Thoroughly 'light and bright and sparkling,' in the best Austen tradition with a dollop of murder and mayhem to leaven the whole. A delight.” Stephanie Barron, author of the Jane Austen Mystery series
“Well crafted …Bebris works her own brand of Austen magic, whetting the reader's appetite for a sequel…Taking a lighter approach than Stephanie Barron's sleuthing Jane Austen series this one should appeal as much to Regency readers as to Austenites.” Publishers Weekly
“Mannered prose, Regency backdrops, moody country houses, and delightful characterization place this new series high on the to-buy list.” Library Journal
The Barnes & Noble Review
The alternate title of this book is A Truth Universally Acknowledged, and truth is certainly the goal in this first foray into detection featuring the continuing adventures of Jane Austen's beloved fictional characters from Pride and Prejudice. As Miss Elizabeth Bennet begins her married life with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, she's delighted to share her special day with her beloved sister, Jane (who, after all, is marrying Mr. Darcy's good friend Charles Bingley). The only shadow on the happy occasion comes when Charles's sister, Caroline, chooses to use the Bennet sisters' wedding breakfast as the forum to announce her own forthcoming nuptials. The groom-to-be is Mr. Frederick Parrish, an engaging, handsome, and wealthy American. Though Caroline's brief engagement is perfectly blissful, from the first her marriage seems haunted by mischance. A disturbing episode of somnambulism (witnessed by the Darcys) is followed by a riding mishap. Then Caroline is found seriously injured…in what the authorities believe to have been an attempt to take her own life. As inexplicable ill fortune spreads to others in the Bingley family, their friends Mr. and Mrs. Darcy begin to suspect foul play. And, taking investigative matters firmly in hand, they persevere amid unearthly seeming perils and ever increasing danger. In her debut novel, Carrie A. Bebris enlivens the stately elegance and erudition of Austen's Regency England with a generous helping of gothic horrors and dastardly plots. Sue Stone
In her well-crafted mystery debut, fantasy author Bebris (Pool of Radiance, etc.) picks up the action where Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice left off-on the wedding day of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, who marry in a double ceremony with Elizabeth's older sister Jane and Charles Bingley. The Bennett brides are soon upstaged by Bingley's sister, Caroline, who announces her engagement to a Louisiana planter. Caroline's imminent nuptials mean the Darcys must remain in London, where an evening party leads to a meeting with an archeology professor who specializes in the indigenous culture of North America. Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Darcy later travel to Netherfield, as does the professor, who brings along some "curiosities" he's collected that he credits with unusual powers. A series of improbable events ensues, leaving one murdered house guest and two sedated hosts. Can the American artifacts hold the key to the bizarre occurrences? When an unexpected blizzard cuts the house off from the rest of the neighborhood, it's up to Mr. and Mrs. Darcy to unmask the killer and restore everyone's peace of mind. Despite an anachronism or two (e.g., summoning a constable rather than the local magistrate), the author provides convincing portraits of life in London and at Netherfield. With a touch of sorcery and lots of red herrings, Bebris works her own brand of Austen magic, whetting the reader's appetite for a sequel. (Feb. 10) Forecast: Taking a lighter approach than Stephanie Barron's sleuthing Jane Austen series (Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, etc.), this one should appeal as much to Regency readers as to Austenites. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this engaging novel, Bebris continues the story of Pride and Prejudice while employing elements of Jane Austen's Regency novels, gothic and occult, and English country house mystery. The story involves three newlywed couples: Elizabeth (Bennet) and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jane (Bennet) and Charles Bingley, and Caroline (Bingley) and Frederick Parrish. Parrish is the patron of an American archaeology professor who specializes in supernatural objects. The Darcys view some of these objects at the British Museum, where Elizabeth accepts the possibility of unexplainable forces whereas Darcy bases his judgments entirely on rationality. Their reactions establish their sleuthing styles and their responses to some bizarre incidents that include a disoriented Caroline wandering seedy London streets after midnight, her apparent suicide attempt, and a house fire she might have set. Parrish reluctantly concludes that her instability may lead to institutionalization. All three couples wind up trapped by a snowstorm at the Bingleys' estate, along with the Kendalls (Parrish's former fiancee and her vindictive father), the archaeologist, and another Bingley sister and her lazy, alcoholic husband. The Darcys, fueled by curiosity and the desire to help their friends, investigate the events, including the murder of Mr. Kendall. This detective team solves the mystery by combining their logical and intuitive approaches. Bebris's smooth style is evocative of Austen, with many dry witticisms, but a shifting point of view is a bit jolting at times. The mystery escalates and complicates, featuring attempts to establish facts, motives, and alibis. The subtitle implies that there will be more. This reviewer hopes so.VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Forge, 320p., Ages 12 to Adult.
Florence H. Munat
Historical mystery fans probably know Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series. Here, Bebris, a longtime member of the Jane Austen Society, remakes an Austen heroine into a sleuth. The newly married Elizabeth Bennett Darcy becomes involved in the misfortunes of her former rival, haughty Caroline Bingley. Caroline marries a rich American and then apparently falls prey to incipient madness. The Darcys grow increasingly concerned when Elizabeth's brother-in-law, Charles Bingley, is the victim of a carriage accident. Tales of a cursed land, a vengeful ex-partner, and an archaeologist interested in "magical" artifacts complicate events. Mannered prose, Regency backdrops, moody country houses, and delightful characterization place this new series high on the to-buy list. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Will Jane Austen's happily newlywed Mr. Darcy ever install his bride as Pemberley's new mistress? Not until the couple solve a disturbing mystery surrounding a wedding guest. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are married in a double ceremony including Elizabeth's sister Jane and Charles Bingley, Darcy's best friend. All goes well except for Jane's new sister-in-law, the insufferable Caroline, who grabs the spotlight to announce her engagement to Frederick Parrish, a wealthy, charming American. The Darcys, lingering in London to attend the hastily arranged Parrish wedding, prolong their stay when something goes very wrong with Caroline. While wandering unaccountably through a dangerous part of the city, they rescue her, but soon thereafter she's found with her wrists slashed. Why would such a selfish, shallow woman kill herself before she had a chance to parade her new husband and wealth? Darcy discovers that Parrish had been almost engaged to Juliet Kendall, daughter of moneyed, unscrupulous Lawrence Kendall, once a partner of Charles Bingley's late father and now a bitter adversary of the Bingley family. But Elizabeth intuits more sinister influences tied to Parrish's best man, Professor Julian Randolph, who specializes in occult studies. Brittle comic dialogue vies with lurid Gothic sensation: a debut that, for all its polish, shows why the world hasn't been waiting for a collaboration between Jane Austen and Mrs. Radcliffe.