One of the most successful romance novelists of the 20th century, Georgette Heyer's books were famous for her intelligent comedy, the genuine sweetness of her romances and her meticulous research on the Regency period. 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, they're not above scaring her into submission (however, as they're 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.

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.

Present in Most Heyers

  • Asshole Victim: Always present in her whodunnits.
  • Author Appeal Expect at least one kiss to be described as "crushing".
  • Deadpan Snarker -- Hero #1 almost certainly; frequently Hero #2 as well. Less common but far from unknown among the heroines; it may come up as part of Heroine #2's Hidden Depths.

A Blunt Instrument

April Lady


Bath Tangle


Behold, Here's Poison (detective novel)

The Black Moth

Black Sheep

Charity Girl

A Civil Contract

The Conquerer

The Convenient Marriage

The Corinthian


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted.
  • Le Beau Geste: 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.
  • Converting for Love: It's mentioned in passing that Olivia will probably have to become a Catholic to marry Camille.
  • Genius Ditz: Freddy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Runaway Fiance: 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.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss
  • Wrong Guy First

Cousin Kate

Detection Unlimited {detective story, duh.)

 There are some who may believe that this book is about them. They are, in fact, mistaken.

Devil's Cub

False Colours

Faro's Daughter

The Foundling


Friday's Child

  • Alpha Bitch: Isabella could be, but most of her unpleasant moments are also her most sympathetic.
  • Beta Couple: George and Isabella, Gil and Ferdy.
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hero, Ferdy.
  • Coming of Age Story: Sherry, Hero to an extent.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Isabella.
  • 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.
  • Kick the Dog: Revesby, first when he rejects his discarded, pregnant mistress and second when he arranges for Hero to get into debt.
  • Lovable Coward: Ferdy, who Sherry can't even stay angry when he finds out Ferdy hid his wife from him for weeks because Ferdy is so shamelessly trying to placate 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 not a first meeting, Sherry accidentally comes across Hero crying on a wall and proposes marriage.
  • Reformed Rakes: Part of Sherry's Character Development.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Sherry elopes with Hero in the first few chapters.
  • Shrinking Violet: Hero.
  • Tsundere: Isabella.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Hero.

The Grand Sophy

The Great Roxhythe

An Infamous Army

Lady of Quality

The Masqueraders

My Lord John

The Nonesuch


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 Fiance.
  • 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".
  • 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

Regency Buck

The Reluctant Widow

Royal Escape

Simon the Coldheart

The Spanish Bride

Sprig Muslin


The Talisman Ring

The Toll-Gate

These Old Shades

The Unfinished Clue (detective story)

The Unknown Ajax


Why Shoot A Butler? (detective story)

  • 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!

…Oh, and Happily Ever After usually comes in somewhere... unless it's Penhallow.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.