Murder at Mansfield Park: Fanny Price Now an Outrageous Gold-digger in a new Austen Re-imaging

Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics), by Jane AustenJane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park will be next up for a literary mash-up. 

Bookseller.com reports that Beautiful Books, a London based publisher announced today that they have purchased Murder at Mansfield Park, a whodunit by Lynn Shepherd. 

Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Mansfield Park, the murder mystery re-imagines Austen’s classic story re-casting gentle and principled heroine Fanny Price as “ambitious, scheming and relentlessly focused”, while anti-heroine Mary Crawford “suffers great indignities from her mean neighbour”

And now, a bit of self hype by the publisher. 

Simon Petherick, managing director of Beautiful Books, described the book as “fantastic” and “tremendous fun”. He added: “The really good thing about it is that linguistically, it’s very accurate, and she picks up on all the key themes that appeared in the original . . . But whereas Fanny is quite a pain in the arse in Austen’s version, Lynn’s Fanny is an outrageous gold-digger.” 

From what we can gather, this is an original manuscript and not a true mash-up inserting new bits into Jane Austen’s original text like we saw in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Calling Fanny Price a pain in the arse is a bit crude, but honestly, we are just relieved that there are no monster or alien invasions in it.

14 thoughts on “Murder at Mansfield Park: Fanny Price Now an Outrageous Gold-digger in a new Austen Re-imaging

  1. Well, you’re right–the good news is that there are not monsters in the new Mansfield Park. But why, oh why, do you need to rewrite the characters character? Can’t these authors come up with an original idea?

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    • Hi Lisa, it is definetly a new trend emerging in the book world. Since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was such a big hit, publishers want to jump on the band wagon and make money. It is very popular with younger readers who think it is irreverent and funny. To answer your question, they rewrite Austen’s characters becasue she is well known, and her plots are universally accecessible. Her works are also out of copywrite.

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  2. What do you think of all of these Austen-inspired mash-ups and spin-offs? This is a new phenomena of the last couple of years, isn’t it, or am I just now noticing because I am now a book blogger? It seems to me Austen is everywhere!

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    • Hello Rebecca, thanks for visiting. The Austen mash-ups are a recent phenom. I do not mind it if the author laughs with Jane, but I do take exception if they are laughing at her. The first mash-up was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I rather thought it was funny parody. The author Seth Grahme-Smith knew his zombie lore and it worked. I have not read any of the other mash-ups published or in the queue, but from the publishers descriptions and am very wary to downright angry. When a publisher thinks it would be fun to desecrate a work of classic literature, that is pushing beyond laughing with the author and laughing at them. Not respectuful to dead authors who can not defend their work.

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  3. My apologies for the throwaway remark which appeared in the Bookseller. I’m a huge Austen fan, and am right now persuading my daughter to begin the delightful introduction to her world. Lynn’s novel really is a fine work, and I hope that you will all find, when we publish next year, that she has created a new work which is respectful of Austen but at the same time both innovative and genuinely enjoyable. It’s not so much a “mash-up” (I’m still not sure what that is) but more a literary game, almost of the kind that Austen herself might have played of a quiet evening at home.

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    • Simon, very kind of you to visit my humble corner of Austenland. You are very gracious to apologize for slamming poor Fanny. You are not alone. I am always defending her. Unlike the monster mash editions of Jane Austen in th queue, I am looking forward to reading Lynn’s novel. Thanks again for stopping by. LA

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  4. Since Simon has defended me so chivalrously I may as well add something of my own! Rest assured there are no monsters in my book (if you don’t count a passing reference to a pointer puppy), and in fact I started it long before anyone dreamed of putting ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘zombies’ in the same sentence. ‘Mansfield Park’ has been following me around since I first read it for A level, and I hope that anyone who loves Austen as much as I do will find something to entertain them in my own version. I spent a huge amount of time making sure the language is authentic, and I’ve also put in some ‘buried treasure’ in the form of quotations from Austen’s letters and other snippets like that, which I hope will be an extra treat for the true Austen fan!

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    • Hi Lynn, thanks for stopping by. I did not object to the concept of your book as much as your publishers discription. Reading that Fanny Price was a gold digger is so jarring and opposite of Austen’s original character. I wish you all the best with your book and will give it a read when it comes out. LA

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  5. Pingback: Murder at Mansfield Park, by Lynn Shepherd – A Review « Austenprose

  6. Instead of a gold-digger, I would have preferred if Lynn Shepherd had made good use of the negative effects of Fanny’s hypocrisy. That would have been interesting. And the character would not have to be changed.

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