LONDON, July 5—Georgette Heyer, the novelist, died in a hospital here last night after a two‐month illness. She was 71 years old.
Miss Heyer wrote more than 50 books, most of them historical novels set in Regency England, She also collaborated with her husband, George Ronald Rougier, in writing 11 detective novels.
She was only 17 years old when she began her first novel, “The Black Moth,” as a serial story to amuse her brother, who was recovering from a serious illness. Her father encouraged her to work on it with a view to publication, and it appeared in 1921.
The novelist shunned all publicity, maintaining that readers would find all they needed to know about her in her books. They included “Penhallow,” “Royal Escape,” “Arabella,” “The Conqueror,” “Faro’s Daughter” and “The Spanish Bride.”
Most of the books were published in the United States by G. P. Putnam’s Sons and E. P. Dutton & Co. Her most recent novel, “Lady of Quality,” appeared in 1972.
Besides her husband, she is survived by a son.
Cheerful and Unorthodox
‘There’s nothing like a glass of blood and thunder to put a cove in high gig,’ remarks one of Georgette Heyer’s amiable Regency rascals. Miss Heyer writes cheerful and highly unorthordox historical novels about Regency England, in which people never lose their lives, their virtue or even their tempers. The author of ‘The Foundling’ is as much at home in Almack’s Assembly Rooms and the Grand Pump Room at Bath as a New Yorker in the Automat. But she likes her people and their century too much to take them seriously.”
So wrote Richard Match, capturing the Heyer flavor in a review published in The New York Times on March 21, 1948.
Shortly after her marriage to George Rougier, a barrister as well as an author, the couple took an apartment in Albany, off Piccadilly, one of London’s most exclusive apartment buildings; Lords Macaulay and Gladstone lived there, one believed haunting the chambers of the other. Miss Heyer’s own neighbors there included Dame Edith Evans,. J. B. Priestley and Terence Rattigan, the playwright, all providing a conducive atmosphere for her writing.
Her publishers described her, despite her shy nature, as a very bright and amusing person to meet, with conversation that sparkled with verve and wit. She worked quickly, they said, and made few corrections, soaking herself in the Regency period—becoming an expert on the history and manners of that time. NYT