Murder at Longbourn

“Our only pets, if you could even call them that, were two goldfish purchased during a rare fit of domesticity. Unfortunately our local pet store didn’t stock a particularly hardy variety,resulting in bimonthly replacement visits. As a result, I’d named each new pair Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It didn’t change their fate, but it added a little drama when I had to announce it.

I had originally planned to read Murder at Longbourn for the Everything Austen Challenge, but every time I went to the library it was checked out. Thankfully, it was worth the wait.

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Elizabeth Parker is looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve at her Great Aunt Winnie’s Vermont bed-and-breakfast, Longbourn. She has recently broken up with her cheating boyfriend and hopes a new love-interest might turn up among the guests (preferable British dreamboat Daniel). Unfortunately, two events put a damper on the situation. Peter McGowan, her tormentor from childhood summers, is back to help Winnie fix up the inn. In addition, during the murder mystery dinner local businessman Gerard Ramsey dies for real. Lots of people might have wanted him dead, and Winnie is high on the list. Elizabeth is determined to clear her aunt’s name, sorting through all the mysterious happenings that seem to be occurring.

This book is a refreshing change from the slew of Austen-related material available; despite what the title suggests it is an homage rather than a retelling. It includes a Mr. Collins but also hints at Emma, with many other literary references as well. Having Elizabeth as a general book lover rather than just an Austen addict makes her a more believable character. It also means that readers will be kept guessing, rather than automatically searching for a Bingley.

Astute readers might pick up on the solution before Elizabeth does, but the mystery is clever enough to be satisfying regardless. Her relationship with Detective Stewart reminded me Laura Child’s Tea Shop Mysteries. My only complaints about the plot were the slow start (it’s quite a while before the body shows up) and the overly dramatic ending. That many broken bones seems unnecessary, and makes it less plausible that Elizabeth would choose to continue her amateur sleuthing career as we know her to do in the next book.

I really enjoyed Murder at Longbourn, and am looking forward to the sequel. The series promises to be a nice blend of mystery, bibliophilia, gentle humor,  and likable characters.

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] on the Bride’s Side, by Tracy Kiely: I’m declaring that this counts because the previous book was a more obvious Austen […]

  2. […] Sequestered Nooks – ” a refreshing change from the slew of Austen-related material available” […]

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