16/12/2004

The Black Moth (by Georgette Heyer)

I have most of Georgette Heyer's many novels on my shelves, and re-read them all regularly. She is by far my favourite historical author. However there are one or two which I don't seem to read as often as the rest, and this is one of them.

'The Black Moth' features Sir Jack Carstairs, who was accused of cheating at cards many years before this book opens. After the accusation, he fled the country, which made even some of his friends suspect that he might be guilty.

Now, however, he has returned and has been living his life as a Robin Hood style highwayman. He learns that his father has died, and that his younger brother refuses to use his inheritance.

Set in 18th century England, this is a book of fights and chases, romance, and even some rather moving sections. There is a superb villain of the story, who is utterly cold-blooded, yet has a sense of humour. Georgette Heyer is, as ever, excellent in characterisation despite this having been (apparently) the first book she ever published. Jack's brother is another wonderful character: utterly respectable, and utterly dull.

There's a typical Heyer ending to the book, with all characters gathered together for a final climax, leading to a most satisfying conclusion.

Recommended.

(You can also read my longer review of 'The Black Moth' written about five years later)

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