The Suspicion at Sanditon, Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham, by Carrie Bebris – A Review

The Suspicion at Sanditon Carrie Bebris 2015 x 200From the desk of Christina Boyd:

Seemingly moments after reading the end of award-winning author’s Carrie Bebris, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) in 2011, the sixth novel in her Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series, I, along with other fans wondered what Bebris might write next. Much speculation surfaced whether she would attempt a mystery with Austen’s lesser-known works: Sanditon, The Watsons, and Lady Susan or abandon the scheme altogether! Not four years later, and all anticipation, I had my hands on an advanced copy of Bebris’s seventh in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series, Suspicion at Sanditon (Or, the Disappearance of Lady Denham).

Only the most astute Austen fans will know Sanditon is the unfinished novel that Jane Austen began writing in January 1817 and forsook after the first eleven chapters on March 18—dying 4 months later on July 18, 1817. Others might be interested to understand this first draft centers on a Miss Charlotte Heywood, the daughter of a country gentleman, who travels to a developing seaside resort, Sanditon, and encounters a ridiculous baronet Sir Edward Denham, the Parker family who were always imagining themselves unwell, and the twice-widowed dowager Lady Denham with no heir apparent. “In those few chapters, she sets her stage, populates it with memorable characters, and infuses the whole with humor reminiscent of her earlier writings.” (332) Author’s Note. Continue reading

Giveaway winners announced for The Deception at Lyme & set of M&M Darcy Mysteries Series

The Deception at Lyme, by Carrie Bebris (2011)77 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of The Deception at Lyme and one set of the six Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries books, all by Carrie Bebris. The winners drawn n at random are:

The Deception at Lyme:

  • Janet who left a comment on October 3, 2011
  • Carolyn who left a comment on September 29, 2011
  • Willowisp who left a comment on September 27, 2011

Full set of all six of the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries:

  • Lori Hedgpeth who left a comment on September 27, 2011

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October 19th, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments! Congrats to the winners. Enjoy!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), by Carrie Bebris – A Review

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), by Carrie Bebris (2011)Guest review by Christina Boyd

In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the famed seawall of Lyme is perilous to the heedless, naïve Miss Louisa Musgrove, whose fall is a critical turning point in the original novel.  But in award winning author Carrie Bebris’ new Austen-inspired mystery, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), the Cobb is indeed lethal.

Following their last adventure with Mr. & Mrs. Knightley in The Intrigue at Highbury (2010), this sixth installment of the critically acclaimed Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mystery series finds Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, their toddler Lily Anne, as well as Miss Georgiana Darcy on holiday in Lyme. While at the famed seaside village, Mr. Darcy is set to collect the sea chest of his cousin of the Royal Navy, Gerard Fitzwilliam, who was killed in action aboard the Magna Carta three years prior. However, after the Darcys encounter the pregnant Mrs. Clay, who has suffered a serious injury from a fall at the base of the Cobb, their holiday turns topsy-turvy and once again the Darcys find themselves in the middle of peril and mystery.  After a horrific delivery, the Darcys must discover which of the dead mother’s amours is the father of this newborn son– a baby, they soon learn whose very being endangers the legacy of one, and the character of the other.  Was Mrs. Clay’s fall simply an unfortunate accident, or was she murdered?  And why?

Added to this machination, Mr. Darcy uncovers evidence among his cousin’s personal effects, indicating he might also have been murdered. Fortunately, Darcy is aided by none other than the champion of Austen’s Persuasion, Captain Frederick Wentworth, to discover the truth of this young lieutenant’s death. Several unforgettable characters from Persuasion, (Mrs. Smith, Sir Walter Elliot, Mr. Elliot, the Harvilles and Mrs. Frederick Wentworth nee Miss Anne Elliot), not only make appearances but Bebris has artfully carved out larger roles for some. True to form, the Darcys are ever attentive to detail in piecing together the facts and possible witnesses, “As the nurse handed Mrs. Smith her cane, Elizabeth realized herself she might have seen Mrs. Smith once before. There had been a woman on a bench on the Lower Cobb… Elizabeth’s party had been on the upper wall, looking down on from an angle, so the woman’s bonnet had prevented a clear view of her face, and even had it not, Elizabeth had no reason at the time to closely observe her. But the woman had possessed a cane.” p. 106.

Not only do we find the Darcys in company with Persuasion’s familiar faces but also Bebris artfully introduces a handsome young man (or two) to the plot, of which Miss Georgiana later finds she is not all together immune to their charms. “Darcy glanced from the sailor to Georgiana, and saw his sister through the strangers eyes – the eyes of a man.  A man who was not her brother, not her protector, but a warm-blooded buck who could not help but respond to the sight of a beautiful woman.  Worse—a man turned onshore after months at sea entirely deprived of women’s company.” p. 23 Oh, poor Darcy.

Carrie Bebris strikes all the right tones.  Her believable dialogue and relationships in and amongst Austen’s most memorable characters delivers another succinct, clever conspiracy to this award-winning series. Her deft understanding of Regency mores and thorough research of the local history and oddities of Lyme Regis, as well as His Majesty’s Royal Navy make it all the more perfect. Carrie Bebris once again has a hit on her hands—which will keep you guessing whodunit until the very end. I for one think The Deception at Lyme her best work yet!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), by Carrie Bebris
Tor Books (2011)
Hardcover (304) pages
ISBN: 978-0765327970

Christina Boyd lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two youngish children and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Bibi.  She studied Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University in Maryland. Although life has taken her on a merry adventure through a myriad of careers including modeling, flight attending, marketing & sales, owning a paint-it-yourself ceramic studio… she has for the last nine years created and sold her own pottery line from her working studio. Albeit she read Jane Austen as a moody teenager, it wasn’t until Joe Wright’s 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice that sparked her interest in all things Austen.  A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina has read and owns well over 200 Austen inspired novels… and cannot comprehend the neglect of the collection in such days as these.  Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

© 2007 – 2011 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) Blog Tour with author Carrie Bebris & Giveaway

The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), by Carrie Bebris (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Carrie Bebris on her blog tour in celebration of the release of The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion), the sixth book in her Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series released today by Tor Books.

Laurel Ann, thank you so much for inviting me here to talk about my new Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery, The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) on its release day. It is always such a pleasure to visit Austenprose and enjoy, as Anne Elliot would say, the good company of “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.”

Ever since my series debuted in 2004 with Pride and Prescience, readers have been asking for a Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery based on Persuasion, and I indeed planned to write one. Persuasion competes with Pride & Prejudice as my favorite Austen work (the winner is generally determined by whichever one I happen to be reading at the time), and the opportunity to bring together Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth in the same novel—well, let’s just say that the idea of spending every day with the two of them for the year or so it takes me to write a book was very appealing indeed!

However, whenever I begin writing a new novel, I look at where Darcy, Elizabeth, and other characters were left (both physically and in terms of personal growth) at the end of the previous books of the series. I contemplate which of Austen’s characters they might naturally encounter next, without the meeting feeling forced or coincidental. And I reread Austen’s novels with an eye toward loose threads that, with a little tugging, can be woven into a web of intrigue that entangles the Darcys whether they want to be involved or not.

Before now, both my own intuition and the Darcys themselves told me the timing wasn’t right for a Persuasion-based Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery. The Darcys weren’t ready to meet the Wentworths yet, and I wasn’t ready to introduce them. Austen’s “light, and bright, and sparkling” P&P was written early in her career; Persuasion was written at the very end and has a different tone. It is the work of a more mature writer, the story of a more mature hero and heroine. Before entering that world, the Darcys needed to have other adventures first, needed to gain more life experience. And I needed to develop a story worthy of bringing Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, Anne Elliot, and Captain Wentworth—Austen’s most popular and compelling pairs of heroes and heroines—together. A mystery that only these four individuals, working collectively, could solve. Continue reading

Giveaway Winner Announced for Suspense and Sensibility

Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie Bebris (2005)17 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of, Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie Bebris. The winner drawn at random is Melinda M. who left a comment on August 29, 2011.

Congratulations Melinda! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 15, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading S&S, Jane Austen’s first published novel, and the many offshoots that it has inspired. The challenge continues until December 31, 2011.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery, by Carrie Bebris – A Review

Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie Bebris (2007)Inspired by characters from Jane Austen’s novels Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, the second in the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries series begins four months after the marriage of Austen’s famous romantic duo, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Family obligations take them from Pemberley, their country estate in Derbyshire, to Town to help the couple’s younger sisters, Kitty Bennet and Georgiana Darcy, participate in the London social season.  Being an heiress, Georgiana commands the respect and admiration of many who would like to connect with the Darcy family and its large fortune. Kitty, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. In contrast, her small dowry and lack of social accomplishments leave only her family connections and natural charms to entice an eligible suitor for her hand. He comes in the form of a rich dandy, Harry Dashwood, son of John and Fanny Dashwood of Norland Park, who when first introduced to Miss Catherine Bennet, thinks she is the highly accomplished and very rich Georgiana Darcy. A moment of realization and embarrassment for all is smoothed over by Harry’s continued attentions to Kitty. Elizabeth and Darcy are also relieved that he has other motives than those of his social climbing mother Fanny Dashwood in choosing a wife. He is quite taken with Kitty and invites her and the Darcys to Norland for his twenty-first birthday fete.

Revisiting Norland Park again, we are re-introduced to more characters from Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility: Robert and Lucy Ferrars & Edward and Elinor Ferrars – but twenty years has transpired since the conclusion of Austen’s novel – and the next generation takes center stage. Harry’s mother Fanny Dashwood, officious and manipulative as ever, disapproves of Catherine Bennet intensely. Wanting her son to marry for money and connections, she fosters a match between Robert & Lucy Ferrars’ unappealing daughter Regina. Harry will have none of it and proves he is his own man and asks for Kitty’s hand and is accepted.

After some doubts about Harry, Elizabeth and Darcy and now very supportive of the engagement. Returning to Town to shop for Kitty’s trousseau, everyone thinks that she has made an excellent match for herself until their first impressions of Harry are sorely tested. His extended absence from his fiancé gives rise to speculation and doubt, coupled with damaging gossip about him being seen about Town engaging in late night carousing with disreputable characters. When he finally reappears at the Darcy’s townhouse to visit his fiancé, he explains that he has been away from London for two weeks visiting relatives. How could that be when he has been seen by so many in Town, including Mr. Darcy himself?

After leisurely starting off quite sedately as a continuation of Pride and Prejudice interlaced with characters from Sense and Sensibility, the plot takes a right hand turn into the realm of the supernatural. A mysterious ancient mirror and an infamous Dashwood relation from the past bring Gothic elements into this mystery that were quite unexpected, but intriguing. Bebris has a wonderful command of Regency history and a complete understanding of Austen’s characters. Even though I solved the mystery that Elizabeth and Darcy must investigate and deduce before the protagonists did, it mattered not. What is most delightful about Bebris’ Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries is the couple themselves. I found myself laughing out loud several times at their witty banter.

“That is precisely why foxhunting is an inappropriate pastime for ladies,” Darcy said. “Blood sport runs counter to their gentle natures.”

Elizabeth thought about many well-bred women who occupied society’s highest ranks, and chuckled softy. “Ladies are quite capable of blood sport, darling. Their field is the drawing room.” Page 54

Suspense and Sensibility is a delightful read, albeit a bit slow to start, it eventually churns and always tickles the funny bone in all the right places.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my eight selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

A Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of Suspense and Sensibility by leaving a comment by midnight PT Wednesday, September 7, 2011 stating what intrigues you about reading a Jane Austen-inspired mystery, or who your favorite character was in either of the original novels. Winners will be announced on Thursday, September 8, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only.

Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery, by Carrie Bebris
Forge Books (2007)
Trade paperback (304) pages
ISBN: 9780765318442

© 2007 – 2011, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

New Jane Austen Short Story Anthology Announced Today

Hot off the presses is an announcement today in Publishers Weekly of a new Jane Austen short story anthology to be published by Random House in 2011. The collection will include approximately twenty stories inspired by Jane Austen, literature’s witty muse of the modern novel and astute observer of human nature and the heart.

Readers familiar with Austen inspired paraliterature will recognize many popular authors among the list of those contributing and a few surprises from best selling authors who greatly admire Austen’s works. Contributing to the line-up are best selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series) and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Approximately twenty Austenesque authors and others from related genres have already committed to the project including:

Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy)

Elizabeth Aston (Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, & Writing Jane Austen)

Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series, & The White Garden)

Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series)

Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, & Mrs. Elton in America)

Frank Delaney (Shannon, Tipperary, & Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show)

Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins, & The Other Mr. Darcy)

Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club, & Wits End)

Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, & Mr. Darcy’s Diary)

Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, & The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte)

Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)

Janet Mullany (Bespelling Jane Austen, & Rules of Gentility)

Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet’s Story, & Willoughby’s Return)

Beth Pattillo (Jane Austen Ruined My Life, & Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart)

Alexandra Potter (Me & Mr. Darcy, & The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather: A Novel)

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway (Lady Vernon & Her Daughter)

Myretta Robens (Pemberley.com , Just Say Yes, & Once Upon a Sofa)

Maya Slater (The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy)

Margaret C. Sullivan (AustenBlog.com, & The Jane Austen Handbook)

Adriana Trigiani (Brava Valentine, Very Valentine, & Lucia, Lucia)

Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)

Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series)

In addition, a short story contest hosted by the venerable The Republic of Pemberley website will be held to fill one slot in the anthology for a new voice in Austenesque fiction. Further details on submission and manuscript deadlines will be posted here and at Pemberley.com.

And if you were wondering how I know so much about the project, I have been secretly working on it for months and will be the editor. I’m the luckiest Janeite in the world!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Intrigue at Highbury Or, Emma’s Match, by Carrie Bebris – A Review

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in Carrie Bebris’ clever Jane Austen inspired mysteries, whenever Mr. and Mrs. Darcy embarks on a carriage journey across England they are sure to end up investigating a murder in a country village inhabited by someone or other of Jane Austen’s characters from one of her novels. This truth has become so well fixed in minds of her fans that we consider this devise our rightful property and any deviations would be insupportable. Happily, her fifth book in the series The Intrigue at Highbury Or, Emma’s Match does not disappoint opening with the Darcy’s traveling to Sussex to visit recently married cousins Colonel and Anne Fitzwilliam. In Surrey along the London Road their carriage is hailed by a young woman in distress just outside the village of Highbury. What starts out as an act of kindness by the Darcy’s quickly turns into a clever con by highwaymen who assault their coachmen and relieve the Darcy’s of their possessions.

Determined to report the crime and recovery their family heirlooms the Darcy’s seek out the parish magistrate Mr. George Knightley who is having problems of his own. He and his new bride, the former Miss Emma Woodhouse, are entertaining a large party at Donwell Abbey in honor of friends Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill’s recent London wedding. Among the out-of-town guests are Col. and Mrs. Campbell, newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Peter Dixon and Mr. Edgar Churchill, the bridegroom’s adoptive father. Many of the Highbury set are in attendance including Miss Bates, a woman of a certain age and no fortune whom Emma has taken it upon herself to rescue from Mrs. Augusta Elton’s misguided matchmaking by introducing her to several illegible bachelors. The party is a great success until Frank’s father Mr. Churchill has a bit too much to drink, promptly becomes ill and unexpectedly dies. There is nothing like a corpse at a party to quickly quell the merriment of a celebration. Emma’s grand event has become the most infamous dinner party in Highbury history, and for all the wrong reasons. Moreover, Mr. Perry the apothecary suspects murder by poisoning and Mr. Knightley agrees.

Arriving at Donwell Abbey on the night of the ill fated party, the Darcy’s relay the criminal events of the evening to Mr. Knightley who now has two crimes to solve. It is not long before they both see connections between the highway robbery and the murder and join forces to solve both crimes. High on their list on possible suspects in Mr. Churchill’s death is his son Frank. Even though he is to inherit the Churchill fortune, other blood relatives could supersede him and dark family secrets are looming. On the other front, itinerant gypsies could be responsible for the robbery and are quickly connected to newly arrived peddler Hiram Deal who seems to have an abundant supply of merchandise and ample stock of gypsie elixirs potent enough to have killed Mr. Churchill. Throw in charades, riddles, secret anagrams, plot twists, red herrings, and many memorable characters old and new and you have one fast paced, witty whodunit that is sure to keep you guessing until the last page.

Readers of Jane Austen’s novel Emma will recognize similarities in the underlying plot to our modern murder mysteries. Filled with charades, riddles, word games, secret engagements and the speculation surrounding Jane Fairfax’s gift pianoforte, of all of Austen’s novels, Emma lends itself seamlessly to a continuation with a full mystery plot. Carrie Bebris’ skill at mining the original narrative for interesting coincidences to supplement her new story is amazing. In fear of spoilers I will not divulge my discoveries, but slyly allude to the fact that Mr. Knightley never liked Frank Churchill and was always suspect of his motives while others in the Highbury community could see no fault. That has not changed! Neither has the Austenesque wit as I found myself laughing at Mr. Woodhouse’s continued anxiety over other’s health and safety, Miss Bates’ endless chatter and the Mrs. Elton vs. Mrs. Knightley showdown over who would secure a beau for Miss Bates first absolutely hysterical. Unlike the other novels in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series, the Darcy’s take an equal role in sleuthing with the Knightley’s and both the men and ladies as pairs doubled the pace of the investigation. As always, Bebris’ historical research and inclusion of medical matters, poisons and gypsie culture in the Regency-era was quite impressive. If she is fibbing, she is a credit to her profession!

Bebris has surpassed herself offering her finest novel in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series yet. The Intrigue at Highbury will captivate Austen and mystery fans with its briskly paced continuation of Austen’s Emma infused with enough sharp wit, clever underpinnings, devious relations and fearsome gypsie attacks for the most diehard fans. However, I will withhold my highest praise and strongest prejudice for the next novel in the series when the Darcy’s travel to the seaside and meet the characters from Persuasion. Yay! Men in blue. La!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Intrigue at Highbury Or, Emma’s Match, by Carrie Bebris
Tor/Forge Books (2010)
Hardcover (320) pages
ISBN: 978-0765318480

Additional Reviews

Read my review of  The Matters at Mansfield (4th Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series

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The Matters at Mansfield: Or the Crawford Affair (A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery), by Carrie Bebris – A Review

More accurately, Lady Catherine conversed. Anne listened silently, her attention straying to other parts of the busy room as her mother soliloquied unchecked. Wandering concentration, however, was endemic to participants in Lady Catherine’s conversations. It was how one survived them. Chapter 2

 

Austenesque author Carrie Bebris ventures into her fourth excursion in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series with the recently released, The Matters at Mansfield: or the Crawford Affair, continuing the story of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy after their marriage in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Once again we join the famous couple as they investigate crime and murder among the gentry of Regency England involving many familiar characters from Jane Austen’s novels.

 

It has been two summers since the Darcy’s marriage in 1803 and the story opens at Riverton Hall in Buckinghamshire, the ancestral home of Mr. Darcy’s mother Anne Fitzwilliam. The present Earl is giving a ball in honor of his new fiancé and the Darcy’s are house guests along with other family members: sister Georgiana Darcy, cousins Colonel Fitzwilliam and Anne de Bourgh, and their aunt, the officious and overbearing Lady Catherine de Bourgh still giving unsolicited advice and talking a blue streak.

 

Lady Catherine’s hen pecked and sickly daughter Anne is now 28 years old and being micro-managed by her mother to within an inch of her life. Lady Catherine is determined to secure a prominent match for her daughter since the mate chosen for her since birth, Fitzwilliam Darcy, defied her wishes and married that ‘gentleman’s daughter’, Elizabeth Bennet. Unbeknownst to Anne, her mother brokers a marriage to the son of a family friend and neighbor Lord Sennex, of Hawthorn Manor. This is purely a match of convenience as the future husband is a hot tempered Caliban, about as suitable a love match for fragile and retiring Anne as the odious Rev. Mr. Collins was for Elizabeth Bennet in the original novel.

 

Certain that her mother will chain her to an abysmal marriage, Anne makes an uncharacteristically bold move and elopes with a man unknown to her family or friends, Henry Crawford of Everingham in Norfolk. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam pursue the couple to Gretna Green, Scotland only to discover that they are too late. The irregular marriage has already taken place and duly consummated. At Lady Catherine’s biding, they escort the couple back to Riverton Hall for an audience with her Ladyship. Along the road they are detained in a country village quite familiar to Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park, the last village in England where we would like to be stranded. Unavoidably he must deal with the village locals and many of the characters in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park such as Sir Thomas Bertram, Mrs. Norris and his former paramour, the spiteful Maria Rushworth. While there, a murder is discovered. Who, I will not reveal, but suffice it to say, if you ever felt the desire to kill off one of Jane Austen’s most undeserving cads, you will not be disappointed.

 

Ms. Berbris is truly fond of a good Austen quote skillfully applying them as a epigraph to open each of the chapters. In that spirit, I shall paraphrase a quote by Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride and Prejudice and exclaim that with The Matters at Mansfield  she “has given us a treasure.”  I was continually charmed by her imaginings of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as the Nick and Nora Charles of the Regency set, exhibiting all the sensibilities that any Janeite would appreciate in an Austen pastiche: respect for the original author’s style, observance of period detail, reverence to the characters, and interjection of circuitous humour and lighthearted banter, all combined in a well thought out and absorbing whodunit that keeps us guessing and engaged to the last. My only disappointment was that it ended all too quickly, and I hope that the next novel currently being penned about Austen’s novel Emma will suspend our pleasure for a bit longer.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Regenct Stars  

 

The Matters at Mansfield: or the Crawford Affair (A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery)

A Forge Book, published by Tom Doherty & Assoc, LLC, New York (2008)

Hardcover (286) pages

ISBN: 978-0765318473

 

Giveaway!

 

 Leave a comment by September 29th. to qualify in a drawing for a new copy of The Matters at Mansfield by Carrie Bebris. The winner will be announced on September 30th.  

Further reading

  • Review of The Matters at Mansfield  by The Bluestocking Guide
  • Visit author Carrie Bebris’ website