Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: Buccaneer Books
# of Pages: 310
Favorite Line: "A remark more calculated to provoke a peaceful man to homicide I've never yet heard."
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!