Murder at Longbourn (Elizabeth Parker Series #1)

Murder at Longbourn (Elizabeth Parker Series #1)

4.4 20
by Tracy Kiely
     
 

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A die-hard fan of Jane Austen novels and the traditional English mystery, Tracy Kiely has combined elements of both for this truly delightful and witty debut.

Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. Indeed, the

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Overview

A die-hard fan of Jane Austen novels and the traditional English mystery, Tracy Kiely has combined elements of both for this truly delightful and witty debut.

Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. Indeed, the invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a How to Host a Murder Party on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B and B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved aunt of suspicion. The suspects include the town gossip, a haughty rich woman, and an antiques business owner much enamored of his benefactress, a Mrs. Kristell Dubois. If that isn’t bad enough, Elizabeth must also contend with her childhood nemesis, Peter McGowan—-a man she suspects has only matured in chronological years—-and her suspicions about his family’s interest in Winnie’s inn.

Yesterday, her only worry was of ever finding her Mr. Darcy. Now she has a murder to solve. Is it any wonder her resolution to achieve inner poise is in tatters? 

By reimagining characters and themes lifted from the treasured classic Pride and Prejudice, and crafting an expert, intricate mystery, Tracy Kiely has brought to life something very special: a new cozy series that is clever, vibrant, and utterly disarming.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Kristine Huntley
When Elizabeth Parker finds herself single and alone for the holidays, she jumps at an invite from her aunt Winnie to attend a How to Host a Murder Party at Winnie's new Jane Austen-inspired bed-and-breakfast on Cape Cod. Though many of the crowd at Winnie's are older, there are two handsome young men who provide a distraction: British playboy Daniel turns Elizabeth's head with his suave charm, but she's irritated by the presence of her childhood nemesis, Peter. The participants gather, but when the lights go out for the fake murder, a real one occurs: Gerald Ramsey, a surly local businessman, is shot dead. Ramsey was aggressively pushing Winnie to sell her B and B to him—and putting pressure on her by going to the local zoning board—which makes Winnie the prime suspect in his murder. Certain that her aunt isn't the killer, Elizabeth sets out to clear her. With echoes of Jane Austen's characters sure to delight readers, Kiely's first novel offers up a satisfying mystery and a charming
From the Publisher
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that the long-dead Jane Austen remains a driving force in the lives of many authors. Such is the case—to the benefit of those who delight in the cozy mystery—with Tracy Kiely's debut novel, Murder at Longbourn....Kiely pays homage to the traditional mystery in this Christie-worthy puzzle, in which you're sure to fall in love not only with the old Cape Cod setting but also with the author's witty take on the old-fashioned whodunit."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"The author avoids the many temptations this type of book offers....What she offers instead is a group of refreshingly civilized characters who work sensibly together and whom we come to care about as the story develops along the exact lines we hope it will. It's a great introduction to what is promised to be a new series."—The Denver Post

"With echoes of Jane Austen’s characters sure to delight readers, Kiely’s first novel offers up a satisfying mystery and a charming heroine."—Booklist

“The biggest accomplishment of Kiely's debut novel is that it leaves the reader wanting more. Amateur sleuth Elizabeth Parker and her odd assortment of friends and family are ripe for a series. Although the author delves quite deeply into her characters' lives, there's still much to learn. Jane Austen fans will thoroughly enjoy this cerebral mystery.”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

“Tracy Kiely weaves her old-fashioned murder mystery with a modern sensibility and the sort of humorous observations about the human character that I love….those who love good writing, well-drawn characters, a solid mystery plot that is hard to solve, and Austenesque overtones, will enjoy this book as much as I did.”—Jane Austen’s World

"Thoroughly amusing and satisfying...the perfect opener to a new mystery series."—Jane Austen Regency World

 

Booklist
When Elizabeth Parker finds herself single and alone for the holidays, she jumps at an invite from her aunt Winnie to attend a How to Host a Murder Party at Winnie's new Jane Austen-inspired bed-and-breakfast on Cape Cod. Though many of the crowd at Winnie's are older, there are two handsome young men who provide a distraction: British playboy Daniel turns Elizabeth's head with his suave charm, but she's irritated by the presence of her childhood nemesis, Peter. The participants gather, but when the lights go out for the fake murder, a real one occurs: Gerald Ramsey, a surly local businessman, is shot dead. Ramsey was aggressively pushing Winnie to sell her B and B to him-and putting pressure on her by going to the local zoning board-which makes Winnie the prime suspect in his murder. Certain that her aunt isn't the killer, Elizabeth sets out to clear her. With echoes of Jane Austen's characters sure to delight readers, Kiely's first novel offers up a satisfying mystery and a charming heroine.

— Kristine Huntley

Richmond Times-Dispatch
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the long-dead Jane Austen remains a driving force in the lives of many authors. Such is the case -- to the benefit of those who delight in the cozy mystery -- with Tracy Kiely''s debut novel, Murder at Longbourn (308 pages, Minotaur Books, $24.99).
Elizabeth Parker has broken up with her philandering boyfriend and has accepted an invitation to travel from her Northern Virginia home to Cape Cod, where her great-aunt Winnie Reynolds has opened a bed-and-breakfast. There, Elizabeth hopes to spend a quiet New Year''s weekend reading -- she and Winnie are rabid Austen fans -- and helping Winnie with a dinner-theater murder party.
But the party comes to an abrupt end when a real murder takes place; the reader''s mind shifts from Austen to Agatha Christie as Winnie comes under suspicion -- the odious victim had designs on her inn -- and Elizabeth labors to identify the real killer.
Kiely pays homage to the traditional mystery in this Christie-worthy puzzle, in which you''re sure to fall in love not only with the old Cape Cod setting but also with the author''s witty take on the old-fashioned whodunit.
Kirkus Reviews

A Jane Austen fan who's spent too much time with Sense and Sensibility tries to solve a murder at her best friend's wedding.

The friendship between no-nonsense Elizabeth Parker (Murder at Longbourn, 2009) and flighty Bridget Matthews dates back to their childhood. So it's no surprise when Bridget chooses Elizabeth as her one and only attendant at her wedding to Colin Delaney at Barton Landing, the Matthews family's Virginia mansion. Nor is it odd that Elizabeth and her beau Peter McGowan are invited by family matriarch Elsie to stay at Barton Landing—along with Bridget's parents Graham and Blythe, her aunt Claire and Claire's obnoxious husband David, and her wheelchair-bound uncle Avery and his gold-digging wife Roni—while other out-of-town guests are housed at the Jefferson Hotel. As at any wedding, tensions run high, especially after svelte wedding planner Chloe Jenkins confides in Elizabeth that she and Peter were once engaged. The stress escalates as Roni announces that she's just about persuaded Avery to sell the family business for oodles of cash. But it's her cruelty to her daughter Megan that pushes her stepson Harry over the edge, leading to a shouting match. Next morning, Elizabeth finds Roni stabbed to death. The Jefferson Hotel key card lying next to the body gives Elsie hope that the killer lies outside the family circle, but Detective Grant of the local police knows that too many Matthewses have too many motives for murder.

Less Elinor and Marianne Dashwood than Laverne and Shirley, Bridget and Elizabeth show little sense and less sensibility.

Publishers Weekly
Jane Austen fans will welcome Kiely's spirited debut, a contemporary cozy that introduces Elizabeth Parker, a fact-checker for a D.C.-area newspaper who's struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle. Elizabeth resolves to give up fatty foods, along with her two-timing lobbyist beau, before leaving northern Virginia for a restorative New Year's Eve at her great-aunt Winnie's bed-and-breakfast on Cape Cod. In tribute to Jane Austen, Winnie has named the property the Inn at Longbourn (Longbourn being the name of the Bennet family's residence in Pride and Prejudice). There Elizabeth encounters dashing, Darcyesque Peter McGowan, her childhood antagonist; a Clue-worthy clutch of guests gathered for Winnie's gala murder mystery fete; and then—you guessed it—an actual murder. That, and an abundance of clam chowder, are among the few predictable elements of an engaging adventure that will hopefully be but the first of many. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Desperate to escape her well-meaning family after a breakup, Elizabeth Parker accepts an invitation to a New Year's Eve murder party at her aunt's Cape Cod bed-and-breakfast, the Inn at Longbourn—one of several Jane Austen references that pepper this debut novel. Elizabeth soon learns that her aunt's invitation is an attempt to reunite her with a childhood foe. But he turns out to be the least of Elizabeth's problems when the wealthiest and most hated man in town turns up dead. With suspicion falling on her aunt, the hapless Elizabeth begins her own investigation. While sticking to the conventional cozy mystery plot, this fast read is more chick lit, featuring a love-seeking twenty-something heroine, self-deprecating humor, and pop culture references. VERDICT Jane Austen fans and modern cozy mystery readers will appreciate Kiely's debut. Best for those who enjoy Susan Kandel's Cece Caruso and Laura Levine's Jaine Austen series. [Minotaur First Selection; library marketing campaign.]—Suzie Remilien, Long Island Univ. Brooklyn Lib., NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312537562
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
Elizabeth Parker Series, #1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

Tracy Kiely graduated from Trinity College with a B.A. in English. She lives with her husband and three children in Severna Park, Maryland. This is her first novel.

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