Murder at Longbourn (Elizabeth Parker Series #1) [NOOK Book]

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 ...

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Murder at Longbourn (Elizabeth Parker Series #1)

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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

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
Kirkus Reviews
A quintessential chick-lit heroine quotes Pride and Prejudice, solves a murder and gets her man in this debut mystery. Facing New Year's Eve alone, newly single Elizabeth Parker is just as ready as Bridget Jones to give up hope of finding her Mr. Darcy. An invitation to help at quirky Aunt Winnie's bed and breakfast on Cape Cod seems like her best option to ring in the New Year, even if her former adolescent nemesis Peter McGowan will be hanging around the place. Besides, Aunt Winnie is hosting a staged murder, a whodunit game with a troupe of actors. In a plot twist that will surprise only the kiddies, when the lights go out, the murder turns real; Gerald Ramsey, the wealthiest man in town, has been shot by one of the guests. Half the people in the room have a motive: his trophy wife Lauren; his cloistered daughter Polly; dashing Daniel, who's been suspiciously attentive to Lauren; and even Aunt Winnie, who's been threatened by Ramsey's legal maneuverings ever since she snatched the inn from under his nose. To clear Aunt Winnie, Elizabeth has tea with the widow and lingers in the bakery, pondering the gossip until a sudden flash of insight inspires her to reckless bravery. Predictable romance and implausible social scenarios-strictly for fans of books about being a fan of Jane Austen. Agent: Barbara Poelle/The Irene Goodman Agency
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.
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

 

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429954761
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Elizabeth Parker Series , #1
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 119,884
  • File size: 359 KB

Meet the Author

Tracy Kiely

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Fun read!

    Fun, light, entertaining mystery that keeps you guessing. Love the classic whodunit format of murder at the party without it being predictable. The main character, Elizabeth Parker, has a funny internal dialogue reminescent of Kathy Reichs' Temperence Brennan (books, not tv). Very enjoyable and I look forward to reading more by Ms. Kiely.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Wonderful 1st book

    Tracy Kiely has created a wonderful new character in the persona of Elizabeth Parker. She is young, clever & the is as zany as Stephanie Plum without being to over the top. I enjoyed the quotes that were given at the beginning of each chapter. And some of Elizabeth's lines were laugh out loud funny. I can't wait to see what mischievous she & her cohorts are up to in the next book in the series Murder On The Bride's Side. Hopefully this series will continue. Tracy Kiely has a real winner with Elizabeth Parker.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Clever and fun!

    It is a light, fun mystery. The characters are interesting and it certainly keeps you guessing!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great for Austen Lovers

    Enjoyed this book very much. I am a Jane Austen fan, and the writer has really captured Jane. enjoyed the references to Janes novels. I found this book to be a quick easy read. did not want to put it down. Read it in several sittings. I was excessively diverted by the story. Can't wait for the second novel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Fun Mystery For All!

    You needn't be an Austen fan to be a Kiely fan; although in her debut book, more than a casual familiarity with Austen will help you recognize some esoteric references between the independent and witty Elizabeth Parker and her beloved eccentric speed-demon Aunt Winnie.

    Murder at Longbourn's concept itself is quite original -- Pride and Prejudice meets murder, but there are some blatantly borrowed allusions to other more recent (20th century) works -- "Bridget Jones's Diary", "St. Elmo's Fire" and the 1976 film by Robert Moore, "Murder by Death" that can threaten the book's own originality. No doubt Kiely was influenced by these popular culture movies and books.

    I couldn't help but see Hugh Grant as Daniel Simms and Colin Firth as Peter McGowan. Thankfully, I did not picture Renee Zellweger as the wonderful and bright and clever heroine fact-checker turned fact-finder Elizabeth, nor did I envision Truman Capote at the end.

    Kiely's writing is very good - lyrical, swift and engaging. The clever banter between characters reminded me of some of the excellent script writing from NBC's "The West Wing." But technically, Murder at Longbourn's beginning is a little stiff -- after the first 30 or so pages it moves quickly and lightly enough -- and the early references to pivotal characters left me flipping back in my pages because I needed to keep track - I wanted more about them, something that would make them stick. The editing could be more thorough, as a particularly unpleasant character was described using the same word at least 3 times (if not 5) within the first third of the book, and a reference to long shadows during a time of day was meteorologically impossible. But if these are details that you don't pay attention to, you mightn't find it a distraction and you'll just hum right along, twirling a lock of hair between your fingers as you speculate about who did what to whom...

    Once things do start humming along (and it seems the editing cures itself about 100 pages into the book - did the editor finally drink that coffee?), it's the kind of book you probably won't want to put down, but if you did for a day or two, you will have no problem picking up where you left off and you'll be glad you did. Given that some babies these days are practically handed vampire books, parents need not worry about their 'tween daughters getting any promiscuity ideas from this delightful novel - it's perfectly suitable for a teenager to read (it's clean, save for a little blood from a murder) and fun. If anything, 'tweens will learn to think for themselves, pace their romantic intentions and ask plenty of questions!

    It will be fun to see where Kiely takes us next...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Lots of fun

    A wonderful fresh book reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery and modern day Jane Austen characters. A fabulous book for rainy days and book clubs.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Cozy Cape Cod Mystery with a Touch of Jane Austen

    Elizabeth Parker, Jane Austen aficionado, is making a New Year's resolution. She is determined to remove all "unhealthy" factors from her life: foods and sugars without nutritional value are a good start. And what about her worthless lover? It seems that Elizabeth needs to tear away from the predicament of life, so in an effort to effectively carry out this resolution, Elizabeth has decided to spend the New Year holiday at her Aunt Winnie's Cape Cod bed and breakfast. The situation proves an excellent means of escape for Elizabeth until a How to Host a Murder Dinner Party goes terribly awry and leaves the local affluent miser dead. Now it becomes Elizabeth's mission to clear her aunt's name of any suspicion and solve this bizarre murder case before it is too late. Will Elizabeth find a way of unraveling the mystery of this Murder at Longbourn?
    Murder at Longbourn is Tracy Kiely's first novel, a highly praised and clever cozy that will fascinate readers of murder mystery and draw in Austen fanatics with its subtle allusions to Pride and Prejudice, one of Austen's finest and most popular works. According to Romantic Times, "the biggest accomplishment of Kiely's debut novel is that it leaves the readers wanting more [...] Jane Austen fans will thoroughly enjoy this cerebral mystery."
    If you have a love of Austen's classic novels, then you will not be able to find a better contemporary piece of fiction this year, but even if your familiarity with the work of Austen is limited, you will still find a way of appreciating the mastery of Kiely's storytelling. Her intricate crafting of this novel, her first published work, is evidence of her natural talent as an author. "Tracy Kiely adds an engaging new voice to the mystery scene," writes Denise Swanson, a national bestselling murder mystery author. For the mystery fanatic in all of us, Tracy Kiely gives to us Murder at Longbourn, a witty tale of intrigue and intensity that will undoubtedly be well-received.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lizzy Bennet meets Miss Marple

    Singleton Elizabeth Parker has just dumped her two-timing boyfriend and accepted an invitation from her eccentric Aunt Winnie to help host a theatrical "Murder Mystery Party" on New Year's Eve at her new Cape Cod B&B, amusingly named The Inn at Longbourn in honor of Elizabeth and her aunt's affinity to all things Austen. When Elizabeth arrives and discovers that her aunt has employed her childhood nemesis Peter McGowan to help run the Inn, she is less than pleased at the prospect of meeting him again. Their awkward reunion reminds Elizabeth's of painful memories as an over-weight, buck toothed ten-year old tormented and locked in a basement with the spiders. Bruised ego throbbing, Elizabeth endeavors to subdue her anger and Bridget Jonesish self-depreciating insecurities by chanting aphorisms: "I will have inner poise. I will not let Peter McGowan get under my skin. I will not allow myself to be locked in a dark basement. I will have a calm and relaxing New Year's." Peter on the other hand, is just too broodingly arrogant to believe in inner reproach.

    The New Year's festivities are going well until the "Murder Mystery" party turns deadly, when one of the guests becomes a body in the library so to speak. The local police suspect everyone in attendance, and especially Elizabeth's aunt Winnie who has means, motive, and opportunity to do the deed. To clear her aunt as a prime suspect Elizabeth must become an amateur sleuth discovering clues and following leads to uncover the back story of the relationships of the guests. Odious Peter, the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed upon to ask for help turns out to be not such a shmuck after all, once Elizabeth moves beyond her prejudices and Peter his pride! Hmm? Sound familiar?

    In the tradition of the popular Stephanie Barron Jane Austen mystery series, Murder at Longbourn is a cleverly crafted mystery infused with endearing characterizations and a satisfying romance. Janeites will be thrilled with all of the Pride and Prejudice lore as they encounter references to shelves in the closet, a snooty cat named Lady Catherine, and a hero and heroine that mirror Austen's protagonists Lizzy and Darcy. Mystery novel lovers will be enthralled with the large cast of possible suspects, a minefield of clues, and the great red herrings thrown in to keep them guessing until the very end. Unfortunately, I did have a difficult time keeping track of the multiple characters introduced in the beginning of the book who soon fade away, and much to my disappointment as the pages progressed the story became more reminiscent of Agatha Christie than Jane Austen. Not to worry. These flaws are minor quibbles in comparison to its burgeoning charms.

    Laurel Ann, Austenprose

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Really enjoyed this book. I will read more of her books!

    Really enjoyed this book. I will read more of her books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2012

    The author should have entitled this book ¿Bridget Jones (the mo

    The author should have entitled this book “Bridget Jones (the movie) meets a Murder Mystery.” While Ms. Kiely managed to work more than several famous lines of dialogue from Austen’s novels into her character’s conversations, she misses the boat when it comes to actually using Pride and Prejudice (the book) as a basis for her entertaining mystery. She relies too much on The Diary of Bridget Jones and not enough on Pride and Prejudice itself. A best friend named Bridget? Her boyfriend named Colin? A conflict stemming from their early years as neighbors? An ex-boyfriend named Mark?
    The main character is, of course, named Elizabeth. Any resemblance of Kiely’s Elizabeth and Austen’s Elizabeth ends there. This Elizabeth lacks the acerbic wit that we find in Austen’s Elizabeth. Kiely’s hero, named Peter, comes across as a, sort of bumbling guy who lurks in the background and manages to come to the rescue of Elizabeth on more than one occasion. Both characters are so indefinitely drawn that it is hard to discern any resemblance to the two main characters in Pride and Prejudice. Her characterization of Mr. Collins, however, is spot on.
    All of this aside, this is an entertaining mystery with a well thought out plot. It is a good read for those who like light cozies but if you are looking for a novel based upon the real Pride and Prejudice and not a movie loosely based on the same, you will be mildly disappointed.

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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I have become an Elizabeth Parker and Tracy Kiely fan!

    I was on pins and needles wanting to know the killer!! I am usually really good at guessing who is going to 'have their bucket kicked', but with this book, I just couldn't put a finger on it. The one who was 'bucket kicked' was one of my choices, I just didn't really figure out how. I was so flabbergasted as to who the 'bucket kicker' was! Not during the whole book would I have guessed. The one that I thought would wind up being the killer....nada! I won't give this 'didn't see it coming' end, but I was really impressed by the fact that during the whole book, I never even got a hint as to the plot twist. I am glad that Liz wound up with who she did, and I think that her roomates description was a blast. I loved the whole story and outcome. The characters were genuine and Tracy Kiely, is an author whose books I will definetely read more of! My kudos to Tracy Kiely for a great book! TuRtLe

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    I really enjoyed this book. It had all of the ingredients of an

    I really enjoyed this book. It had all of the ingredients of an Agatha Christie-style cozy mystery. The classic murder mystery dinner - takes place at a Bed & Breakfast on Cape Cod on New Years Eve. The plot was clever and the characters were interesting. There were plenty of suspects-- each with a motive. The story moved right along. I loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Peter. Elizabeth's aunt was quirky and enjoyable. There were a few humorous lines. I loved the movie Pride & Prejudice but I was afraid the author might have too many hokey references.... but she didn't. She had just enough for Jane Austen fans but not enough to make it hokey. I was kept guessing until the end. Don't let the dull cover fool you. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next in this series.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Agatha Christie Type Mystery

    This is a fun read. A play where guests of an inn solve a mysterty ends up with someone actually being murdered, and the niece of the inn owner sets out to clear her aunt of all suspicion. The author is very clever in dropping in Austen quotes at just the right moment. My only criticism is the ending is a stretch, but it really doesn't matter because the story is a pleasure.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a fascinating entertaining cozy

    In DC, newspaper fact checker, Elizabeth Parker fears another New Year's Eve alone. Still she makes resolutions to give up fat especially her cheating boyfriend. She heads up to the Cape to spend the holiday at her great-Aunt Winnie's bed-and-breakfast the Inn at Longbourn.

    At the B&B is Winnie's childhood enemy Peter McGowan who seems a lot more attractive as an adult than he was a pest. Other guests are also attending as Winnie's mystery gala holiday weekend is expected to be fun. That is until someone is actually murdered and Winnie is the prime suspect turning Elizabeth Parker into Nancy Drew, adult amateur sleuth playing Clue with a horde of suspects.

    Although the story line is thin and goes exactly the way the audience will expect, MURDER AT LONGBOURN is a fascinating entertaining cozy due to aunt and niece tossing all sorts of Jane Austin quotes into the fray. Elizbath is terrific as the lead protagonist with her referring to Pride and Prejudice as a guide while seeking clues; she needs to join the Jane Austen Book Club (movie and Karen Joy Fowler's novel). Her great aunt brings New England eccentricity into the mix while the guests are suspects as far as her niece is concerned. Tracy Kiely provides a fun tale of sleuthing, Austen style.

    Harriet Klausner

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