Georgette Heyer was a British historical romance and detective fiction novelist, whose writing career began in 1921, when, at the age of 17, she was encouraged by her father to publish a story she had written for her younger brother. Eventually published when she was 19, The Black Moth, a Georgian-era romance story, was her debut novel. Ms Heyer, whose Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, essentially invented the historical romance genre, and created the sub-genre of the Regency romance.
Beginning in 1932, Ms Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year. Her husband, George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, often provided basic outlines for the plots of her thrillers, leaving his wife to develop character relationships and dialogue so as to bring the story to life. Although many critics describe Ms Heyer's detective novels as unoriginal, others such as Nancy Wingate praise them "for their wit and comedy as well as for their well-woven plots".
In 1935, Ms Heyer's thrillers began following a pair of detectives named Superintendent Hannasyde and Sergeant (later Inspector) Hemingway, although the two were never as popular as other contemporary fictional detectives such as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey.
Ms Heyer continued writing until her death in July 1974 at the age of 71. At that time, 48 of her novels were still in print; her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously.
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