Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Footsteps in the Dark

Title: Footsteps in the Dark

Author: Georgette Heyer

Publisher: Buccaneer Books

# of Pages: 310

Rating: 9/10

Favorite Line: "A remark more calculated to provoke a peaceful man to homicide I've never yet heard."

Product Description
The Priory may be ramshackled in appearance, but Peter, Margaret and Celia, who have inherited it from their uncle, love it for its rambling charm. But there's more to this house than is at first apparent: for years hardly a single person has set foot in the place, and even their uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this particular property.
Local wisdom says that the house is haunted. And when things start going bump in the night, it certainly seems as if something ghostly is walking the Priory's halls. Then a murder is committed. Does the key to solving the crime lie in the realm of the supernatural? Or is the explanation much more down to earth?
Well, after Behold, Here's Poison, I got on a Heyer mystery reading kick. Here are all these books, sitting on my shelves and gathering dust when all three of the ones I've picked up have been good reading! I'll have to get through all the rest soon. I have actually been waiting (quite patiently, I feel) for David Liss's The Devil's Company to arrive in the mail. I've read both previous books in the Benjamin Weaver series and I'm really looking forward to reading this next one. However, it is still not here! This has given me the opportunity, though, to go more thoroughly over the books already on my shelves, which is fortunate.

It's funny sometimes, how books packed with so much excitement and memorable characters can just sit placidly on your shelf, waiting to be read. Footsteps in the Dark is a thriller mystery of the first order, complete with secret passageways, priest holes, skeletons and a cowled monk. Of all Heyer's historicals, it reminds me most of The Reluctant Widow (one of my absolute favorites!) with its full cast of characters, most of whom are related to each other. The book is full of hilarious one-liners and wonderful character interplay, Heyer's trademark. I find in books like this that I get so wrapped up in the chemistry between characters that the plot becomes secondary. It's unfortunate that character interaction is so hard to review, really, since it is such an integral part of books. For example, in The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy, I don't think there was any chemistry between Darcy and Lord Byron, and it made the book hard going. Conversely, in Footsteps in the Dark, the characters (Charles in particular, playing against Peter) all deal splendidly together, and the book is a great romp because of it.

I am thoroughly enjoying rediscovering Heyer, this time from the perspective of reading her mysteries set in Britain between the wars. She is light-hearted and fun, but the plots are all interesting and well planned. I prefer this one to Behold, Here's Poison, mainly because the characters are far more likeable and the plot develops in a more compelling way. Highly recommended!

11 comments:

  1. It sounds very good. The cover is rather creepy, but from your review it sounds very much worth reading!

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  2. I agree it's a very sinister (and, not to make too fine a point upon it, inaccurate) front cover, but it's certainly eye-catching in a bizarre way...

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  3. I love GH so I'm biased.

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  4. Yes, I know, Carrie- that's one of the reasons we're friends ;-)

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  5. Yet another Heyer for my wish list! Great review. It seems like you are really having fun with your reading lately.

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  6. I am having so much fun looking at all of your Heyer Reviews! You have read many more than I hve and perhaps not all of her Historicals were as drya s My Lord John, so I shouldn't give up on those altogether. Such as The Reluctant Widow, I'll have to ponder that one next
    =)

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  7. Anonymous1/05/2010

    I just found this in my Library's audio books and have been enjoying an 'unread' Georgette Heyer book for the first time in a long time. I am looking for more Thrillers. I believe I have read all the Regency Romances, and in many cases, re-read, Grand Sophy was my first introduction to Heyer and I find it is a great 'comfort' book to read over and over. All the Heyer Regency Romances and Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael both are books I enjoy reading more than once, something many modern authors seem to manage.
    I just wish my Library had more than just this one book on audio as my holding/reading books is touch and go at the moment, but at least it led me to an interesting place to check out new books to look for, thank you for the review blog, Aarti.

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  8. Thank you for the kind comment, Anonymous :-) I have never tried the Cadfael series, but I know so many people who enjoy them!

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  9. Anonymous1/05/2010

    er,

    something many modern authors CAN'T seem to manage

    Sorry.

    BTW the comment as bit didn't want to take my LJ or AIM ids, not sure what the problem is.

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  10. That is odd- maybe try Name/Website version instead?

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  11. I was reading your Heyer post from Aug and want to thank you for linking to this - I was thinking that I should read one and so now I will tbr Footsteps. Happy Back to School!

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