From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
We are happy to welcome back Austenesque author Kelly Miller today in celebration of her new novel, Accusing Mr. Darcy. This storyline is a variation of the classic Pride and Prejudice plot and places protagonists Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy is an alternative universe—combining a love story and a murder mystery in the Peak District of northern England.
For those who are familiar with Miller’s previous two novels, Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match (2020) and Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley (2019), you will know of the author’s creative abilities. Great ready for another shake-up.
You will not find familiar characters such as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Lady Catherine, the younger Bennet sisters, or landmarks such as Longbourn and Rosing Park. Instead, you will be introduced to an
entirely new set of characters and residences. Accusing Mr. Darcy propels us into a country house murder mystery. Will it have the traditional earmarks of a country house mystery such as red herrings and twists in the plot? I’m not telling.
The author has generously shared an exclusive excerpt with our readers to give us a glimpse into the setting and characters. Enjoy!
Could Fitzwilliam Darcy harbour a shocking, sinister secret?
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet count themselves among the many guests of the Kendall family, whose estate lies amidst the picturesque hills, gorges, and rocky slopes of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Elizabeth’s cousin Rose Kendall believes her dashing brother-in-law, Captain James Kendall, is Elizabeth’s ideal match. Rose’s husband, Nicholas, hopes his good friend Darcy—a rich, proud, and taciturn gentleman with a spotless reputation—will fancy one of the other eligible lady guests.
News of a brutal killing at a neighbouring estate sends a wave of shock through the genial group of friends and family. When one of the Kendalls’ guests is attacked, all of the gentlemen become suspects, but the former Bow Street runner tasked with investigating the crime finds the evidence against Mr. Darcy particularly compelling.
In this romantic mystery, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice cross paths with a ruthless killer. When faced with dire warnings against Mr. Darcy, will Elizabeth heed them or follow the dictates of her heart?
Georgiana took his hand and tugged him towards the pen confining the puppies and their mother. Darcy’s smile soon rivalled that of his sister. A litter of puppies could lighten anyone’s mood, especially this impressive group. The puppies appeared healthy, active, and handsome. Their large, dark eyes combined with the beautiful contrasting markings on their shiny coats to lend them uncommon appeal, with no two alike. Darcy’s gaze gravitated towards the liver-and-white puppies, his preferred colour combination. However, his sister’s predilection differed. Georgiana, who had entered the pen, held a large black-and-white puppy against her chest.
Nicholas had chosen one of the male black-and-white puppies to keep. His friend’s pick had a white tail and sported a red ribbon around its neck. Darcy joined his sister inside the enclosure, and he was soon surrounded by puppies and the liver-and-white mother of the brood, all vying for his attention. He crouched and petted each of them.
“Georgiana, am I correct in my conjecture that you fancy the puppy you are holding?”
She took a deep breath. “I have never seen a puppy as beautiful as this one. She is one of the more active puppies, but look how tranquil she remains while I hold her. I should like to keep her.” Hesitance marked her speech. “Could we buy her?”
Darcy stood and grinned. “I do not see why not. I have never seen a finer litter of springing spaniels.”
Georgiana’s face lit up with her broad smile. She took careful steps around the wriggling puppies until she arrived at his side. Her free arm embraced him. “Thank you. I am excited to be obtaining a dog of my own!”
He kissed the top of his sister’s head. “You are welcome.” One of the puppies, a small liver-and-white one, put its paws upon one of Darcy’s Hessian boots. He knelt and scooped it up in his forearm.
His sister’s smile faltered. She gave the puppy in his arms an intent gaze. “Fitzwilliam, are these puppies very expensive?”
“It is no cause for concern, I assure you. I imagine I spend more on one of your visits to the dressmaker.”
Georgiana petted the puppy he held. “I am curious though; do you suppose they cost above ten pounds?”
“Yes, I should say so, perhaps as much as seventy pounds. Nicholas did a fair amount of searching before he found the dogs he bred for this litter. Why do you ask?”
Her forehead sprouted rows of faint lines. “The puppy you are holding is the one Miss Bennet favoured. Yesterday, I told her of my intention to ask you whether we could buy a puppy, and I almost asked Miss Bennet whether she would buy one as well. But then it occurred to me that she might not be able to afford one, and I was glad I did not ask. It might have been awkward if I had.”
Darcy held the puppy aloft and met its large, dark eyes. “So this one was Miss Bennet’s favourite? How can you be certain?”
“I am positive. I noted at the time that she preferred the smallest female liver-and-white puppy.”
Darcy set the puppy on the ground. “I believe you are correct. It is implausible that Miss Bennet could afford one of these puppies.” A powerful feeling of unease rose in his breast at the idea of Miss Bennet being denied anything she desired. He made an effort to disregard the sentiment. It was not his place to be concerned for Miss Bennet’s happiness.
His sister gave her puppy a final pat before setting it down. “I wonder whether I should tell Miss Bennet that we are buying a puppy.” Georgiana’s brows slanted. “If I do, might Miss Bennet feel sad that she cannot buy the puppy she likes?”
Darcy placed his hand on her shoulder. “It is considerate of you to think of Miss Bennet’s feelings, but I think you should tell her. The lady is apt to hear of it anyway, and it is better that she learns it from you.”
She nodded. “Yes, I suppose you are correct.”
Besides, his sister might wish to invite Miss Bennet to Pemberley in the future. If so, the lady would see Georgiana’s dog at that time. At the mental image of Miss Bennet visiting Pemberley, the corners of his mouth twitched up. He could show her many picturesque walking paths on his estate.
Chapter 3, pages 51-52
“You’ll come for the intriguing mystery and stay for the heart-warming romance. The characters are charmingly entertaining, and the murder investigation woven throughout creates moments of genuine surprise and suspense. Miller’s ability to create a compelling page turner will have you hooked from beginning to end.” Ila Golden— author of Echoe
Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano (although like Elizabeth Bennet, she is errant when it comes to practicing), singing, and walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.
Accusing Mr. Darcy is her third novel published by Meryton Press. Her previous books are: Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy; and Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation.
- Accusing Mr. Darcy” A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Kelly Miller
- Meryton Press (August 26, 2020)
- Trade paperback, & eBook (360) pages
- ISBN: 978-1681310411
- Genre: Austenesque, Historical Mystery
Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, excerpt, and author bio compliments of Meryton Press © 2020; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2020, Austenprose.com.