It took me a bit longer to read this book than normal because I’ve been focusing on Emma. My Austen Season is coming along nicely. 🙂
1st in the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series
Author: Carrie Bebris
ISBN: 0-7653-5071-8 (Tor Books)
Finished: 22 April 2007
Who: Elizabeth Bennett Darcy and Fitwilliam Darcy
When: December 1812 – the Darcys were marriage in December and the War of 1812 had began in the summer.
From the back: Mr. & Mrs. Darcy, the joyous newlyweds from Pride and Prejudice, have not even left for their honeymoon when they find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving one of their wedding guests. The lovely Caroline Bingley is engaged to marry a rich and charismatic American. Unfortunately this windswept courtship is marred by many strange events…
The book opens on the day the two eldest Bennett girls marry their chosen bridegrooms (December 1, 1812 — gleaned from comments made throughout the book). During the wedding breakfast at Longbourne, Caroline Bingley announces her engagement to Mr. Frederick Parrish, an American plantation owner from Louisiana. Their wedding is set for the following week in London. Lizzie and Darcy, who intend to go directly to Pemberley, change their plans more for Jane and Bingley sake than out of any regard for Caroline.
Shortly after her wedding, strange things begin to happen to Caroline. The Darcys stay in London to lend their support. As things get worse, Parrish suggest taking his new wife to America, with the hope that a change of scenery will help her. However, England is once again at war with the United States, making the travel more difficult, and the others convince Parrish that Netherfield would be better. The Bingleys, the Hursts, the Darcys, and the Parrishs, along with Dr. Julian Randolph (an archeologist and fellow American) set out for Hertfordshire.
Also come to Netherfield is Mr. Bingley Senior’s old business partner. Lawerence Kendall has long accused the senior Mr. Bingley of embezzlement, something which Kendall is actually guilty of. He’s come to threaten legal action. His presence is further unwanted by the fact that he is the father of the girl, Juliet, Parrish had been courting prior to his involvement with Caroline. On the day of his arrival, the Bingleys are involved in carriage accident and they are nearly killed in a fire.
Suspects and motives mount up. Kendall, Dr. Randolph (whose interest in the supernatural makes Lizzie suspicious of his motives for helping), and even Parrish and Mr. Hurst have motive to see harm done to Charles, Jane, and Caroline (Louisa, her normally selfish self, is the only Bingley sibling unharmed). As Darcy and Elizabeth try to make sense of what’s happening before any more harm befalls the Bingleys, Lizzie shows a willingness to accept a supernatural reason for Caroline’s strange behavior. Practical, rational Darcy doesn’t.
If you don’t like your Elizabeth and Darcy to have a bit of Mulder and Scully, then you will not like this book. I enjoyed it very much. There were several humorous lines of dialogue and I felt the characters from Pride and Prejudice behave themselves much the way they had in that book. The supernatural element was very low-key and it did add a bit of Gothic to the story (something that Jane Austen might have found enjoyable herself). I look forward to reading the other books in the series.
“What did you tell her?”
“That we found Mrs. Parrish wandering the streets in a scandalous manner last night, and remain in London to circulate gossip.”
— Elizabeth, Darcy
“Perhaps she did not care for the dress.”
“Sneaking into someone else’s room in the middle of the night to destroy an unbecoming gown seems rather excessive fashion monitoring. I think even Beau Brummell would draw the line at that.”
“Brummell would impale the wearer with his wit.”
— Darcy, Elizabeth
“Come, Elizabeth. This is no scene for a lady’s eyes.”
“We just found someone dead! What ladylike pursuit would you have me go undertake? Shall I stitch a sampler?”
— Darcy, Elizabeth