Monday, 7 December 2009

Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer.

I'll be honest and start by saying that I really like Georgette Heyer's writing. I think that her plots, especially her mystery books are superbly constructed and the characters are wonderful!
After the effusive introduction I'll now try to say a bit more about the book itself. Footsteps in the Dark tells of Peter, Margaret, Celia and Charles, typical Heyer mystery main characters 1930s well off, living a life of pleasure. Peter Margaret and Celia are brother and sisters and Charles is the husband of Celia. Peter, Margaret and Celia inherit a house from their uncle, and with it comes the legend of The Monk who haunts the grounds and terrorises whoever lives there, they of course think that the idea of a ghostly Monk is ridiculous, until things start to go bump in the night. Heyer then throws in a diverse range of characters, each person capable of being The Monk.
Margaret and Celia fall into the two types the Heyer most commonly uses in her thrillers, Celia is a bit of a wimp, not quite enough that you want to slap her, although it is a close run thing, who is terrified of everything and needs constant reassurance from her brother and husband, where as Margaret is calm, collected and practical, she is of course the main heroine, and yes, of course, the one who falls in love.
The peripheral characters show quite a variety, a slightly surly land lords, a drug addicted french artist, an eccentric butterfly collector, a vacuum sales man and a man on a fishing holiday in the local area.
Plot, Heyer creates quite a ghostly atmosphere, but, because this is a Heyer thriller you know that it isn't going to be a ghost that is responsible for the 'hauntings', rather this is going to be a Scooby Doo novel where teh ghost will have his mask removed and prove to be Mr Jenkins the janitor who would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those pesky kids. So, this is a novel of who dunnit, who's the ghost? I didn't get it right, I worked out who it wasn't, but I hadn't quite got as far as working out who it was by the time the mask was removed.
I enjoyed it, it's a good fun read, not to taxing, but at the same time not something that you have to concentrate on massively either. Heyer's writing does seem a little dated to some people, but personally I don't struggle with it all. All in all I'd recommend it if you want an enjoyable thriller that you can curl up and read with a cup of tea.

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