage.
  • Love Epiphany:
    • When Hero runs away, Sherry has this. In fact, the whole thing was staged so he could have this.
    • Isabella has her when visiting Severn, the man her mother wants her to marry, realizing that while George might be a poor political match she would go crazy without him.
  • Marry for Love: Isabella eventually cracks and admits that this is what she wants.
  • Masquerade Ball: Hero gets into trouble at one of these as a result of Sherry ditching her.
  • Meet Cute: While it is not their first-ever meeting, the first time Sherry and Hero meet in the book is when Sherry accidentally comes across Hero crying on a wall and proposes marriage.
  • No Sympathy: Played for Laughs. This is Sherry's usual reaction to George's passionate dramatics regarding Isabela. Of special note is when George declares he would grind Isabela's rose under his heel if he believed she gave it to him to spite another suitor, and Sherry just tells him not to ruin his new carpet.
  • Reformed Rakes: Part of Sherry's Character Development.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Sherry elopes with Hero in the first few chapters.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Hero, who is often remarked upon as being 'taking', once she comes out in town. This may have more to do with being happily in love with her husband, though.
  • Shrinking Violet: Hero.
  • Tsundere: Isabella.
  • The Un-Favourite: Hero is this to her family, which is why she wants to run away with Sherry.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Tarleton believes that Hero is a runaway orphan seeking to elope with a rich, loving man to escape the fate of being a governess. He's actually completely right about that, except for the small detail that she's already in love and married, so while he thinks he's going to be the one to sweep her off her feet Cinderella-style, Sherry already has. He also comes to the incorrect conclusion that Sherry is a Stalker with a Crush who Hero wants to be protected from.

    The Grand Sophy 
  • The Chessmaster: Sophy, of course.
  • Genre Savvy: Sophy's management of the Augustus/Cecilia/Charlbury triangle relies heavily on her knowledge of how Cecilia perceives the tropes involved.
  • Greedy Jew: Goldhanger, the moneylender.
  • Licked by the Dog: Everyone thinks Charles is a domestic tyrant, but Sophy knows better...because every animal in the novel loves and trusts him, of course!
  • Locked in a Room: Subverted: Eugenia and Augustus are locked in a wood, but emerge only extremely annoyed.
  • Love at First Sight: Parodied with Cecilia and Augustus.
  • Love Dodecahedron: The Grand Sophy has a wonderfully convoluted one: Charles is engaged to Eugenia, but falls in love with Sophy, who is in turn admired by Lord Bromford. She pretends to attach Lord Charlbury to herself, in order to make Cecilia, whom Lord Charlbury loves, jealous and in order to detach her from Augustus. Augustus drops his love of Cecilia in favour of being temporarily infatuated with Sophy. Eugenia falls in love with Lord Bromford, and cuts her engagement to Charles, who then can propose to Sophy.
  • Love Epiphany: Charles seems to have one when he sees Sophy self-sacrificially tending to his very ill little sister.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Sophy shoots a friend in the arm with only the noblest of intentions.

    The Great Roxhythe 

    An Infamous Army 

    Lady of Quality 

    The Masqueraders 

    My Lord John 

    The Nonesuch 

    No Wind of Blame 


    Pistols For Two 
  • Accidental Marriage: In "Hazard", the hero is so drunk when he wins the card game that he and the heroine are halfway to Gretna Green when he wakes up the next morning.
  • Arranged Marriage: The hero of "Hazard" is about to go through with one of these; luckily for him, he has a Runaway Fiancé.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: "Hazard".
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Annabella and Tom from "Full Moon", who are very fond of each other and plan to elope only because Annabella is so horrified at the idea of marrying an old man.
  • Repetitive Name: Carlington Carlington in "Hazard". Though that's probably a typo/omitted comma.
  • Right in Front of Me: Annabella and Tom complain bitterly to a friendly stranger about the "horrid old friend" of Annabella's father whom she's expected to marry. Neither of them have ever met him, leading to predictable results.

    Powder and Patch 

    The Quiet Gentleman 
  • Cain and Abel: Theodore wants to make it look like this trope, arranging his traps for St Erth to make it look as though Martin was trying to murder his brother. Indeed, Martin's emotions about his brother are complex and he does harbour a lot of resentment against him. He doesn't actually want to murder him, though.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Drusilla thinks this.
  • Karma Houdini: The attempted murderer's punishment is to be shipped off to manage the family's rum business in the West Indies, because St. Erth doesn't want to put everyone through the public indignity of a trial. It doesn't even count as Reassigned to Antarctica because Theodore doesn't particularly care about the loss of high society—being solely in charge of a large operation is what he's good at and what he's always wanted, so in a way it's more of a reward than anything else.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Drusilla is interested in St Erth, who along with Theodore, Martin and Viscount Ulverston are all interested in Marianne, who in turn is only interested in the Viscount.
  • Politeness Judo: St Erth is indeed a quiet gentleman. He gets his way simply by being extremely polite while not backing down. Drusilla does the same thing with the Dowager. Which is why they're a perfect match.
  • Raised by Grandparents: St. Erth's grandmother took him in because his father so obviously resented him for looking like his adulterous mother.
  • The Un-Favourite: St Erth is this to his stepmother, and was to his father as well. Although he's very even-keeled about it, he openly acknowledges that his father would have left everything to Martin had the estate not been entailed.

    Regency Buck 
  • Agent Peacock: Worth. He is one of the dandy set, closely befriended with dandy-in-chief Beau Brummel, and Judith is convinced that all dandies are horrid sissies, only to be shocked to find them actually kind of classy, very well dressed and in the case of Worth surprisingly badass. Worth is a skilled boxer, who can knock another man out cold when it becomes necessary.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Judith really does not get on with Worth for about half the book.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: The climax of the plot reveals that the Taverner siblings' cousin, Bernard, has been trying to dispose of Peregrine so Judith could inherit the whole of the family fortune, and then marry Judith (to his credit, he does appear to have genuinely fallen in love with her). Judith despairingly says that if he needed money, all he had to do was ask them for it. However, Worth points out that Bernard likely wouldn't want to be beholden to his cousins, and in any case his own debts were far too great to be paid by an indulgent relation and Worth himself would have forbidden it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Worth, who is busy being an arse to Judith's face while protecting her from fortune-hunters and her brother from murderers behind her back.
  • Meet Cute: Worth first meets the siblings when their curricles collide. The next day he happens upon Judith in distress by the side of the road and insists on escorting her back to town.
  • Resentful Guardian: It's a downplayed example since he's only responsible for them for a year or two, but Worth does make it clear he finds being Judith and Peregrine's guardian very annoying at times. Partly because they sometimes behave foolishly and he dislikes his name being connected to thier antics, mostly because he's in love with Judith but can't propose to her until she comes of age and is no longer his ward.
  • Reverse Psychology: How Worth gets Judith to take the house he wants in Brighton.

    The Reluctant Widow 

    Royal Escape 
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Charles Stuart is an unashamed womanizer but he will not take advantage of an honest young woman who is helping him at the risk of her life.
  • King Incognito: Charles II. He is in fact a little too comfortable with incognito to suit some of his stiffer supporters.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Charles is tired, hurt and scared but he makes an effort to be courteous and friendly to the common folk helping him.

    Simon the Coldheart 
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Averted: the language used is thick with genuine Middle English, so much so that a glossary was included.

    The Spanish Bride 

    Sprig Muslin 

  • Arranged Marriage: Played with. Sylvester wants one, but his mother is reluctant to arrange anything for him. When he presses she confesses that she had at one point thought to maybe match him with her deceased friend's daughter. She doesn't actually arrange the thing still, Sylvester merely decides that he will see Phoebe for himself, without knowing that he had, unwittingly, insulted her when he had been introduced to her during the Season. Hilarity ensues.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Sylvester is one.
  • Brainless Beauty: Both Ianthe and Sir Nugent.
  • Break the Haughty: Sylvester, though a mild example.
  • Dark Secret: Phoebe wrote the society novel of the year, featuring an Expy of Sylvester as the villain.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Sylvester.
  • Evil Eyebrows: The thing that makes Sylvester so easily identifiable as the villain in Phoebe's novel.
  • Evil Uncle: Subverted: Sylvester is perceived to be this by everyone, but he's actually a far better Parental Figure than the boy's mother.
  • It's All About Me: Ianthe is convinced that The Lost Heir was written for the express purpose of warning her about Sylvester.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Phoebe and Tom.
  • Mouthy Kid: Edmund.
  • Not So Great Escape: Phoebe's attempt to run away from having to submit to Sylvester's courtship. She is found by him, when she and Tom meet an with an accident on the way and are trapped by the snow at an inn on the way to London.
  • The Proud Elite: Sylvester, especially at the beginning.
  • Roman à Clef: Phoebe writes one. See Dark Secret above.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Phoebe, once away from her Wicked Stepmother.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Phoebe.
  • The Un-Favourite: Phoebe is this to her stepmother.
  • Wardrobe Wound: Sir Nugent goes into fits when a dog bites the tassels off his boots. Earlier, he is deeply pained at having to cut a button off his coat (thinking it will placate Edmund, who is actually crying for Button, his nurse).

    The Talisman Ring 

    The Toll-Gate 
  • Altar the Speed: John and Nell are...unexpectedly...married by Sir Peter's bedside because he's decided he wants it done before he dies.

    These Old Shades 

    The Unfinished Clue 

    The Unknown Ajax 

  • Crusty Caretaker: Spurstow (a handy way of making people reluctant to visit him).
  • The Dandy: Claud.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Upon finding out that Lord Darracott intends for him to marry Anthea, Hugo invents a fiancée back in Yorkshire. (Anthea has already said that she doesn't want to marry him, but she also feels the need to discourage him from proposing by being very cold. He invents "Amelia Micklethorpe" in the hopes she'll lay off if she doesn't think she has to scare him away.)
  • Indy Ploy: Richmond is shot by Ottershaw's men and leaves a trail of blood leading straight to his home. Hugo just has a few minutes to come up with a brilliant plan before the customs officers barges in and arrests his cousin (and possibly the whole family) for smuggling... and somehow gets the whole family and some servants to put on a show to convince the officers they shot the wrong cousin. It works.
  • Inspector Javert: Lieutenant Ottershaw with his near-fanatical pursuit of smugglers.
  • Kissing Cousins: Anthea and Hugo.
  • Mysterious Past: Hugo, eventually revealed.
  • My Valet-Fu is Stronger Than Yours: Crimplesham and Polyphant (Vincent and Claud's valets, respectively) spend a great deal of time trying to one-up each other.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Hugo pretends to be much less educated and socially adept than he actually is, half because he thinks it's hilarious how his relatives react, half because his size makes responding to insults tricky (since almost everyone is smaller than him, he'd look like the aggressor no matter what), so it's easier to pretend he doesn't realize he's been insulted.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Aunt Aurelia is the only character to notice that Hugo's Oop North accent goes away, rather than appears, when he's not paying attention. (He does come by the broad Yorkshire accent honestly, but after his education he has to concentrate to put it on.)
  • Oop North: Hugo milks this for all he's worth, pretending to be a Fish out of Water in genteel surroundings, and very much enjoys the reactions of his relatives—until Anthea corners him and forces him to admit he was actually educated at Harrow.
  • The Patriarch: Lord Darracott.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The truth behind the supposedly-haunted Dower House.
  • Secret Underground Passage
  • Unexpected Successor: Hugo becomes the heir after Lord Darracott's eldest son and grandson are drowned in a boating accident.

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Aubrey to an extent, although Conway is far worse despite never actually appearing.
  • Beneath the Mask: Damerel has thrown himself into the lifestyle of a rake after ruining his own reputation through a youthful mistake, but Venetia gets to see a different side of him.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Aubrey and Venetia have elements of this.
  • Byronic Hero: Damerel is this.
  • Cool Big Sis: Venetia.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Damerel.
  • Double Standard: Played with; Damerel arguably suffered more for running off with a married woman than she did.
  • Emo Teen: Oswald, who desperately wishes he was a Byronic Hero.
    "He is brooding over nameless crimes, I daresay, and only think how disheartening to have his dark thoughts mistaken for a fit of the sulks!"
  • Faking the Dead: Venetia's mother ran off with a lover and was divorced by her father; he told the children that she had died suddenly.
  • Forceful Kiss: Oswald tries this on Venetia.
  • The Ghost: Conway is often talked about, and various of his offstage actions are important to the plot, but he never appears.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Venetia, and also her mother.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Damerel sends Venetia away due to the irreparable damage that would be done to her reputation if they married.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Damerel pretends that his flirtation with Venetia had only been a pleasant game, and makes her leave, because he thinks she deserves better than him, and because of his reputation (see above).
  • Moment Killer: Every time Damerel tries to propose to Venetia, Aubrey pops up.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: Everyone, with the exception of Aubrey and Venetia –- and including Damerel -– thinks Damerel and Venetia will be miserable together.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: An inversion of sorts, as it is Conway's new mother-in-law who makes things miserable for Venetia when she moves in.
  • Pair the Spares: It's hinted that Edward Yardley and Clara Denny will probably marry after being rejected by Venetia and Conway, respectively.
  • Reformed Rakes: Played with more than used straight. Damerel won't seduce Venetia, but it's up to interpretation how much his way of life will change. He might just be joking about having his wife preside over an orgy...

    Why Shoot A Butler? 
  • Amateur Sleuth: Frank Amberley—the person who solves the mystery—is a barrister, although it's noted in the story that he has some experience rounding up major criminals, having helped the police at least once.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When the Big Bad tries to get away via a motorboat, Frank just happens to have a motorboat of his own ready. Justified in that he'd done some research during the previous day, and figured that would happen.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted. the police are just at sea because there are no clues to go on, and Amberley has quite a few of them... not that he tells the police most of them.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: It doesn't help that Frank is something of a troll throughout the whole book, and not just to the girl.
  • Smug Snake: Frank Amberley is this, making him something of a Designated Hero.
  • Title Drop: In the second chapter, no less!