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Footsteps in the Dark (Country House Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Georgette Heyer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Bright and effervescent."
-The Time s 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.

Editorial Reviews


"We had better start ranking Heyer alongside such incomparable whodunit authors as Christie, Marsh, Tey and Allingham" San Francisco Chronicle "Rarely have we seen humour and mystery so perfectly blended" New York Times "Sharp, clear and witty" The New Yorker "Heyer's characters and dialogue are an abiding delight to me ... I have seldom met people to whom I have taken so violent a fancy from the word "Go" -- Dorothy L. Sayers "The wittiest of detective writers" Daily Mail

About the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. It is known that she was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and they had one son together, Richard.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1007 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004BA5A00
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,709 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
119 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars English haunted house meets Oscar Wilde (again) March 2, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Library Binding
Georgette Heyer is known mainly for her Regency romances rather than her mysteries, probably because she wrote more of them. Although all of her mysteries are good--and witty--Footsteps In The Dark seems to be the only one where Heyer went for outright comedy. There are chills enough in this tale of five people (husband-and-wife, two siblings, and an aunt) who have moved to what seems to be a haunted house, but there are some extremely funny moments as well. (There is one line in the book--which I will not quote--which sent me rolling on the floor for fully five minutes. You'll know when you reach it.)
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Footsteps in the Dark June 19, 2009
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. 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 (if you haven't read her Regencies, you should!). 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!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shall we retire to the country? July 17, 2007
Their inheritance had all the aspects of an ancient country home including the resident ghost. Learning to live the peaceful country life brings anything, but repose. Georgette Heyer's, "Footsteps in the Dark" with its conventional, but welldrawn characters will have you laughing outloud when following her crisp dialogue.
Clues and red herrings bounce down hidden staircases and mouldering crypts as Heyer, at her very best, leads the reader through a labyrinth of mystery and suspense interspersed with a light romance. First written in 1932, it still has the power to enthrall. If you've ever dreamed of an old house in the country, this one has all the aspects of reality without electricity or a phone. A great read at any time, but we don't recommend by lamplight.
Nash Black, author of "Qualifying Laps" and "Sins of the Fathers."
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Her first mystery, and it shows June 25, 2011
By lizw65
There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction among Heyer's fans (of which I am one) to praise all her works, regardless of quality, to the skies. I wanted to love "Footsteps in the Dark", a recently re-printed entry in the "old dark house" genre of mysteries. I really did. However, this was Ms. Heyer's first foray into the crime novel, and it shows. Every element that her fans love--vibrant characters, witty dialogue, romantic tension--was missing from this book.
The plot requires all the characters, up to and including the undercover cop, to behave like complete idiots, and the dialogue--usually Heyer's forte--is cringe-worthy. The characters' ingrained snobbery and xenophobia, while by no means uncommon to works of this period, come off as particularly grating. And the "romance" between Margaret and Michael is perfunctory and unconvincing--indeed, Margaret has more real chemistry with her own brother Peter than with Michael, the "hero", who is smug, condescending, and dreadfully dim-witted, especially considering his profession. The only character who feels like a true Heyer creation is Mrs. Bosanquet, an elderly, scatterbrained aunt of the protagonists.
The pacing of the novel seems off as well--instead of action scenes and dramatic tension, we get lengthy exposition and page-long monologues to explain what is happening. Important plot points that should have been explored in detail are instead glossed over in a couple of sentences, while trivial details are discussed endlessly. In short, hackneyed story, clumsily executed. Skip this one and read instead "A Blunt Instrument", one of my all-time favorites.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Heyer mystery, but . . . March 7, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lots of fun just the same! I'm an avid mystery fan (not much for "cozies", more a fan of the British and American Golden Age mysteries and historical mysteries), and was thrilled to discover Heyer's dry, witty, character-driven mysteries. I love her Regencies, as well, for her humor, brilliant characters and plotting, and dialogue. "Footprints in the Dark" had it all, I admit; haunted house, secret passages, questionable characters - but it took a while to get going for me. I felt like this was one of her first attempts at mystery, and I could tell, if you know what I mean; as a mystery buff, you're used to certain plot devices, character types, etc., and it's just a matter of how creatively the author uses them. The writer's level of mastery adds or detracts from my enjoyment accordingly - how much I as the reader "saw that coming". Anyway, because this was one of her first efforts, before the Inspectors Hemingway and Hannasyde mysteries, it felt more obvious in places; but for all that, Heyer's signature wit and style carried it through the slower bits until it really started hopping in the last quarter or so of the book. So, since Heyer's slowest-going effort is still better than 90% of what's available today for mystery fans, I'd still give this book four stars!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good story and interesting, well-developed characters.
Published 1 month ago by Carla Casler
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the locale it was set in
Was a very entertaining read. I liked the locale it was set in. Was fun to read.
Published 2 months ago by Theresa J. Tober
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't base all Heyer books on this book but don't pass it up either
This is Heyer's first mystery and while it's not one of her best, that's still better than many. It takes awhile to get the story going and since this is a bit of a different genre... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining
I really enjoyed this story, it was suspenseful, funny, and I enjoyed the interactions between the characters.
Published 5 months ago by Christy
5.0 out of 5 stars IT IS GOOD
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A first rate mystery. Lots of witty dialogue, a great plot, and descriptive scenes make for an excellent read. It would have made a good Marx brothers film.
Published 5 months ago by melzy
5.0 out of 5 stars the bad guy got his due in the end
Exciting. Kept me guessing until the last couple of chapters but still wanted to see the outcome. As usual, the bad guy got his due in the end.
Published 6 months ago by maryann knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it
A good " old fashioned mystery". Literally. Set, and written in England in the 20s and 30s (approx), this is a light hearted mystery. Think Agatha Christy, but funny.
Published 6 months ago by Mysterious Lady
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
A good read in the Agatha Christie tradition.
Published 8 months ago by Leslie B. Kahle
5.0 out of 5 stars Footsteps
Great story! It would make a fabulous movie and it is sad nobody has done so. Glad I added this to my collection.
Published 10 months ago by C. Pratt
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More About the Author

Author of over fifty books, Georgette Heyer is the best-known and best-loved of all historical novelists, making the Regency period her own. Her first novel, "The Black Moth," published in 1921, was written at the age of fifteen to amuse her convalescent brother; her last was My Lord John. Although most famous for her historical novels, she also wrote eleven detective stories. Georgette Heyer died in 1974 at the age of seventy-one.

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