Friday, January 13, 2012
Review: Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer
I had never heard of Georgette Heyer until last January-ish, but when I found out she wrote British mysteries, I knew I needed to give her a try. You see, I love a good mystery. And when they take place in England, I love them more. Especially when they aren't set in like, 2011. And now I'm hooked on Ms. Heyer. Footsteps in the Dark is about a family-3 grown siblings Peter, Celia, and Margaret, Celia's husband, an aunt, and their butler and cook-who decide to spend the summer in a country home they inherited from a distant relative. Immediately, they hear tales from the locals about the home's ghosts, but everyone just laughs it off. That is, until strange things start happening-noises that shouldn't be there, shadows, and a skeleton hidden in a wall. Soon though, the party begins to unravel the mystery. As more information is discovered, they begin to wonder if it is even a ghost at all, but a real person who is very capable of doing them harm.
Heyer's writing is just fantastic. It is full of wit and sarcasm, and grabbed me immediately. She developed her characters very well, and they all had distinct personalities-some very witty, some serious. What I loved was the chemistry between them. Peter, Celia, and Margaret are all siblings, and they act like it even though they are adults. Celia's husband definitely acts the part too. He's close to everyone but also gets annoyed easily at his inlaws. They all seemed so real. I also adored the constable of the small town. Comic relief at its best! I was laughing out loud while reading this at work.
The ghost story/mystery was at times creepy, which I loved. I thought the characters did a good job of solving it. Heyer makes them and the situation so believable. At first, they shrug it off as nothing but an old house creaking, as I would do. But as things progress, they can't help but start wondering.
So favorite quotes:
Page 44: But an afternoon spent by the trout stream did much to restore their spirits. The fish were rising well, and the weather conditions were ideal.
Page 144: "Not quite," Charles said. "We know there is something queer about this house. I don't want to lay undue stress on all that has happened, but on the other hand I don't want to run to the other extreme of pooh-poohing undoubtedly odd proceedings." (I wish people still used that phrase-"pooh-poohing". It is awesome.)
Page 246: Margaret reflected gloomily on the manifold failings of the male sex, and decided that the worst of these was the appallingly blunt questions men asked.
Title: Footsteps in the Dark
Author: Georgette Heyer
Date of Publication: My copy is 2010, originally in 1932
Number of Pages: 347
Genre: Fiction, mystery
Source: Personal Copy