Monday, March 22, 2010

The Classics Circuit: Georgette Heyer

Footsteps in the Dark
Georgette Heyer

Today I am pleased to welcome Georgette Heyer as part of the Classics Circuit!

First, I have to say that I'm mighty pleased to participate in this Circuit, as I've never even heard of Georgette Heyer before participating, despite the fact that my edition of Footsteps calls her "one of the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists." Really? [Insert my shame and embarrassment here.]

So, while perusing the Heyer overview, I found that many of her historical romances likened her to Jane Austen. Oh no! I wailed (to myself, obviously). And that's how I ended up with Footsteps in the Dark, a decidedly un-Austen mystery with not a hint of romance. Okay, there's a hint of it. But it's okay because Heyer gives us ghosts, disappearances, and murder as well.

Footsteps in the Dark begins as siblings Peter, Margaret, and Celia arrive at The Priory to inspect their inheritance. The building is old and mysterious, and it comes with an intriguing history: the Priory is reputed to be haunted by a mysterious personage known only as the Monk.

Of course, the new inhabitants put little stock in such rumors. But then they start hearing things. And then they start SEEING things. And then they discover a murder. AND THEN...! Is the Monk supernatural -- or earthly? And why does he prowl about their home?

I enjoyed the wacky cast of characters that inhabit the pages of Footsteps in the Dark. Each is equally likely to be the Monk, and each is sufficiently bizarre enough to warrant some snide commentary from Charles, Celia's wry husband. The mystery was engaging, the characters were colorful (even if a bit flat), and the romance, while a bit silly, was charming enough for the story. Although I don't anticipate reading more Heyer (especially not with all those comparisons to Austen), I quite enjoyed Footsteps in the Dark.

In a nutshell: Fun, wacky, and a wee bit silly, Footsteps in the Dark was a light, charming read.

Bibliolatry Scale: 4 out of 6 stars

FTCBS: Bought this one for myself.


Aarti said...

This is my favorite Heyer mystery. It's so much more fun than her others. So light and silly at times- I love it :-)

Karen K. said...

Sounds intriguing! I too am put off by all the Austen comparisons, but I'd definitely try a good mystery. Thanks for your review.

Jenny said...

I love Georgette Heyer! I've read many, many, many of her books. To be honest, I don't really like her mysteries, though, I don't think they're as good. There are better mystery books out there, and definitely better Georgette Heyers.

Also, I don't actually think she's at all like Jane Austen. I think that might just be said because she writes about the same sort of period and it's not particularly 'heavy' reading.

They're different kinds of books, though, and stylistically not at all similar. Georgette Heyer is just light and rompy and a lot of fun. It's well-written light, rompy fun, but it's not like Austen. She writes some purposefully silly plots with some absolutely excellent heroines.

If you're thinking of getting into it, then I think The Grand Sophy is a great place to start!

Tribute Books said...

Looking forward to it, sounds good.

Tribute Books said...

Looking forward to it, sounds good.

Tribute Books said...

I hadn't heard about Georgette Heyer until this past year either - I stumbled across a display of her books in a Barnes & Noble.

CLM said...

I definitely think you should try more Heyer. Read some of the other stops on the Tour and you are likely to find one that appeals. I enjoyed this mystery but the title made no impression at all until I read your review. She is not as good as mysteries as at historical romance but still manages to entertain.

Rebecca Reid said...

From the romance novel I read, Heyer was nothing like Austen, although it was certainly light-hearted romance. I have to say, though, that that cover is WAY cooler than the pastel-colored romance novels. Yuck. And I LIKE Jane Austen-esque romance novels!