“Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer” by Lisa Hopkins

In the 2016 journal Palgave Communications Vol. 2, Lisa Hopkins from the Department of English, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, published “Shakespearean allusion and the detective fiction of Georgette Heyer”.

The abstract begins:

This essay argues that Shakespearean allusion is a recurrent and important factor in the detective novels of Georgette Heyer. Though the master text for Heyer is Hamlet, a variety of Shakespeare plays are referred to, and mention of them functions in multiple ways. Quotations from Shakespeare reveal truths about the characters and comment on their situations and personalities. They also afford points of entry for people previously unacquainted to talk to each other, and finally they have effects in terms of genre, since their presence can, with equal facility, tend towards comic relief (in line with a tradition in golden-age crime fiction of using Macbeth in particular to comic effect) or work to add gravitas and resonance. The use of Shakespearean allusion is thus central to Heyer’s technique.

A fascinating and thorough examination of Heyer’s Shakespearean inspiration, it is a convincing and incredibly well-researched article showcasing an obvious love of Heyer’s mystery novels.