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"Bright and effervescent."
-The Times Literary Supplement

What begins as an adventure soon becomes a nightmare...

Locals claim it is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door, but to siblings Peter, Celia, and Margaret, the Priory is nothing more than a rundown estate inherited from their late uncle-and the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday. But when a murder victim is discovered in the drafty Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all! With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims of a supernatural predator, or will they uncover a far more corporeal culprit?

What Readers Are Saying:

"One of the best stories Mrs. Heyer ever concocted, and of course written in her own inimitable style, with plenty of wit and dry humor."

"Spine-tingling enjoyment."

Georgette Heyer wrote over fifty books, including Regency romances, mysteries, and historical fiction. Her barrister husband, Ronald Rougier, provided many of the plots for her detective novels, which are classic English country house mysteries reminiscent of Agatha Christie. Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy, inventive plots, and sparkling characterization.

Topics: Ghosts, Haunted House, Siblings, Murder, Cozy, Suspenseful, Gothic, Regency Era, and England

Published: Sourcebooks on
ISBN: 9781402254659
List price: $13.99
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Too long and fanciful for me.more
This was the first of Heyer's mysteries and it shows. Heyer apparently did not want it to be re-published so it can be presumed that she wasn't that keen on it, or at least that she recognised its weaknesses. And weaknesses it has. There's little character development (not that too much character development is to be expected in such a novel), the crime is a bit unconvincing and the resolution a bit pat. However, it exhibits some of the classic Heyer strengths: strong dialogue (albeit not quite as witty as in later mysteries), a nice sense of place and time and a predictable but nevertheless sweet romance.

The four star rating I have given this novel has been determined somewhat idiosyncratically. Two stars are for the mystery itself. An extra one is due to the writing and the fourth because it is Heyer's first mystery and is therefore of some historical and literary significance to her fans. The net result is a novel I liked very much. A must for anyone who is interested in Heyer in particular and 1930s mystery novels in general. Possibly a miss for most other readers.more
Heyer's first mystery, I think, and it shows. It's a classic haunted house mystery, with pretty much every haunted house cliché there is. If the book hadn't been written in 1932, there would have been a Scooby Snacks joke. When the villain is unveiled at the end, he even pauses as he's being led away in handcuffs to get the last word in! ("If it weren't for you meddling kids...") Anyway, it was enjoyable as camp. I'm the type of reader who likes spotting tropes, and this was a good book for that. Genre fiction becomes *good* when the tropes are satirized, twisted, or otherwise puts the reader down in a place where she or he does not expect. This book simply repeats the tropes with no attempt to do anything with them. That is why I gave it three stars. It's possible that in 1932 those tropes were still fresh enough that Heyer felt no need to be more creative with them, but my star rating is for modern readers.more
I have listened to a number of Heyer's romances via Audible.com, but had never tried one of her mysteries. This was fun!more
This is one of the mystery novels by Heyer. While I love her Regency novels, her mysteries are fun. 2 sisters, their brother and a brother-in-law inherit an old house in the country. The women fall in love with the house but then the people in the village tell them stories about a haunted Monk who roams the house and grounds. they begin to hear noises and even find a skeleton in a priest's hole. But Charles and Peter aren't buying into the stories and think someone is trying to scare them out of the house. Their investigations lead to some interesting outcomes. And of course Heyer infuses her books with humor and sneaks some romance into this one also. A very delightful readmore
An old priory, the ghost of a monk, a skelton in a priest's hole, secret passages, and a murder sprinkled with a dose of humor and a small dash of romance - this is the perfect recipe for a great ghost story/mystery.This book was so much fun! Add in some chilly, rainy weather that's perfect for bundling up and reading, and I feel as if I've nearly reached reading nirvana! I was almost sorry to have finished this book, and I will definitely be reading more of Georgette Heyer's mysteries in the future.more
One of Heyer's mysteries, this one a stand-alone rather than part of a series. The Fortescue Siblings, Peter, Margaret and Celia, have inherited an old house which was built in part around the ancient priory it's named after. They have come to spend a few weeks in it, along with Celia's husband Charles Malcom and their aunt Lilian. But nobody has lived in the house for years, and it's reputed to be haunted. Things do indeed start going bump in the night, and investigation finds priestholes and secret passages galore, some equipped with dry bones. But some of the party are more inclined to believe that the strange happenings are down to something much more prosaic than ghosts. Someone wants them out of the priory, probably the same someone who made an unsolicited offer to their solicitor to buy it when it wasn't on the market. Someone who is prepared to kill to keep a secret when the hunt for clues leads to a potential witness to the real identity of the Monk.While there's a genuine and good murder mystery as the scaffolding of the story, a lot of the fun of this one is that it is indeed fun, with some sparkling dialogue between nicely drawn characters. I think the characterisation isn't as strong in this one as in some of Heyer's other mysteries, but it does the job.There's also a romance sub-plot, which cuts some of the tension because it's obvious from the way the attraction between Margaret and one of the suspects is written that he's going to be a Good Guy. But it doesn't detract too much from the story, which is strong enough to offer pleasure in re-reading even once you know the solution.more
For the reader who knows Heyer only as a writer of regency romances this book works as a nice introduction to her detective oeuvre since Footsteps in the Dark isn’t a really a mystery: It a book in which there are mysteries. And the reason that the principle characters want to solve those mysteries is because they make their lives miserable. Most of the “twists” and “surprise discoveries” are fairly obvious but to do the author credit I don’t think she was as worried about deluding her readers as she was concerned that the principle characters have normal believable reasons for not suspecting the truth.SPOILERS BELOWAlthough there is a murder over the course of the book it is refreshing that that murder is not central to the story. As farfetched as many of the details of the book are the basic situation of people beginning to wonder if their new home is really such a good deal would strike a cord with much of the readership. Anyone who has awoken in the night in a new home and wondered just want those sounds are and if all the doors and windows are latched or locked will empathize with the protagonists. It would be surprising for Heyer to write any book without a love story and one knows that Strange/Draycott will turn out to be a good guy simply because Margaret is attracted to him. At the same time the story doesn’t revolve around their developing relationship and indeed could work quite well without it. Heyer does not rely on coincidences as much as many of her contemporary authors do and it does feel as if her England more accurately reflects reality than does the England one finds, for example, in Ngaio Marsh’s work. It is also refreshing the Heyer does not rely on the dread charts, maps, graphs and lists that clutter up the work of so many authors at this time.One of the other things one notices when reading Christie, Marsh, Queen, S. S. Van Dine and Heyer is the striking difference in the nature of marriage and love among those writers. The male writers tend to show women who are interesting for the way they look or their “charm” while the female writers tend to show more companionate relationships. It might be hard for the average woman reader to imagine herself a sultry, mysterious beauty and it was probably easier for that same reader to identify with the female protagonists in this book and in many of Christie’s mysteries.more
Part thriller, part murder mystery, this is an enjoyable and fun read. Although the plot itself is fairly pedestrian the strength of this book is in the characters, including a wandering entomologist who keeps getting mistaken for a ghost and an incompetent but well-intentioned police constable, and the dialogue.more
Footsteps in the Dark is my first book by Georgette Heyer. Instead of choosing the other genres that Heyer writes, I chose this thriller/suspense one. The story is very much there in the blurb that I have posted. I liked Heyer's writing a lot. It is based in the 20th century where ghosts and all are not believed in! It is quirky, funny and full of great details of how the people really where in those times. The only problem was that I guessed who was behind the whole haunting- affair and that's why I am giving this one only 3.5 stars! There were many repartee by Charles that made me laugh out loud!! The humor was incredible and the book in itself was enjoyable. It is a light and fun-read!I definitely enjoyed it!more
I have never enjoyed Georgette Heyer's mysteries anything like as well as her historical romances. I even think that her historical novels are more engaging. This was a perfectly workmanlike but not especially witty or gripping little English Village Mystery. The Grand Ladies including Sayers, Marsh, Allingham and Tey are much more to be recommended.more
I find this book, wrote in 1932, quite dated.Boring and predictable.more
Read all 12 reviews

Reviews

Too long and fanciful for me.more
This was the first of Heyer's mysteries and it shows. Heyer apparently did not want it to be re-published so it can be presumed that she wasn't that keen on it, or at least that she recognised its weaknesses. And weaknesses it has. There's little character development (not that too much character development is to be expected in such a novel), the crime is a bit unconvincing and the resolution a bit pat. However, it exhibits some of the classic Heyer strengths: strong dialogue (albeit not quite as witty as in later mysteries), a nice sense of place and time and a predictable but nevertheless sweet romance.

The four star rating I have given this novel has been determined somewhat idiosyncratically. Two stars are for the mystery itself. An extra one is due to the writing and the fourth because it is Heyer's first mystery and is therefore of some historical and literary significance to her fans. The net result is a novel I liked very much. A must for anyone who is interested in Heyer in particular and 1930s mystery novels in general. Possibly a miss for most other readers.more
Heyer's first mystery, I think, and it shows. It's a classic haunted house mystery, with pretty much every haunted house cliché there is. If the book hadn't been written in 1932, there would have been a Scooby Snacks joke. When the villain is unveiled at the end, he even pauses as he's being led away in handcuffs to get the last word in! ("If it weren't for you meddling kids...") Anyway, it was enjoyable as camp. I'm the type of reader who likes spotting tropes, and this was a good book for that. Genre fiction becomes *good* when the tropes are satirized, twisted, or otherwise puts the reader down in a place where she or he does not expect. This book simply repeats the tropes with no attempt to do anything with them. That is why I gave it three stars. It's possible that in 1932 those tropes were still fresh enough that Heyer felt no need to be more creative with them, but my star rating is for modern readers.more
I have listened to a number of Heyer's romances via Audible.com, but had never tried one of her mysteries. This was fun!more
This is one of the mystery novels by Heyer. While I love her Regency novels, her mysteries are fun. 2 sisters, their brother and a brother-in-law inherit an old house in the country. The women fall in love with the house but then the people in the village tell them stories about a haunted Monk who roams the house and grounds. they begin to hear noises and even find a skeleton in a priest's hole. But Charles and Peter aren't buying into the stories and think someone is trying to scare them out of the house. Their investigations lead to some interesting outcomes. And of course Heyer infuses her books with humor and sneaks some romance into this one also. A very delightful readmore
An old priory, the ghost of a monk, a skelton in a priest's hole, secret passages, and a murder sprinkled with a dose of humor and a small dash of romance - this is the perfect recipe for a great ghost story/mystery.This book was so much fun! Add in some chilly, rainy weather that's perfect for bundling up and reading, and I feel as if I've nearly reached reading nirvana! I was almost sorry to have finished this book, and I will definitely be reading more of Georgette Heyer's mysteries in the future.more
One of Heyer's mysteries, this one a stand-alone rather than part of a series. The Fortescue Siblings, Peter, Margaret and Celia, have inherited an old house which was built in part around the ancient priory it's named after. They have come to spend a few weeks in it, along with Celia's husband Charles Malcom and their aunt Lilian. But nobody has lived in the house for years, and it's reputed to be haunted. Things do indeed start going bump in the night, and investigation finds priestholes and secret passages galore, some equipped with dry bones. But some of the party are more inclined to believe that the strange happenings are down to something much more prosaic than ghosts. Someone wants them out of the priory, probably the same someone who made an unsolicited offer to their solicitor to buy it when it wasn't on the market. Someone who is prepared to kill to keep a secret when the hunt for clues leads to a potential witness to the real identity of the Monk.While there's a genuine and good murder mystery as the scaffolding of the story, a lot of the fun of this one is that it is indeed fun, with some sparkling dialogue between nicely drawn characters. I think the characterisation isn't as strong in this one as in some of Heyer's other mysteries, but it does the job.There's also a romance sub-plot, which cuts some of the tension because it's obvious from the way the attraction between Margaret and one of the suspects is written that he's going to be a Good Guy. But it doesn't detract too much from the story, which is strong enough to offer pleasure in re-reading even once you know the solution.more
For the reader who knows Heyer only as a writer of regency romances this book works as a nice introduction to her detective oeuvre since Footsteps in the Dark isn’t a really a mystery: It a book in which there are mysteries. And the reason that the principle characters want to solve those mysteries is because they make their lives miserable. Most of the “twists” and “surprise discoveries” are fairly obvious but to do the author credit I don’t think she was as worried about deluding her readers as she was concerned that the principle characters have normal believable reasons for not suspecting the truth.SPOILERS BELOWAlthough there is a murder over the course of the book it is refreshing that that murder is not central to the story. As farfetched as many of the details of the book are the basic situation of people beginning to wonder if their new home is really such a good deal would strike a cord with much of the readership. Anyone who has awoken in the night in a new home and wondered just want those sounds are and if all the doors and windows are latched or locked will empathize with the protagonists. It would be surprising for Heyer to write any book without a love story and one knows that Strange/Draycott will turn out to be a good guy simply because Margaret is attracted to him. At the same time the story doesn’t revolve around their developing relationship and indeed could work quite well without it. Heyer does not rely on coincidences as much as many of her contemporary authors do and it does feel as if her England more accurately reflects reality than does the England one finds, for example, in Ngaio Marsh’s work. It is also refreshing the Heyer does not rely on the dread charts, maps, graphs and lists that clutter up the work of so many authors at this time.One of the other things one notices when reading Christie, Marsh, Queen, S. S. Van Dine and Heyer is the striking difference in the nature of marriage and love among those writers. The male writers tend to show women who are interesting for the way they look or their “charm” while the female writers tend to show more companionate relationships. It might be hard for the average woman reader to imagine herself a sultry, mysterious beauty and it was probably easier for that same reader to identify with the female protagonists in this book and in many of Christie’s mysteries.more
Part thriller, part murder mystery, this is an enjoyable and fun read. Although the plot itself is fairly pedestrian the strength of this book is in the characters, including a wandering entomologist who keeps getting mistaken for a ghost and an incompetent but well-intentioned police constable, and the dialogue.more
Footsteps in the Dark is my first book by Georgette Heyer. Instead of choosing the other genres that Heyer writes, I chose this thriller/suspense one. The story is very much there in the blurb that I have posted. I liked Heyer's writing a lot. It is based in the 20th century where ghosts and all are not believed in! It is quirky, funny and full of great details of how the people really where in those times. The only problem was that I guessed who was behind the whole haunting- affair and that's why I am giving this one only 3.5 stars! There were many repartee by Charles that made me laugh out loud!! The humor was incredible and the book in itself was enjoyable. It is a light and fun-read!I definitely enjoyed it!more
I have never enjoyed Georgette Heyer's mysteries anything like as well as her historical romances. I even think that her historical novels are more engaging. This was a perfectly workmanlike but not especially witty or gripping little English Village Mystery. The Grand Ladies including Sayers, Marsh, Allingham and Tey are much more to be recommended.more
I find this book, wrote in 1932, quite dated.Boring and predictable.more
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