Finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award
After the death of Elizabeth Parker's great-uncle Martin Reynolds, the family's house in the picturesque Maryland town of St. Michaels is sold. When the new owners dig up the pool, they find the body of the man thought to have run off eight years earlier after embezzling over a million dollars from the family business.
This grisly discovery not only unearths old questions about what really happened to the stolen money, but it brings Detective Joe Muldoon back into the family's lives. Eight years ago Elizabeth's cousin Ann reluctantly broke off her relationship with Joe due to family pressure. Ann always regretted that decision and now fears that it is too late for her and Joe-especially after she becomes the main suspect.
In this clever and entertaining mystery, rich with echoes of Jane Austen's Persuasion, Elizabeth tries to match wits against a killer who's had an eight-year head start as she also tries her hand at matchmaking. Mystery lovers are in for a treat.
About the Author
Tracy Kiely, a Mary Higgins Clark Award finalist, is a self-proclaimed Anglophile who grew up reading Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. She lives with her husband and three children in Severna Park, Maryland.
Read an Excerpt
Unfortunately … there are so many who forget to think seriously till it is almost too late.
MARTIN REYNOLDS’S DEATH came as a surprise to no one. No one, that is, except his wife, Bonnie. It was the final and most telling example of the total lack of communication that existed in their marriage. The fact that the cancer he’d battled for years proved more than his weakened seventy-seven-year-old body could handle somehow managed to escape Bonnie entirely. But to be fair, most things escaped Bonnie entirely.
“My poor, poor Marty!” Bonnie now murmured with a mournful shake of her blond head. “How could this have happened?” No one responded. The funeral services had been held at ten in the morning, after which the family had escorted Martin’s remains to Arlington Cemetery where, as a former naval officer, he was granted a burial spot. It was now one in the afternoon. By my modest count, Bonnie had uttered this same question some eighty-seven times since the day began. After about the sixty-fifth utterance, most of the family had stopped trying to console her, as our words of sympathy fell on deaf ears. By the seventy-second time, even the nicest among us had fallen silent. Now, unfortunately, her rhetorical murmurings were prompting unabashed eye rolling from the more callous attendees.
“Stop that!” I hissed at my aunt Winnie, whose orbs now seemed in danger of disappearing completely into her skull.
“Oh, please,” she retorted with a toss of her head. The small movement sent her bright red curls quivering. “This is nothing more than standard Bonnie drama.”
She was right, of course, and as Martin’s younger sister, Aunt Winnie had had a front-row seat for several of Bonnie’s performances over the years. “Besides,” Aunt Winnie continued, “you know how I hate artifice of any kind.”
I rolled my own eyes at this and glanced meaningfully at Aunt Winnie’s trademark curls, which, if anything, had only grown redder during her seventy-odd years. Curving her equally red lips into a warning smile, Aunt Winnie murmured, “Don’t be a smart-ass, Elizabeth.”
“Me? Perish the thought. I didn’t say a word.”
“No. But you were thinking it.”
“Careful,” she said meaningfully, “or I’ll tell your mother.”
“Tell her what?” I inquired after a moment’s pause.
Aunt Winnie opened her green eyes very wide and leaned in close. “Do you really need me to catalog all the dirt I have on you?” she asked good-naturedly.
Aunt Winnie is my great-aunt on my mother’s side. More important, she has been my confidante ever since I was twelve years old and she bagged me trying to stuff my pathetically empty bra with toilet paper. I’m now twenty-eight. While I no longer stuff my bra—more due to a resignation to certain facts than because of any major developments in that area—Aunt Winnie still has enough dirt on me to start a landfill. I sat back in my chair, an exaggeratedly polite expression on my face. “Blackmailer,” I hissed.
She gave a firm nod of her head. “Damn skippy.”
Seated opposite me, my mother kicked my leg under the table while sending me a reproachful look across it. Next to her, my older sister, Kit, eyed me with the slightly superior expression she generally adopts whenever she perceives that I have stepped out of line. While I’ve never actually caught her, I suspect she practices it in the mirror. Not that she needs much practicing. Kit has those angelic features that lend themselves perfectly to holier-than-thou looks. She inherited my mom’s straight blond hair. I had ended up with my dad’s curly brown hair, which looks just fine cut short and close to the head; grow it shoulder length and that’s a whole other story. Add to that large blue eyes, perpetually clear skin, and a smirking mouth, and Kit looks like a smug Botticelli angel. I, on the other hand, have green eyes and freckles. Throw in the aforementioned chest issue and I’m more likely to be compared to Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man.
While I restrained myself from sneering at Kit, Aunt Winnie sent me a sly wink before demurely ducking her bright red head into a position of quiet respect.
Forcing myself not to roll my own eyes, I focused my attention on Bonnie just in time to hear her murmur again, “Poor, poor Marty! I just don’t see how this could have happened!”
Bonnie was Martin’s second wife. His first wife, Rose, died some twenty-five years earlier, leaving Martin in the unenviable position of sole parent to three young daughters. Although a savvy businessman who had built a family construction company into a national business, Martin was no match for the demands of parenthood and he knew it. Using the same cool determination he employed to build his multimillion-dollar business, he set out to remedy the situation the only way he knew how—by remarrying. Of course it helped that he was both very rich and very handsome. Within two years, Bonnie McClay, a naïve thirty-five-year-old secretary employed in the head office, was tapped for the role. It was one of only a handful of times where Martin’s legendary acumen failed him, as Bonnie was even more helpless about children than Martin. Within three months, the children had dubbed their stepmother “McClueless” and commenced an unspoken war of resistance against her. Looking around me now, it appeared that the war still raged today.
We were sitting at a long table in the Hotel Washington’s elegant Sky Terrace restaurant. Located on the hotel’s rooftop, it afforded a spectacular view of Washington, D.C. The first strokes of autumn’s vibrant hand were apparent in the nation’s capital and the city was awash in color. A mosaic of purple, yellow, and red foliage reflected in the rippling waters of the Tidal Basin. Flora in riotous golden hues bloomed along the perfectly groomed grounds of the monuments. The monuments themselves stood tall and proud, the timeless lines of their crisp, white façades majestic against the clear indigo sky.
As glorious as the view was, it couldn’t hold a candle to the scene that was playing out around me. Clutching a lacy black handkerchief and gently dabbing it to her teary sapphire eyes, Bonnie sat like a Victorian queen in mourning. Swathed from head to toe in black, her outfit was faintly reminiscent of Scarlett O’Hara’s garb in Gone with the Wind, the one she wears after her first husband, Charles, dies. In fact, I thought, as I peered closer at the dark, flowing dress, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were an updated copy. Given Bonnie’s flair for the dramatic, as well as her love of Margaret Mitchell’s epic classic, it would be entirely within her dingbat character. (Bonnie was not only named for Scarlett’s daughter, Bonnie Blue, but also had an annoying tendency to quote Scarlett’s lines from both the book and the movie. A lot.)
Now, while I’ve been known to quote my fair share of Jane Austen, I maintain that it is an entirely different habit. Muttering “Capital! Capital!” is one thing. Randomly calling out “Fiddle-dee-dee!” is quite another.
At Bonnie’s insistence, Uncle Marty’s burial flag had accompanied us to the restaurant. Tightly clutching the flag to her chest, Bonnie had advanced on the poor hostess and mournfully (and rather loudly) announced, “My husband is dead. May I have some lunch?” Hostesses in D.C., especially those in such close proximity to the Capitol, have seen their fair share of the odd and have as such developed a certain immunity to it. However, based on the way ours took a sudden step back and seemed incapable of speech, I think Bonnie managed to penetrate that professional façade.
The flag now sat propped up in a chair next to hers. Not just any chair, mind you, but the chair at the head of the table. From time to time, Bonnie would glance at the flag and then quickly press the hankie to her quivering mouth. Like now.
Next to her, Frances, who at age thirty-five is the second eldest of Bonnie’s stepchildren, gave a loud sigh of exasperation. Frances is something of the family expert on sighs of exasperation. Over the years, she’s cultivated it into its present deep, melancholy, breathy sound. Hearing it, a stranger might legitimately expect to find that it originated from a kind of modern-day Marilyn Monroe rather than a dowdy plump woman with a penchant for tweed.
“Bonnie,” Frances said, running her fingers through her short nut-brown hair, “Father had been ill for years. His passing is a blessing, really. He’s in a better place now.”
Bonnie lowered her black hankie and peered in astonishment at Frances. “A better place?” she echoed, her chin wobbling. “A better place? How can you say that?” With an accusatory gesture at the flag, she added, “He’s in a coffin!”
Frances blanched at this blunt, although apt, description of her father’s whereabouts. Pursing her lips and studiously not looking at the flag, she tried again. “What I meant is that he’s no longer in pain. He’s at peace.” Frances’s voice held the steely intonation that adults often use with petulant children, not that I ever heard Frances use it on her own kids. Steely intonations have no effect on Frances’s twin boys. Referred to by the rest of the family as Thing One and Thing Two, they respond only to threats and bribes. It is only a matter of time before stun guns are employed.
Bonnie gave a loud sniff and raised the hankie back up to her eyes. “Well, he may be at peace, but I’m certainly not,” she moaned from behind the black veil.
Frances threw up her hands in defeat and looked beseechingly around the table at the rest of us. Her gaze settled on her younger sister, Ann. Catching her sister’s eye, she jerked her head toward Bonnie’s slumped form and hissed, “Do something!”
“Like what?” came Ann’s frustrated reply.
Hearing the exchange, Bonnie peeked up again from her soggy hankie. “Annabel, were you saying something?”
Ann (aka Annabel) is the youngest of the Reynolds siblings. In my opinion, she couldn’t look more unlike her name. To me, the name Annabel conjures up an image of a curvy figure with masses of wavy, golden hair and a coy smile. Ann is none of those things. She’s trim, with short auburn hair and a direct, intelligent gaze. Ann obviously felt the same about her given name and long ago opted to shorten it to Ann. It was far more suitable, and in fact, no one ever called her anything but that.
No one, that is, except Bonnie. At the sound of her given name, Ann winced slightly, the faint lines of exhaustion around her large hazel eyes making her look older than her thirty years.
“Bonnie,” Ann said, shifting her body to face her stepmother, “I know this is a hard time for you. It’s hard for all of us. But we need to be strong. Father would want us to celebrate his life rather than cry at his passing.”
A watery blue eye peered over the hankie. “Celebrate?” Bonnie asked.
“Yes.” Ann nodded. “We should concentrate on all the good times.”
I applauded Ann’s efforts, but the sad fact was that Martin Reynolds had been a dyed-in-the-wool workaholic. If we were to celebrate all his good times, we would either have to hold the party in his opulent board room or down at the bank. However, the idea appealed to Bonnie and she cautiously lowered the hankie.
“Do you really think Martin would want that?” she asked dubiously, glancing at the flag as if for confirmation.
No doubt glad that the hankie had finally been cast aside, Ann nodded her head. Across the table, Frances added, “I’m sure of it.”
“What do you think, Reggie?” Bonnie asked, turning to her oldest stepdaughter.
Regina “Reggie” Ames, née Marshall, née Stewart, née Reynolds, lowered her martini glass and studied her stepmother with undisguised scorn. At thirty-seven, Reggie ran one of D.C.’s more popular wedding planner services, services that she herself has used quite frequently. She’s now, as she puts it, unaffiliated with a husband—hers or anyone else’s. But by no means is she through with the institution. Reggie attracts men the way butter pecan ice cream attracts me. She’s one of those women who are better-looking today than they were at twenty-one—and at twenty-one she was gorgeous. She’s slim, toned, and still has all the right curves. Some of my closest friends still refuse to believe we’re related. In fact, if we weren’t related, I’d probably hate her. If I’m completely honest with myself, there likely would be a voodoo doll involved.
“What do I think about what?” Reggie asked.
“About having a party for your father,” Bonnie replied.
“Bit late for that, isn’t it?” Reggie murmured, before raising her glass to take a sip.
“Reggie!” hissed Frances.
“What did you say?” asked Bonnie, leaning closer. “I didn’t hear.”
“I said I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Reggie said, setting down her glass. Pushing a lock of her glossy black hair behind one ear, she said, “Let me know what I can do. I’d love to help.”
Bonnie leaned back in her chair, a faint line forming between her brows. “I don’t know. I’d hate to appear insensitive.” Reaching out to the flag, she lightly stroked its stars and stripes, before continuing. “Annabel, you’re always so sensible. Do you really think we should have a party?”
From the way Ann blinked several times before answering, it was clear that she was a bit perplexed that her suggestion that her father’s life be celebrated had been taken seriously. Nevertheless she said, “I think a party honoring Dad would be lovely.”
Bonnie considered this before announcing with a teary smile, “Then it’s settled. I’ll start planning it as soon as I get back.”
“Get back?” asked Frances, an edge in her voice. “Get back from where?”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” asked Bonnie, her blue eyes round. “I was sure that I did. I’m going on a spa retreat, out to a place in Arizona. The horrible suddenness of poor Martin’s death has been so stressful for me. I need to find my center. I need to unwind.”
“What exactly does she call what she does now?” Aunt Winnie muttered to me.
It might not be the most diplomatic question, but it was a fair one. Much of Bonnie’s day was spent either shopping or lunching. It was hard to see how such a schedule would require unwinding.
Frances shot her husband, Scott, an anxious look. His round face mirrored his wife’s concern. Rubbing his large hand across his chin, he leaned across the table, his posture reminiscent of an arm wrestler—an arm wrestler wearing an expensively tailored gray suit. However, despite its obvious excellent quality and fit, it still looked all wrong on him. Scott Phillips was one of those men who are more at ease in jeans and a T-shirt. Although he’d been tapped to take over Uncle Marty’s business years ago and had shown great promise in continuing the company’s success, he’d never gotten used to having to wear the suit.
“When are you leaving, Bonnie?” he asked.
“Tomorrow. I’ll be gone just a week.”
Scott coughed. It was not the cough of someone with a cold. It was the cough of someone with a problem. “Bonnie, I know this isn’t the best time,” he said, with an uneasy glance at the rest of us, “but there’s that matter I discussed with you earlier.”
Seeing the perplexed expression on Bonnie’s face, he continued, “The property in St. Michaels? We need to discuss the proceeds of the sale of the house.”
“Oh, fiddle-dee-dee, not that again,” said Bonnie, with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“Yes, that again,” said Scott through gritted teeth. “I realize this is a difficult time, but it’s best we get this sorted out as soon as possible.”
“I understand that,” she replied. “And I fully intend to do just that. When I get back.”
Bonnie interrupted. “But nothing! I need to get away. I realize that everything’s in a jumble right now, but it’s not as if we can’t sort it out when I get back. I know you think the proceeds are to be split among the three of you, but I don’t agree that that was what Martin wanted. I’m sure he meant for me to have a fourth. However, we can discuss it when I get back.”
“But—” Scott continued.
Again, Bonnie interrupted him. “But nothing!” she said, her voice becoming petulant. Over the years, I’ve seen only two sides to Bonnie’s personality—flaky and petulant. She was a spoiled child in a woman’s body. “We’ll deal with it when I get back,” she said. “But I have to say, I don’t think the proceeds on the house are the problem.”
“What do you mean?” asked Scott.
Bonnie placed both of her hands on the table and leaned forward. Lowering her voice, she glanced furtively at the flag before continuing. “What I mean is that I can’t shake this feeling that poor Martin’s death was … well, as God as my witness, it was wrong.”
“What do you mean, ‘wrong’?” Reggie asked, hastily setting down her empty martini glass.
“I mean murder,” came the breathless response. Pressing her hand to her chest, she moaned, “Oh, my poor, poor Marty!”
Bonnie’s oft-repeated sentiment of the day was again met with silence. But this time, we weren’t ignoring her. Based on the horrified expressions around me, I suspected that for the first time today, Bonnie held everyone’s complete attention.
Copyright © 2011 by Tracy Kiely
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought this would be Austen's "Persuasion" with a modern spin on it, but the author didn't exactly stay true to Austen. While that may make it more appealing to some, I wasn't crazy about it. To each her own, I suppose!
I recieved this as an Early Reviewer. It is mostly a modern twist on Jane Austen's Persuasion. Not being a fan of that book I liked that this one did veer off on it's own.Elizabeth Parker is the Austen loving neice of the recently deceased Martin Reynolds. Martin's death isn't the problem. It's the body that comes to light under his swimming pool when the home's new owners remodel. That body turns out to be the missing fiance of Reggie, one of Martin's daughters. The detective turns out to be the former fiance of Martin's other daughter Ann. Elizabeth has time on her hands due to lack of work so she involves herself in the investigation, makes lots of snarky comments & does some matchmaking.It is an entertaining book overall.
I received Murder Most Persuasive in a drawing here on Library Thing. This was an Advance Uncorrected Proof copy. This book will be available for purchase Aug. 30, 2011 This is the first book that I have read by Tracy Kiely. The book resolves around an extended family in Maryland. Just after burying the head of the family it is discovered that at a house once owned by them was the body of an ex fiancé of one of the daughters. Ms. Kiely has done a very good job of keeping the story going forward yet bringing in background of the family. In the course of the telling it appears to me that there are scenes that could very well become two more books in this series. I will definitely be getting and reading the first two books.
Good mystery based on my favorite Austen novel- Persuasion. Elizabeth Parker is at her uncle's funeral when she gets involved in a murder case. Her cousin Ann is suspected in the murder of her sister Reggie's ex fiance. Said fiance allegedly disappeared with millions of the family's money eight years before.. When he turns up under the pool in their summer home, the family secrets start to unravel. I enjoyed the loopy ,widowed ,stepmother and the dysfunctional cousins. I would have liked to see more of a story development between Ann and Det. Muldoon, her one time love. Elizabeth's beau ,Peter ,was worked into the story ,as well as her Aunt Winnie, both of whom try to keep Elizabeth away from the murder investigation to no avail. The conclusion is believable. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Shortly after the death of Elizabeth's great-uncle, the new owners decide to enlarge the pool and in the process uncover a body. This brings Detective Joe Muldoon back into the lives of the family. The body is that of Reggie's former boyfriend who is thought to have embezzled a large sum of money from her father's company. One of the officers on the case believes that Ann may have done it because he had tried to rape her, and she had pushed him away earlier. Joe, who had loved Ann, does not believe she is capable of doing it, but since the other officer knows of his personal involvement, he can't do much to sway opinion. Elizabeth believes she must clear her cousin's name from suspicion. This novel was too "chatty" for my tastes. The author relied too much on conversation to move the narrative. There is humor built into the story which many readers will like. There are plenty of red herrings to distract readers from settling on a single suspect too early in the plot. Some of the family members are interesting, but others are annoying. As Persuasion is the only Jane Austen novel I haven't yet read, I am certain that I did not pick up on the similarities between the novels, even though I had a friend give me the gist of the plot after reading about 50 pages. Hopefully, I will remember this novel well enough that I will see the similarities when I read Austen's final novel later this year. This review is based on an advance uncorrected proof provided through the publisher via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.
A funeral, a murder and a Jane Austen theme! Uncle Marty is dead but a body is discovered under his old pool, which had to be put there eight years earlier. Which lead Elizabeth to ask- who commited the murder and why?Marty's daughter Ann is staying at the house, getting the will in order while her step mother is away at a spa following her husband's funeral. The identity of the dead body is not a stranger to the family, everyone believed he embezzeled money from the family and ran off- but it does not appear to be the case! Cousin Elizabeth has stumbled into murder investigations in the past and thinks she can help solve the mystery.I liked 'Muder Most Persuasive' more than I thought I would! I was skeptical that the author would be able to use JA's Persuasion without over doing it and making it feel forced but Tracy Kiely found a perfect balance. It was a fun whodunit with a touch of Austen- I devoured the book and enjoyed every minute!
Eight years ago, the world of the Reynolds family was rocked when Michael Barrows, the fiancé of Regina Reynolds, disappeared after embezzling over a million dollars from the family business. Now Martin Reynolds has died and when a house he owned is sold, the body of Michael Barrows is found buried underneath a pool. The discovery of Barrows¿ body raises all kinds of questions (who killed him and did he really embezzle the money); brings up long buried family secrets; and brings Detective Joe Muldoon back into Ann Reynolds¿ life. Things will never be the same for the Reynolds family.¿Murder Most Persuasive¿ is a nicely done cozy mystery. Author Tracy Kiely has created a wonderful novel filled with great characters, a good murder mystery, and a tribute to Jane Austen (notably her novel ¿Persuasion¿). What really makes this book shine is the characters and the family dynamics involved. Although the book is set in current day Maryland, in many ways it feels like an old-fashioned English drawing room mystery (think Agatha Christie in the year 2011). All of the characters are interesting from Elizabeth (the amateur detective) to her cousins Ann and the much married Reggie, the outspoken Aunt Winnie, and Marty¿s widow Bonnie (who has a penchant for quoting from ¿Gone with the Wind¿). Elizabeth¿s sometimes thorny relationship with her sister Kit is very believable and one of the best parts of the book. The Jane Austen touches throughout the book are nicely done ¿ from the echoes of ¿Persuasion¿ in the Ann/Joe storyline to the quotes from her books at the start of each chapter, and, (although I¿m not overly fond of it) characters quoting from Austen¿s books. The mystery itself is well plotted with more than a few surprises ¿ the part where the killer is caught is a bit contrived and doesn¿t quite work if you think too much about it, but that¿s a minor flaw in an otherwise delightful novel.¿Murder Most Persuasive¿ is a nicely done mystery and I look forward to reading more of Tracy Kiely¿s books.
I got this through Early Reviewers. I really enjoyed this book. If you are familiar with the story of Persuasion by Jane Austen, then you can anticipate where part of the plot is going to run. The revelation of the murderer caught me completely off guard. I also loved the quotes from the various Jane Austen books at the beginning of each chapter. I thought it was a very enjoyable book, and I think it would have a very wide audience, not just Jane Austen fans.
Martin Reynolds sold his vacation home in Maryland shortly before he died, with the proceeds to be divided between his three children. When the new owners begin renovations, they find a body buried underneath the pool, which turns out have been the former fiancé of Martin's daughter Reggie. Michael Barrow had disappeared the day after Reggie broke off their engagement, along with a million dollars from the Reynold's family business, where he worked. It was assumed that he'd absconded with the money upon realizing that he'd no longer have a job.The book is written from the point of view of Elizabeth Parker, Martin's niece. Elizabeth is very, very fond of Jane Austen. She and her Aunt Winnie (Martin's sister) are given to inserting quotes from the Austen oeuvre into their daily conversation. Elizabeth also has a reputation in the family as a detective, having "assisted" the police on two earlier murder investigations involving the family.The detective assigned to the case is Joe Muldoon, who happened to be involved with Martin's other daughter Ann, years earlier. Their relationship was quashed by Ann's aunt Laura, who thought that Joe wasn't good enough for her niece.This nod to Austen's Persuasion, which one might expect to be awkward or heavy-handed, is actually quite seamless and slips into the plot quite comfortably. Also, the idea of a young woman being discouraged from marrying a man she loves because of his "prospects" is not at all far-fetched in conjunction with a high-society family from the East Coast.Like Austen, Kiely is snarkily funny. Her Elizabeth is underemployed and has little on which to use her intellect and wit, and so interferes in police investigations and mocks whenever she can. This reviewer will definitely be searching for the previous titles in this series!*Many thanks to Library Thing's Early Reviewers program for the Advance Reading Copy.
Elizabeth Parker is staying with her pregnant sister while work is being done on her apartment and her boyfriend is out of town. Sisters can rub each other the wrong way so when Elizabeth has a chance to escape to visit with her cousin who just lost her father, she grabs it and gets involved in mishaps that weave around her cousin's family and a missing former fiancé.This book is the third in a series but my first exposure to the characters and author. They were amusing and entertaining so think I will have to locate the first two and catch up.
This fun whodunit centers around the crime solving adventures of Elizabeth Parker, an amateur sleuth and Jane Austen fan. After Elizabeth's uncle dies, a body is discovered underneath the swimming pool of the recently sold family home. The family is shocked to learn that the body is none other than Cousin Reggie's former husband-to-be, who disappeared eight years earlier under suspicion of embezzlement.Soon Elizabeth settles in to help her Cousin Ann get Uncle Marty's affairs in order. The intrigue heats up when Ann's former boyfriend, Detective Muldoon, shows up to investigate the case. Unfortunately, it seems that just about everyone is a suspect. Although Elizabeth's aunt and boyfriend try to discourage her from getting involved in another mystery, Elizabeth has no choice but to help when her sister, Kit, catches the crime solving bug."Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery" includes an entertaining cast of characters. The action is lively, and there's a little for everyone: sibling rivalry, romance, family secrets, and, of course, murder.The Bottom Line: This is the third book featuring amateur sleuth Elizabeth Parker, who tells the story in a chatty style. Parker is an avid fan of Jane Austen, and the story is peppered with many references to Austen's works, especially "Persuasion." This was the first book in the series that I have read, and I look forward to reading more. I enjoyed the family dynamics of this clever and witty mystery. "Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery" is lots of fun; it's a great weekend read. Highly recommended for fans of cozy mysteries. Fans of Jane Austen may also want to check out this series.
I was skeptical when I picked up this book. It¿s advertised as a cozy murder mystery in the style of Jane Austen¿s Persuasion. I love Jane Austen, but imitations of her work sometimes fall flat for me. Well, this book was a pleasant surprise. Elizabeth Parker is a modern day woman who loves to quote Jane Austen in every situation. She¿s also notorious for trying to solve mysteries¿any mysteries that cross her path. A body is found under a swimming pool ¿ a pool that used to belong to her great uncle. Her family is suspected, and Elizabeth rushes to defend her loved ones.There¿s also a huge case of sibling rivalry, and an old romance rekindled when Detective Joe Muldoon shows up to investigate the body.Those who are familiar with Persuasion will find the romance in this book rather predictable, but the mystery element was new, and kept me guessing. This isn¿t ¿great literature¿, but it was a charming book and a great comfort read.This book is third in a series, I believe, but I felt it stood on its own quite well. Recommended for those who like cozy mysteries, comfort reads, and Jane Austen.
This is a great mystery! I enjoy all the characters, the storyline and it all goes at a great pace. I highly recommend this series for all cozy mystery readers! I am looking forward to the next in the series!
It took a few books to work out the bugs, but in this 3rd outing of Elizabeth Parker, it feels like Kiely has found her voice. This is tight, well written, well paced, and the characters are more believable. Elizabeth's older sister Kit is the epitome of an annoying older sister.(in my case it's a cousin) The Catholic school references are spot on. The internal dialogue is good and fun. The murderer was a surprise this time, so I think her plotting is getting stronger. The romance subplot between Ann and Joe was sweet. All in all a good effort.
Book 3 was even better than the first 2!!!!! I hope in the next book she finally gets married!!!
This is the third book in Ms. Kiley's series of mysteries loosely based on Jane Austen books. Persusaion is my favorite of Austen's books so I was happy to see this book come out. Elizabeth Parker goes to the funeral of her uncle and gets caught up in another murder. After the funeral, the widow decides to have a celebration which ruffles the feathers of the deceased's children. In the midst of planning the event, a body is discovered at the family summer home. It turns out to be Michael, the ex fiance of Elizabeth's cousin Reggie. Ten years earlier, Michael and Reggie had an acrimonious split and he supposedly took off with millions of the family business' assets. The detective who comes to investigate is the long aso love of Ann, Elizabeth's other cousin. Mayhem abounds. more people die and the murderer is finally revealed. This book was not as strong as the previous two but it was still enjoyable. The family dysfunction was portrayed well and rang true. The shades of Persuasion were there in the rekindling of the romance between Ann and her detective Joe Muldoon. The interfering but well meaning family friend was sympathetically portrayed and the flighty sister and her ill mannered children were in the story as well. I liked that Elizabeth's boyfriend and aunt were not happy about her getting involved in another murder. In so many of these type of books, the amateur detective goes on their merry way into dangerous situations and their family is all supportive. I thought the family intereactions were realistic and the characters remained true to form throughout. I even felt bad for the killer on some level. I look forward to the next book in the series.