A series to pay tribute to the golden age mystery authors, by attempting to provide reviews on some of their books which I highly admire. Golden age of mysteries is generally defined by that period where the mystery stories had a central, strong puzzle plot and the detective/police/amateur investigator goes through all the clues, the suspects and finally solves the mystery (murder/theft/disappearance). More often than not, the big “reveal” is in a closed setting with all the suspects around. Readers then express, “Oh, that was so clever, I did not see this coming”! Authors from UK and USA generally dominated this period.
Book : Footsteps in the Dark
Author: Georgette Heyer (UK)
Original Year of Publication : 1932
About the Author: Georgette Heyer was an English historical romance and detective fiction novelist. A best-selling author, Heyer’s writing career saw her produce works from a variety of genres; in total she published 32 novels in the romance genre, 6 historical novels, 4 contemporary novels, and 12 in the detective fiction genre. Her 12 detective novels were published between 1932 and 1953. Source : Wikipedia
Plot: The Priory, a ramshackle old house, is the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday for siblings Peter, Celia, Margaret and Charles (Celia’s husband), who have inherited it from their uncle. Left empty for years as even their deceased uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this property. Locals claims that a ghost haunts that place. But when a murder victim is discovered, the siblings begin to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all! But traditionally ghosts don’t commit murder. With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims or will they uncover the truth in time? Does the key to the crime lie in the realm of the supernatural or is there an earthlier cause?
Suspense: Throughout the story, Heyer maintains a very humorous touch in her dialogs and the flow of the story is very smooth. Especially the interactions between the village locals and the main protagonists are very funny and full of wit. The list of suspects is not very large, still Heyer manages to confuse the readers as to who is the real culprit. There is an eerie feeling in some chapters and the locale is very beautifully painted by the writer’s carefully chosen words. Some scenes in the story were bit more melodramatic than normal.
Climax: At the finale of the novel, Heyer does manage to pull put a trick or two, with a few secret passages and what not in the story. Still, the climax is a good one, though I was very close to pointing out the right murderer. An entertaining read overall.
Rating and Recommendation: 3/5. Highly recommended for readers who like cozy mysteries, humorous and sarcastic dialogs in between and a slow but enjoyable read. Not recommended for readers who like fast thrillers and gadgets etc..
About the Reviewer :
Born and brought up in New Delhi, Abhishek Goswami did his graduation in Science from the Delhi University and later on did PGDBA in HR. He has 17 years of work experience in reputed MNC firms and is currently working in Gurgaon. He has a keen interest in reading suspense/mystery books and mythological fiction. He has won
the “Top 100 Inspiring Authors” and “Swami Vivekanand Seva Youth Guild” award for his first book, “The Lonely Drummer and Other Poems”. His poems have been a part of Asian Literary Society and United by Ink anthologies and also published in newspapers like The Hans India and News Now. Available as free shipping on Amazon, Flipkart andNotionpress.com
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