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The Murder of Mr. Wickham

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A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters. The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters. The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst. Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. The unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.


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A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters. The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters. The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst. Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. The unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.

30 review for The Murder of Mr. Wickham

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    As a reader who has fantasized million ways of dancing on George Wickham’s grave who might be the wickedest character of entire Austen novels, I’m sold from the beginning when I read the murder mystery blurb! And you know what before I started reading, I hoped the killer could get away with it! ( evil laugh of voracious reader) The idea of bringing together the famous Austen characters in chronological order of their stories, turning them into murder suspects is brilliant! Only problem about the As a reader who has fantasized million ways of dancing on George Wickham’s grave who might be the wickedest character of entire Austen novels, I’m sold from the beginning when I read the murder mystery blurb! And you know what before I started reading, I hoped the killer could get away with it! ( evil laugh of voracious reader) The idea of bringing together the famous Austen characters in chronological order of their stories, turning them into murder suspects is brilliant! Only problem about the book is slowness! Some chapters were a little flat and eventless. I wished the execution could be more riveting and capturing! But at least the ending was not rushed and satisfying enough, including bonus parts explaining directions of some characters’ stories! The story takes place in the very famous Regency Period! Knightleys ( true proof of opposite attract may result with HEA) throws a house party: some matchmaking, high quality of drinks, food, socializing which may last at least one month! But when an invited guest makes thundering appearance announced, poor Knightleys grit their teeth, welcoming him with unopened hands ( probably they had a big urge to salute him with middle fingers) You can guess who came to dinner, can’t you? And then the very famous wicked man is found death! Of course each of the guests has motives to get rid of that scumbag! Only two people who provide rock solid alibis are Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney, teaming up to solve this mystery. But this investigation has its own challenges: two people from opposite sexes to be in the same room alone might be the scandalous action in the Regency area. So this partnership will be more challenging than they expected! Overall: I found the pacing a little bumpy but bringing those memorable characters and put them into a claustrophobic whodunnit mystery is uniquely brilliant idea which made me round up 3.5 stars to 4 murder mystery, go to hell Mr. Wickham- nobody will miss you stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Claudia Gray had a great idea when she decided to bring together the various main characters of all Jane Austen’s books. There’s Emma and George Knightley, Elizabeth and Darcy, the Wentworths, the Bertrams, Colonel and Marianne Brandon. She puts the story at the end of the chronology of the stories, so some of the couples have aged a tad. The Knightleys, for example, have now been wed 16 years, the Darcys, 22. She does a nice job of summarizing the backgrounds of the characters, so even non-Aust Claudia Gray had a great idea when she decided to bring together the various main characters of all Jane Austen’s books. There’s Emma and George Knightley, Elizabeth and Darcy, the Wentworths, the Bertrams, Colonel and Marianne Brandon. She puts the story at the end of the chronology of the stories, so some of the couples have aged a tad. The Knightleys, for example, have now been wed 16 years, the Darcys, 22. She does a nice job of summarizing the backgrounds of the characters, so even non-Austen enthusiasts can enjoy this. The plot encompasses a Christie style closed room Murder mystery. And the victim? The horrible Mr. Wickham. The joy of Regency stories is the strict code of manners and what is considered “proper”. Gray smartly uses the younger generation to try to discern the difference between manners and morality. She gets the language right, but wasn’t as successful in always keeping the characters true to the age. And one of the supposed motives really rang false. (view spoiler)[ no man would ever have confessed to being in love with another man to his sister, especially in a letter (hide spoiler)] Gray’s plot gives almost everyone a motive. The two young people, Jonathan and Juliet, are the only two without a motive or opportunity and decide to play detective when the magistrate seems not up to the task of considering the upper classes capable of murder. Austen, of course, was well known for her humor. Gray has little chance to show any here, but when she does, it rings true to the Austen style. She also throws up multiple red herrings and I will admit to having no clue who was the murderer. I found myself actually worrying that it not be any of the characters I truly loved from their original stories. I also give credit to Gray for making each of the characters come across as real. All of the married couples have issues that flare up given the stress of the situation. Even the characters I initially found stiff were given a chance to show their humility. My thanks to Netgalley and Knopf Doubleday for an advance copy of this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Kowal

    Have you ever read a book that you felt was written specifically for you? The Murder of Mr. Wickham is everything I wanted it to be -- a cozy murder mystery, with my favorite Jane Austen characters, and a delightful romance. Also, on a technical front, Claudia Gray did her research on the Regency and it shows with beautiful attention to historic detail. It kept me up late reading and guessing whodunnit.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    The biggest issue I had with this book was plot pacing - the middle seemed to really drag. That said, this was fun! We get to see all our beloved Austen characters along with the "next gen," and the character work overall along with the setting was very enjoyable. It was also very satisfying seeing Wickham be the victim of the crime given what a POS he is, so... enjoy the schadenfreude there :) The biggest issue I had with this book was plot pacing - the middle seemed to really drag. That said, this was fun! We get to see all our beloved Austen characters along with the "next gen," and the character work overall along with the setting was very enjoyable. It was also very satisfying seeing Wickham be the victim of the crime given what a POS he is, so... enjoy the schadenfreude there :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    3.5 stars It's a lovely summer party when suddenly the ill liked Mr Wickham appears unannounced and unwelcome to the gala. He is the held in scorn because of his latest financial doings which left many poorer with all lost. However, the gracious Victorians of Jane Austen fame are cool but austere around him as he invites himself and winds up staying in the home of Emma and Mr Nightly. He also winds up dead, and it seems that one of the house guests is a murderer. Everyone is a suspect and the two 3.5 stars It's a lovely summer party when suddenly the ill liked Mr Wickham appears unannounced and unwelcome to the gala. He is the held in scorn because of his latest financial doings which left many poorer with all lost. However, the gracious Victorians of Jane Austen fame are cool but austere around him as he invites himself and winds up staying in the home of Emma and Mr Nightly. He also winds up dead, and it seems that one of the house guests is a murderer. Everyone is a suspect and the two youngest people at the party, Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine and Henry owners of Northanger Abbey and Jonathan Darcy son of the Darcys are on the trail compiling clues and meeting in secret with notes passed and endeavoring to follow the set rules of Victorian Age as best they can. They originally have a bit of dislike for one another but that does change as they race to save an innocent man from the gallows. True to the Austen way, Claudia Gray makes the characters come alive with a lovely nod to Agatha Christi and her closed door mystery aura. The only issue had with the story was the slowness of the middle of the story, but all in all it was fun getting together with some old Austen friends while also getting rid of the vile Mr Wickham. A win win indeed! Thank you to Claudia Gray, Vintage, and NetGalley for a copy of this book due out May 3, 2022.

  6. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing a slow painful death for Mr. Wickham, he of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and Austen infamy. And while this didn't quite deliver in that exacting way, he's still dead! Three cheers for that. What also drew me to this title, vicious longing for murder aside, was the idea of all of Austen's famous couples gathered under one roof and subject to, essentially, a locked room mystery. Would they get along? Who would be the first suspect? Who would actually do it.. and why? I mean I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing a slow painful death for Mr. Wickham, he of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and Austen infamy. And while this didn't quite deliver in that exacting way, he's still dead! Three cheers for that. What also drew me to this title, vicious longing for murder aside, was the idea of all of Austen's famous couples gathered under one roof and subject to, essentially, a locked room mystery. Would they get along? Who would be the first suspect? Who would actually do it.. and why? I mean, we don't need a why but would there be a why we wouldn't see coming? And, overall, this was good fun. I liked that Gray gave each couple very real conflicts, outside of the mystery, that did not seem fabricated and instead were likely issues that had plagued these characters or, due to circumstances, had caused certain issues to come to light. Each couple were in various stages of their HEA; some were long married, with grown children, some had only been married a few years, and others, only months. Each was a different perspective on their "what comes after" and each with their own concerns and issues. I really enjoyed it. Some, of course, more than others because we all have favourites. Equally, we also see some secondary characters visit. Some we probably weren't fans of to begin with but, at least, none so loathsome as Wickham. I never guessed the culprit or the motive, by the way. I was just along for the ride. But it was completely realistic and not remotely out of left field -- in case you are worried. Gray is not a new or untried author to me, I've read much of her YA backlist, but this particular venture was a surprise. I have no idea if she's shifting to adult permanently, or even historical fiction in general, but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for what comes next. ** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** --- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Noah

    Hi, so I haven’t actually read any Jane Austen books (don’t ask me why), but I do read a lot of retellings of Jane Austen books (also don’t ask me why), and this fact usually doesn’t come as a detriment to my enjoyment of the retelling. For this book though, I really got the sense that I needed to have read some of the originals in order to enjoy, or at least have important context. Mr. Wickham’s introduction had me feeling the same way I do when Marvel characters are introduced; a guy comes thr Hi, so I haven’t actually read any Jane Austen books (don’t ask me why), but I do read a lot of retellings of Jane Austen books (also don’t ask me why), and this fact usually doesn’t come as a detriment to my enjoyment of the retelling. For this book though, I really got the sense that I needed to have read some of the originals in order to enjoy, or at least have important context. Mr. Wickham’s introduction had me feeling the same way I do when Marvel characters are introduced; a guy comes through a door, says something witty, and pauses for audience screams and cheers. And I did the same thing I always do when I watch those Marvel flicks; check Wikipedia to understand why I should be excited. I did enjoy the writing style, it was very dramatic, very wordy, and very flowery, just what I expect in this type of setting. There may be too many narrators though, I think every character gets a word in. And with the pov switching multiple times a chapter, it’s hard not to get some kind of narrative whiplash. I’m not a big fan of several pov’s in mysteries, it really only makes the whole thing less mysterious. Also, it doesn’t even become a murder mystery until about 30% in, which wouldn’t be an issue if the book really ramped up afterword, but it instead moved at the same glaciers pace that it had already been moving. You’d think a murder mystery where a bunch of people are stuck in the same house for a month and one of them is a killer wouldn’t be such a chore to read through, but here we are. I mostly continued reading because I was curious as to which one of these beloved characters would turn out to be a murderer, and how it would be justified. And I can honestly say that the reveal was… alright. I don’t know, maybe I’ll do a re-read when I’ve read a couple Jane Austen books (this is a lie, I won’t).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    I think we can all agree that if you had to pick one Jane Austen character to off it would be Mr. Wickham. There is a whole cottage industry that has emerged where authors have taken the characters of the original Jane Austen novels and have spun whole new tales about them, set in the Regency Period all the way to modern times. I have likewise been intrigued by these characters and the "what if" their stories could become. Here author Claudia Gray has spun a house party hosted by the Knightley's I think we can all agree that if you had to pick one Jane Austen character to off it would be Mr. Wickham. There is a whole cottage industry that has emerged where authors have taken the characters of the original Jane Austen novels and have spun whole new tales about them, set in the Regency Period all the way to modern times. I have likewise been intrigued by these characters and the "what if" their stories could become. Here author Claudia Gray has spun a house party hosted by the Knightley's where we get to see all our favorites and one of them may be guilty of murder. Her characterizations are spot on for me. I could hear their voices just as I had imagined them to be. I'm not going to rehash the plot. But it is a feast for readers who love a diabolical villain and all the nuances that go with a Regency period book. We have Jane Austen's characters smashed up with an Agatha Christie "locked room" mystery or a game of Clue (the butler with a mace in the gallery). It is a delicious banquet that I thoroughly enjoyed. My thanks to Vintage, Publisher, and Claudia Gray, author, for providing a complimentary digital Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel via NetGalley. This is my fair, honest and personal review. All opinions are mine alone and were not biased in any way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    ‘Murder’ and ‘Wickham’ in the same title makes any Jane Austen lover worth their salt sit up and take notice. Now, add that with an author name long associated with young adult sci-fi and fantasy, and that makes Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham well-nigh irresistible. The Murder of Mr. Wickham is both a historical mystery and pays homage as a sequel to not one, but all Miss Jane Austen’s completed six novels. There are multiple points of views to tantalize fans of Austen’s revered couple ‘Murder’ and ‘Wickham’ in the same title makes any Jane Austen lover worth their salt sit up and take notice. Now, add that with an author name long associated with young adult sci-fi and fantasy, and that makes Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham well-nigh irresistible. The Murder of Mr. Wickham is both a historical mystery and pays homage as a sequel to not one, but all Miss Jane Austen’s completed six novels. There are multiple points of views to tantalize fans of Austen’s revered couples, but the spotlight is on two author original characters representing the next generation determined to get to the bottom of matters. An Invitation to Donwell Abbey “This is not like Northanger, Juliet thought, excitement mounting as her carriage drew closer to the great house where she was to spend the next few weeks.” Loc 308 Young, vibrant Juliet Tilney arrives fresh-faced and eager for her first adventure away from home. Egged on by a novel-writing mother who experienced her own first time traveling at Juliet’s age and a cautious practical-minded father, she is determined to make the most of the adventure while not disappointing her parents. Emma Knightley is pleased to receive her husband’s distant cousin and his wife, Edmund and Fanny Bertram. The Wentworths were invited to stay while repairs are made on Emma’s former home, Hartfield, which they are leasing. Emma is curious to meet her husband’s old friend from university, Fitzwilliam Darcy, along with his wife and oldest son. The recently wed, Colonel and Marianne are a study in contrasts. Her husband doesn’t miss the fact that she slipped in a young lady when she learned the Darcys were bringing their son. Matchmaking again, Emma? Donwell Abbey is full of guests and she anticipates a successful country house party until the party sits down to dinner. “Certain mishaps befall every dinner party. Gravy is spilled, seating arrangements prove awkward. An adept hostess, and congenial guests, can smooth away such small imperfections and allow the party to proceed pleasantly. There was no smoothing over the sudden appearance of Mr. Wickham.” Loc. 588 A Murderer in Their Midst Juliet and Jonathan both sense from the beginning that the house party will not be an easy one. For one thing, all the guests are caught up in personal drama of their own. That is nothing to the appearance of Mr. Wickham with his smirks and nasty behavior and threats. When a storm prolongs his stay, matters come to a boiling point leading to Juliet’s late night discovery of the murdered Mr. Wickham. Beyond their own natural inclinations to discover the truth, both Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney realize early on that the magistrate, Mr. Frank Churchill, has preconceived ideas and justice is in jeopardy. They separately decide to get to the truth no matter to whom the trail leads. “The moment in which politeness demanded that anyone else nearby withdraw to a point where they would not overhear, Jonathan didn’t move. Miss Tilney didn’t either… Juliet Tilney was as curious about the murder as he.” Loc 1535 Not So Happily Ever After The Murder of Mr. Wickham starts slowly as the large cast of characters and their present situations are introduced. All Austen’s romantic pairs save Catherine and Henry Tilney are present and their marriage lives have not been a bed of roses once the blush of early love has settled into daily lives. And, this is a story of them as much as a mystery. The author masterfully provided the sad, bitter atmosphere their plaguing issues have on the gathering and the setting. The emotional tone carried weight and couples I loved were now disappointing me. I had to push through the first half especially the dragging moments and trust that the dreariness would be dispelled as people dealt with what lay between them in their respective marriages. Emerging Detectives and Budding Feelings Of course, the balance to all those grown up troubles was the optimism and sparkle of the amateur detecting team determined to get a solution. Juliet Tilney is in her mother’s image in curiosity about people and wanting an adventure, but she is also very much her keen-witted paternal parent’s offspring, too. She is inexperienced, but applies herself to finding the evidence and paying attention to people’s actions and words without prejudice since she alone is impartial. She also experiences her first time attraction for someone unlike her and out of her sphere as she sees it. Her partner in detecting, Jonathan Darcy, would likely be placed, in modern times, on the Autistic spectrum. He has endured through a disability that wasn’t known to exist in that time, but he is a fabulous fellow and after a poor first impression, Juliet thinks so too and gives him quite a boost of encouragement. He has never met her clear-eyed honesty and earnestness in any of the girls of fashion and much prefers Juliet. “All his life, his habits had been a source of consternation to his parents. To others, they had been the cause of contempt. Jonathan’s ears still burned with some of the insults that had been hurled at him in school. Miss Tilney either would be bewildered or would laugh at him… “It is peculiar, of course,” Miss Tilney said, “but my mother has often told me that most people are really very, peculiar, once you get to know them. The only difference is in how well we hide our peculiarities.” Loc 1824 All’s Well That Ends Well At the risk of giving anything away, I will at least share that readers needn’t be worried that the whole thing is doom and gloom- not even for the Bertrams who have the longest path to change of them all. The heaviness that permeated the earlier half of the book lifts as Austen’s couples work through their marital struggles and the relief is great when the murder is solved. The solution was a surprise and my heart was in my throat until the case was closed. Anyone could have done it and I appreciated this even as I was pulling a Frank Churchill and hoping a stranger did it. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one through the early chapters, but the book won me over. I was very taken with Juliet and Jonathan and was deeply impressed with the author’s sensitivity to Austen’s characters and their ongoing story. At first, I wasn’t sure about the portrayals, but the resolve came and I could nod with quiet approval. Well done, Ms. Gray. While this will resonate best with those familiar with Austen’s novels, there is enough background for any reader to pick it up and appreciate a slow build old-style historical mystery.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    GET REAQUIANTED WITH ALL YOUR AUSTEN FAVOURITES After having just come home from an amazing vacation in England during which I got to visit Jane Austen's home in Chawton, this book felt like the perfect fit for me. I was delighted to revisit all of my favourite Austen characters (with a few notable exceptions) and see them all interact with one another. Undertaking a retelling of this scope (trying to tie in six novels) is a mammoth affair and for the most part I think Gray got away with it decen GET REAQUIANTED WITH ALL YOUR AUSTEN FAVOURITES After having just come home from an amazing vacation in England during which I got to visit Jane Austen's home in Chawton, this book felt like the perfect fit for me. I was delighted to revisit all of my favourite Austen characters (with a few notable exceptions) and see them all interact with one another. Undertaking a retelling of this scope (trying to tie in six novels) is a mammoth affair and for the most part I think Gray got away with it decently. But I did have some things that I was less fond of. 👍 What I Liked 👍 Revisit: The most impressive part of this book was how the author managed to tie together all six of Austen's novels. She combined them all in one universe and one narrative. And it felt pretty flawless. Some are related by blood, some by marriage and some by friendship of different degrees. But the characters combine really well. It was great to get to revisit all of them in one story, which was a sequel, prequel or retelling of any one of them. I've read other attempts at managing this feat which weren't quite as succesful, so Gray deserves a big pat on the shoulder for pulling it off. Mystery: Normally I am not into cozy mysteries. I have tried several and usually I just feel bored. But that was not the case here. Sure, part of the explanation was probably that I simply loved getting back together with Austen's characters. But another reason was the actual mystery. Mr. Wickham - an Austen character we've probably all fantasized about hurting - is found murdered. And the murderer is one of our beloved characters. This made a huge impact for me, as I could not imagine any Austen character murdering someone else, not even Mr. Wickham. So I was invested from the beginning. The mystery and intrigue unfolded nicely and led to an exciting revelation at the end. 👎 What I Disliked 👎 Fanny: If there is one Austen character I always feel like gets the short end of the stick it's Fanny Price (or Fanny Bertram, as she is of course known in this book). I have never understood the Fanny bashing. And in this book it was stronger than ever before. That was a real letdown for me. I could not recognize the Fanny that Gray portrayed here. As I saw it, this Fanny was a completely different character. In my opinion, Fanny is not meek, weak or submissive. Quite the contrary. She stands up for herself, she maintains her dignity and she is always, always kind. That's not the same as a sniveling, weeping mess. Fanny endured a horrible treatment by her cousins and aunt Norris, a women who was supposed to care for and nurture her. But she still managed to remain kind and sweet. That shows true strength of character. Something that Gray completely unraveled. It made me really sad to read. POVs: There were simply too many POVs. It was bordering on confusing, switching from one to other and back again all the time. I felt like it would have been more conductive for the story if we had only been given the POVs of Jonathan and Juliet, the two original characters of the story. Follow me for more book loving content! Blog ✨ Facebook ✨ Instagram ✨ Twitter Blog Post: 10 Criminally Underrated YA Books with an LGBTQ Twist

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Kellum

    *I read a digital ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. A Jane Austen whodunnit in the style of Agatha Christie? This is the book I never knew I needed, and I adored it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shereadbookblog

    Written in the style of Jane Austen and borrowing her characters, this is a story of a house party at the stately home of the Knightleys. While enjoying their first evening meal, the party is crashed by George Wickham, who for many reasons, is despised by most of the guests. Due to bad weather, the Knightleys are forced to invite him to stay. This house party, which was to last a month, is interrupted when Wickham’s dead body is found. Who murdered him? So many had motive! The youngest invitees, Written in the style of Jane Austen and borrowing her characters, this is a story of a house party at the stately home of the Knightleys. While enjoying their first evening meal, the party is crashed by George Wickham, who for many reasons, is despised by most of the guests. Due to bad weather, the Knightleys are forced to invite him to stay. This house party, which was to last a month, is interrupted when Wickham’s dead body is found. Who murdered him? So many had motive! The youngest invitees, Juliet Tilney, daughter of the residents of Northanger Abbey, and Jonathan Darcy, yes, of those Darcys, challenge the mores of the time by launching an investigation together, parallel to and more successful than the official inquiry. Despite the murder, this is a delightful story! Although its been a while since I have read Austen’s works about these characters (some who have aged here), the author does a nice job of filling in their backgrounds so I never felt lost. Gray remained true to the Austen writing style, even employing a good sense of humor. As a bit of a SPOILER, I thought the ending was quite satisfying. I don’t think you have to be overly familiar with Austen’s writings to enjoy this book for its plot and reflection of the society at that time. As an aside, am I the only one who thought Jonathan Darcy had a “touch” of what is now known as Aspberger Syndrome? Thanks to #netgalley and #knopfdoubleday for the DRC. Follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/shereadbook...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Hot take: I really enjoyed this! It was cleverly written and the author clearly knows and loves all Jane’s characters, even the pesky ones. Making it a murder mystery made it more fun and less serious than a strict retelling. Even so, I thought the characters seemed largely true to Austen’s novels. (There was one notable exception to this. I can see why the author made this choice as a way to give this particular character a motive. But it rang false for me.) Though the novel is largely fun, I a Hot take: I really enjoyed this! It was cleverly written and the author clearly knows and loves all Jane’s characters, even the pesky ones. Making it a murder mystery made it more fun and less serious than a strict retelling. Even so, I thought the characters seemed largely true to Austen’s novels. (There was one notable exception to this. I can see why the author made this choice as a way to give this particular character a motive. But it rang false for me.) Though the novel is largely fun, I also found it surprisingly poignant at times. And I always love a novel with so many “familiar faces”. P.S. I did think it was funny that the author often referred to Mr. Knightley as just Knightley. Isn’t that what Mrs. Elton does and it makes Emma so mad? 🤔😆

  14. 5 out of 5

    Siria

    Mr and Mrs Knightley's goal was to host a genial house party of relatives and friends—including several faces familiar to anyone who's read the novels of Jane Austen—with nothing occurring more stressful than avoiding the odious Mrs Elton and perhaps some light matchmaking. But soon there's an unexpected guest in the form of Mr Wickham, who even more unexpectedly turns up quite dead in the middle of the night. There is a killer among them, but who? Jonathan Darcy, son of Darcy and Lizzy, and Jul Mr and Mrs Knightley's goal was to host a genial house party of relatives and friends—including several faces familiar to anyone who's read the novels of Jane Austen—with nothing occurring more stressful than avoiding the odious Mrs Elton and perhaps some light matchmaking. But soon there's an unexpected guest in the form of Mr Wickham, who even more unexpectedly turns up quite dead in the middle of the night. There is a killer among them, but who? Jonathan Darcy, son of Darcy and Lizzy, and Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, endeavour to find out. This was a solid three-star read for me, partly due to some personal preferences, partly due to some issues I had with the book itself. With regards to the former, I was hoping that The Murder of Mr Wickham, if not quite a romp, would at least have some wit and fun to it. Having read some work by Claudia Gray before, I was sure that she could match the entertainment value of Jenny Crusie at her best. But this is actually a fairly sombre book, with many of the characters we're familiar with spending a lot of time angry or upset with one another. This is often for good reason, but it was honestly a bit stressful for me to read. Equally, I can give Gray a pass on not trying to recreate Austen's dialogue or prose too closely, but there were some anachronisms and Americanisms that made me sigh. (Balls were "given" or "held", not "thrown"; the Regency aristocracy weren't sitting down to strawberry scones for breakfast and they certainly weren't dipping them in cream, etc.) Other readers may not get hung up on these things as much as I do, but I also thought that there were pacing issues, too many POV characters, and a couple of character actions that just seemed implausible/caricatured to me. All that said, I definitely did find myself turning the pages wanting to know whodunnit, and I appreciated Gray's attempts to broaden the scope of Austen's world. (One of the new characters introduced, Jonathan, is clearly written as neurodivergent.) If not quite the escapism that I wanted, it is still an entertaining read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kays Secret Library

    Are you a fan of Jane Austen? Read on, my friend. Don't like Jane Austen but love a good mystery? Read on, my friend! It's definitely not a quick read, but it is a good one. In The Murder of Mr. Wickham, author Claudia Gray (Amy Vincent) tells a fantastic whodunit story of a murder that includes several of Austen's classically popular characters, and I absolutely adore it. It's hard to delve too much into some the details that I loved to avoid spoilers, but I will say that I enjoyed the way that Are you a fan of Jane Austen? Read on, my friend. Don't like Jane Austen but love a good mystery? Read on, my friend! It's definitely not a quick read, but it is a good one. In The Murder of Mr. Wickham, author Claudia Gray (Amy Vincent) tells a fantastic whodunit story of a murder that includes several of Austen's classically popular characters, and I absolutely adore it. It's hard to delve too much into some the details that I loved to avoid spoilers, but I will say that I enjoyed the way that Gray presents the characters and the mystery aspects of the book. Note: Thank you to Netgalley and publishers for access to this arc in exchange for my honest review!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Murder of Mr. Wickham will reunite you with so many of Jane Austen's characters. Seriously, it was a lot for my brain to keep track of. Definitely freaked out when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth came into play. Also, I might've swooned a little when we met their son. Then there's the overall mystery of Mr. Wickham. Was I sad that he died? No, not really. With each twist, and blackmail, I was completely hooked on finding out who I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Murder of Mr. Wickham will reunite you with so many of Jane Austen's characters. Seriously, it was a lot for my brain to keep track of. Definitely freaked out when Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth came into play. Also, I might've swooned a little when we met their son. Then there's the overall mystery of Mr. Wickham. Was I sad that he died? No, not really. With each twist, and blackmail, I was completely hooked on finding out who the murderer was. I also really enjoyed Juliet and Jonathan working together to solve it. As they grew closer, I couldn't help myself from shipping these two. It also didn't hurt that Elizabeth was also thinking about a possible matchmaking either. The only problem was Mr. Darcy, and he was suspicious of Juliet. As we got closer to the ending, little clues and sayings started to make the murderer a bit more obvious. Although they were never a suspect in my eyes, I'll admit that everything made sense before the crime was committed. In the end, I'm really happy that I got the chance to jump into this murder mystery book. It definitely made me fall back in love with my favorite characters. I also really want to read a Jane Austen book now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Adorable and lighthearted Austenverse book I didn't know I needed. I can only imagine Gray had as much fun writing this — maybe more — as Austenites will have reading it. I somehow went into this blind, and was utterly delighted when I discovered that the Knightleys (Emma and George from Emma) were throwing a house party (you know, the kind people used to have when the gathering of guests would stay for a month or more—gasp) and a healthy handful of the Austenverse were invited — for one reason o Adorable and lighthearted Austenverse book I didn't know I needed. I can only imagine Gray had as much fun writing this — maybe more — as Austenites will have reading it. I somehow went into this blind, and was utterly delighted when I discovered that the Knightleys (Emma and George from Emma) were throwing a house party (you know, the kind people used to have when the gathering of guests would stay for a month or more—gasp) and a healthy handful of the Austenverse were invited — for one reason or another — including two newcomers. From Emma to Pride and Prejudice, from Persuasion to Mansfield Park, and from Sense and Sensibility to Northanger Abbey — so many of the gang are all here. Gray plays with the timeline to a wonderful end — twenty-some-odd years have passed for seemingly all the crew except the Brandons . . . Colonel Christopher and Marianne Brandon. They've been largely happily married and, aside from life coming at them fast at various points over those decades, they have arrived hale and hearty to the house party. That is, except of course, in the way the nefarious Mr. George Wickham has dared to traverse the books authored by Austen and damaged more than just the lives of those he touched in his own Pride and Prejudice. Another highlight, especially for those who have not read Austen's collected works, is that Gray covers the necessary backstories to round out her cast of characters as it relates to The Murder of Mr. Wickham. I haven't reread any other than P&P and S&S over my own previous decades, so Gray's additions were all welcome refreshers. The tone Gray manages in the style and execution is spot on. This text feels like it fits right in with the originals, while still feeling fresh and modern (-enough) for today's audience. The middle portion went on a little long, and the mystery was stretched a little thin over the vast array of characters populating this novel, but that is easily forgivable considering how much ground Gray had to cover in order to flesh everyone out in this novel, rather than presuming readers had come into this with all their homework done. Honestly, the opening and the closing of this novel were both so delightful that any slowness in the middle is a thought of the past already. I am eager to see what Claudia Gray has in store for herself next. I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This affected neither my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dear Feely

    “Not all the secrets we keep are our own.” A love letter to Jane Austen fans that feels not unlike the soft summer rain gracing its pages, this mystery is fraught with suspicion, intrigue, warmth, and social conventions. Emma and Knightley, happily married these sixteen years, find themselves with a house full of guests that any reader with a modicum of general knowledge will recognize as their fellows in the delightful ranks of Jane Austen’s most famous love stories. But time catches up to even “Not all the secrets we keep are our own.” A love letter to Jane Austen fans that feels not unlike the soft summer rain gracing its pages, this mystery is fraught with suspicion, intrigue, warmth, and social conventions. Emma and Knightley, happily married these sixteen years, find themselves with a house full of guests that any reader with a modicum of general knowledge will recognize as their fellows in the delightful ranks of Jane Austen’s most famous love stories. But time catches up to even the most devoted couples assumed to live happily ever after, and we find our heroes and heroines in varying degrees of strife, made no easier by the arrival of a man who makes himself enemies at every turn and, quite inconveniently, is found dead within days of the party’s arrival. Without delay, resourceful and clever Juliet Tilney teams up with sensible and studious Jonathan Darcy to solve the murder of the unfortunate Mr. Wickham. Aside from our young protagonists, the characters are as familiar to the established reader as within the pages of their own bespoke volumes. Emma and Elizabeth, especially, are a charming imagining of their future selves and I adored their witty charm, as well as their own complicated dynamics within the house party. The writing was rival to Austen herself in its lushly descriptive nature. From describing the innermost thoughts of each character to the surroundings in which they find themselves, it was impossible not to be fully immersed in such a vividly portrayed setting as Donwell Abbey. The book on a whole was also a look at regency convention, Jonathan and Juliet’s narratives full of the social rules they are still being taught as a young lady and gentleman of their time. This both complicates and elevates the ever prevalent mystery. “Society demanded that they all sit there and take breakfast while a dead body lay in a neighboring room.” (Let it be known that line after next on page 107 reads: “As she [Juliet] had before, she decided not to listen to such demands.”) Juliet’s character is a delightful representation of her mother’s curiosity and imagination, and her father’s good humor and wise countenance. Jonathan is perhaps now one of my favorite fictional characters, his intense honesty and constant bafflement at the presence of any emotion endearing to the extreme. I will say next to nothing about the result of the mystery, for I thoroughly enjoyed speculating along with our young detectives. All I can say is that as well as a talent for emulating Austen, the author is worthy of the badge of Christie too. I enjoyed every page of this delightful masterpiece of a book, and while “Jane Austen fanfiction” is a phrase not unsuited to the work as a whole, it is surely one of the most genteel and accurate representations of the subject you will ever come across.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeannine

    Those with a soft spot for Jane Austen’s work have a high bar for derivative works. This one is well done and stands the scrutiny of an Austen fan. That being said, anyone who hasn’t read Austen or hasn’t read her books recently might find a Sparknotes review of the characters helpful in getting the most of out this book. I haven’t read Mansfield Park and did a quick review at the very beginning, which was enough to make me feel like I knew the characters and their backstories. There are a few l Those with a soft spot for Jane Austen’s work have a high bar for derivative works. This one is well done and stands the scrutiny of an Austen fan. That being said, anyone who hasn’t read Austen or hasn’t read her books recently might find a Sparknotes review of the characters helpful in getting the most of out this book. I haven’t read Mansfield Park and did a quick review at the very beginning, which was enough to make me feel like I knew the characters and their backstories. There are a few little jokes or references that will make an Austen fan giggle, while flying past someone who doesn't know the stories. Those "easter eggs" won't change the story for a non-Janeite. The writing style is of the Austen style. The pace for the first 250 pages is a bit slow, but the last ~100 fly as the investigation approaches a conclusion. I have to admit that I thought the reveal was a bit anticlimactic, but it made sense. One of our leads is neurodivergent and the afterward mentions the author having a sensitivity reader. I found the narration by that character pretty charming and you can't help but root for that character as they investigate and deal with a bit of a love triangle. The ground work was laid for a sequel. I’ll definitely be reading that!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Emma and Mr. Knightley have several other Jane Austen characters to their home, Donwell Abbey, for a monthlong house party. The Wentworths were renting out Hartfield. Hall, empty since Emma’s father died, but the main staircase collapsed, so they are staying with the Knightleys. Colonel Brandon is Emma’s cousin, and Edward Bertram is Knightley’s. While in Bath they met the Tilneys, so invited their daughter Juliet Tilney. And, Knightley hasn’t seen his school friend Darcy in years, so they invit Emma and Mr. Knightley have several other Jane Austen characters to their home, Donwell Abbey, for a monthlong house party. The Wentworths were renting out Hartfield. Hall, empty since Emma’s father died, but the main staircase collapsed, so they are staying with the Knightleys. Colonel Brandon is Emma’s cousin, and Edward Bertram is Knightley’s. While in Bath they met the Tilneys, so invited their daughter Juliet Tilney. And, Knightley hasn’t seen his school friend Darcy in years, so they invited Darcy, Elizabeth, and their son Jonathan. The abbey is quite full with all guest rooms taken, when an unwelcome, uninvited guest, George Wickham, slithers in while all are seated at dinner. As the title The Murder of Mr. Wickham infers, Wickham is soon found by seventeen year old Juliet Tilney murdered in the gallery. The magistrate is called in and an investigation begins. Frank Churchill, the magistrate of Highbury, immediately makes assumptions about servants, gypsies, or itinerants being to blame. Juliet and the handsome, yet odd Jonathan Darcy believe he is on the wrong track. What they have heard and seen of the Knightley’s guests leads them to believe the murderer is one of them. They agree to form their own investigation. They find motives among all the guests due to Wickham’s blackmail attempts, embezzling of funds, ill treatment of young women, etc. Juliet and Jonathan have their hands full as they search out who murdered Mr. Wickham. I highly enjoyed the premise of The Murder of Mr. Wickham, and the story starts out very promising. Each of the couples not only has a motive, but each couple is also experiencing some marital strife. So Juliet and Jonathan overhear many angry words and whispered discussions. The storyline is filled with conversations rather than action. It does feel a bit slow at times, and seems to bog down in the middle. But, we are paid back as each side story is resolved and eventually the killer of Wickham comes to light. Besides, we have a very handsome young couple working together. The Murder of Mr Wickham has a quiet, drawing room mystery feel, with a bit of Agatha Christie mixed with Jane Austen. The author adjusted time frames just slightly, as she explains at the beginning, to bring all our characters together at the correct time and age. I would have liked a little more romance in the mix. I am hoping we see more of Jonathan and Juliet in future mysteries to give me a chance to see their romance blossom. I read a digital ARC which I obtained from NetGalley.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM by Claudia Gray Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Vintage Pub Date: May 3 I'm in a decided mood for Jane Austen after watching the 2020 film Emma., and so delighted by all the books coming out that put a twist on some aspect of her work. THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM by Claudia Gray goes one brilliant step further by bringing together all the lead couples from Austen's tales to a house party held by Emma and her husband, Mr. Knightley. You don't have to be a Janeite to truly en THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM by Claudia Gray Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Vintage Pub Date: May 3 I'm in a decided mood for Jane Austen after watching the 2020 film Emma., and so delighted by all the books coming out that put a twist on some aspect of her work. THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM by Claudia Gray goes one brilliant step further by bringing together all the lead couples from Austen's tales to a house party held by Emma and her husband, Mr. Knightley. You don't have to be a Janeite to truly enjoy this clever story, because Gray does a fine job of bringing readers up to speed. Fans of both Austen and Agatha Christie will be gripped by the locked-room murder of the odious Wickham, who has wronged everyone at the party and leaves everyone a suspect. And readers will have a delicious time as the mystery unspools, leaving them wanting more tales from Gray. Sequel! Thanks to the author, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Vintage, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. #TheMurderofMrWickham #ClaudiaGray #KnopfDoubledayPublishingGroupVintage #NetGalley #JaneAusteninspiredfiction #AustenCharactersatHousePartyStory #murderofanodiouscharacter #historicalfictionnovel #bookstagramcommunity

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    3.5 stars rounded up Would I recommend this book to a fellow Janeite? Yes, I would. Because it is clearly written by someone who love those characters a lot. But as a houseparty/murder mystery? Eh. First of all, I have to say, I picked this book up because I love both Jane Austen and Claudia Gray. The idea of bringing most of her beloved characters together at a house party hosted by Emma, where Mr. Wickham gets murdered? Love it! I mean. Who wouldn't. And here's the thing: there is SO much love 3.5 stars rounded up Would I recommend this book to a fellow Janeite? Yes, I would. Because it is clearly written by someone who love those characters a lot. But as a houseparty/murder mystery? Eh. First of all, I have to say, I picked this book up because I love both Jane Austen and Claudia Gray. The idea of bringing most of her beloved characters together at a house party hosted by Emma, where Mr. Wickham gets murdered? Love it! I mean. Who wouldn't. And here's the thing: there is SO much love here for Jane's work and her characters, that it's sometimes too much. So much research went into this book, that additional information (often about the period, or what a character thinks about a specific aspect of the period) is often given in brackets, which, for a Jane Austen lover is absolutely fine, but I feel could irritate some readers? Even I found some of them a bit superfluous. But as far as the characters go, there is so much love that it really feels like a natural continuation of Austen's stories (the Wentworths for example lose their fortune, find themselves in a similar situation as the Eliots do in Persuasion, and Anne finally tells Wentworth just what she thinks of his misguided pride. Go Anne!). It was really wonderful to see them all again. Well. All of them except the Tilneys, which I am still somewhat miffed about, because I love Henry Tilney to pieces. At least we get his and Catherine's daughter (Catherine has gone on to become a successful novelist, while Henry still seems to be his adorable self), which. Fine. I'll take it as the next best thing. I could spend a lot of time writing about how much I loved what Gray did with the characters (she even manages to make Miss Bates appear in a good light!), but that would take forever and ruin the book for everyone. So. If you already love Jane's characters and ever wondered what happened after the weddings, this is the book for you. But... As a murder mystery it didn't really work for me. Mini Tilney and Darcy Jr decide to investigate together after Wickham is found dead but really. I mean. Who cares? There wasn't enough time spent on decent red herrings or an atmosphere of "omg they all could have cheerfully murdered him" that the final resolution left me a bit. Unimpressed. But still. As a book about how Anne and Frederick, Emma and Knightley, Elizabeth and Darcy, Marianne and Brandon, and Fanny and Edmund (ugh. Why was he there, true to his annoying, parsimonious, holier-than-thou self, but not Tilney? Honestly...) are doing after the conclusion of their respective books, it was WONDERFUL. I even found myself agreeing with Fanny (granted, only once, when she stands up to Edmund, the rest of the time she is her rather pathetic self), and that is not an easy thing to achieve. Just saying... But I still feel like all the research and obvious love could have been edited a bit to make more room for the murder mystery part of it. *I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alix

    I’ve always considered myself a Jane Austen fan but after 100 pages I couldn’t read anymore of this. The many POV’s (at least 7) were quite frustrating because I never got the chance to really know any of the characters. Also, most of the characters are unhappy and dealing with marital woes which is kind of jarring, but I’m assuming they will all resolve their issues by the end of the book. With the constant jumping around you would think it at least be an entertaining story but I found it borin I’ve always considered myself a Jane Austen fan but after 100 pages I couldn’t read anymore of this. The many POV’s (at least 7) were quite frustrating because I never got the chance to really know any of the characters. Also, most of the characters are unhappy and dealing with marital woes which is kind of jarring, but I’m assuming they will all resolve their issues by the end of the book. With the constant jumping around you would think it at least be an entertaining story but I found it boring and a slog to get through. Maybe it picks up further along, but I just don’t have the time and energy to continue with this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Well, this just shot to the top of my TBR.

  25. 4 out of 5

    CindySR

    I think most Austen fans would enjoy this. Many of the the main characters are here for a house party, about 20 years after P&P. Elizabeth and Darcy, Emma and Knightly, Marianne and Brandon, Fanny and Edmund, Anne and her Captain. A few more characters make an appearance, not the least of which is Wickham, who has become even more wicked with age. Some offspring of our favorite couples take the main stage of the story and they are the best part! The only downside for me was the length. Around pa I think most Austen fans would enjoy this. Many of the the main characters are here for a house party, about 20 years after P&P. Elizabeth and Darcy, Emma and Knightly, Marianne and Brandon, Fanny and Edmund, Anne and her Captain. A few more characters make an appearance, not the least of which is Wickham, who has become even more wicked with age. Some offspring of our favorite couples take the main stage of the story and they are the best part! The only downside for me was the length. Around page 250 I began to wish for the big reveal, which was still 100 pages away. In any case, loved the writing and will look for this author again.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    I love Jane Austen; I'm also not an Austen purest, so I am less critical than some when I find an enjoyable take off on her books, especially one which involves a mystery. This title brings together many well-loved Austen characters and gives us glimpses into their lives after the endings of their novels. I especially liked Gray's imagining of Juliet, a daughter of Catherine and Henry Tilney, and Jonathan, a son of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. Despite the restraints of their society, these y I love Jane Austen; I'm also not an Austen purest, so I am less critical than some when I find an enjoyable take off on her books, especially one which involves a mystery. This title brings together many well-loved Austen characters and gives us glimpses into their lives after the endings of their novels. I especially liked Gray's imagining of Juliet, a daughter of Catherine and Henry Tilney, and Jonathan, a son of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. Despite the restraints of their society, these young people work together to solve the murder of Mr. Wickham, drawing on strengths that aren't necessarily recognized as such. Apparently there is a sequel in the works. I am definitely looking forward to it!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather Moll

    Austen couples have assembled at Donwell at varying stages in their marriages. The Darcy’s have been married 23 years and have recently suffered a tragedy. Their son Jonathan is more formal and reserved than his father, and might be neurodivergent. Fanny Bertram has a secret about her brother William. Marianne Brandon feels closed off from her husband. Captain Wentworth has lost his prize money and is very angry. The Tilneys send their 17-year-old daughter Juliet to stay with Mrs. Knightley to h Austen couples have assembled at Donwell at varying stages in their marriages. The Darcy’s have been married 23 years and have recently suffered a tragedy. Their son Jonathan is more formal and reserved than his father, and might be neurodivergent. Fanny Bertram has a secret about her brother William. Marianne Brandon feels closed off from her husband. Captain Wentworth has lost his prize money and is very angry. The Tilneys send their 17-year-old daughter Juliet to stay with Mrs. Knightley to have an adventure. Of course, Jonathan and Juliet’s first meeting doesn’t go well, because he struggles to read social cues and she assumes he’s rude. The dialogue is well written and each character’s personality comes through in both their thoughts and their conversations. It’s a wide cast and I think best approached by someone familiar with most of Austen’s novels. Wickham arrives at Donwell and at least one partner in every couple has reason to loathe him. Wickham leaves blackmail, investment scams, and ruined girls in his wake, and most people at the house party have reason to want him dead. Who can blame them? I disagreed with some of the dates the author used to set Austen’s novels. Some Austen scholars have chosen different years to set them based on when they were written or revised, the dates mentioned in the novels, and when they were published. So I struggled with the ages of some of the characters and how long they had been married when this was set in 1820. After reading the story you understand why it was done, but it was a little jarring for me. There were a few misses with details that took me out of the story. Some anachronisms about behavior and daily life. Fanny’s aunt and uncle were once called Lord and Lady Bertram—he’s a baronet. Eliza’s hopes for an annulment were unrealistic. Tomatoes weren’t considered poisonous by 1820. In 15 years, did Frank Churchill never inherit Enscombe? There also a racial slur used what was accurate to Austen’s time, but is considered offensive now. I would rather see a historically inaccurate word rather than an offensive one. The personalities of Austen’s characters come through, although everyone’s marriages are in a bleak place. Jonathan’s quick observations provide a good insight for the reader as he navigates both how to relate to everyone at the house party and his secret investigation into Wickham’s death. Juliet is young but not as naive as her mother was at her age. They’re both curious and determined, but most of their investigation comes from them overhearing things and making deductions rather than the pair taking a more active clue-finding role. I was let down by the ultimate reason Wickham was killed amid so many other enticing possibilities. And in the end, a confession renders their investigation moot and I wasn’t satisfied with the resolution. I received an arc from NetGalley As an aside about neurodiversity rep: The acknowledgements at the end mentioning a sensitivity read for Jonathan’s character isn’t the same as flat out saying a main character is autistic. The author should have admitted Jonathan was meant to be autistic. She certainly added every single recognizable autistic trait as though ticking off a list. She had an author’s note in the beginning about dates and slurs, but couldn’t use the word autistic in the same place to describe Jonathan? Is the representation as good as it could be if the author won’t come out and say it?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wolak

    Thousands of readers over the years have probably wanted to murder Wickham. I enjoyed this locked-room murder mystery and look forward to reading the next entry in the series. It made me want to re-read all of Austen's novels. I'm a lightweight Janeite and no doubt many interactions and characterizations went over my head but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Thousands of readers over the years have probably wanted to murder Wickham. I enjoyed this locked-room murder mystery and look forward to reading the next entry in the series. It made me want to re-read all of Austen's novels. I'm a lightweight Janeite and no doubt many interactions and characterizations went over my head but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eliza ♡

    I tried so hard to like this. I've used up almost all of the days NetGalley so generously gives to read a book just trying to force myself to enjoy this. I even started reading it aloud to myself, accents and all, just in attempt to keep myself entertained. But this story was not for me, and I did eventually DNF it midway and skip to the ending. CONS • Lack of a unique voice. This work felt very deriviative of Agatha Christie. • Too many POVs. I think this ties into the author's influence, but I tried so hard to like this. I've used up almost all of the days NetGalley so generously gives to read a book just trying to force myself to enjoy this. I even started reading it aloud to myself, accents and all, just in attempt to keep myself entertained. But this story was not for me, and I did eventually DNF it midway and skip to the ending. CONS • Lack of a unique voice. This work felt very deriviative of Agatha Christie. • Too many POVs. I think this ties into the author's influence, but the amount of POVs was too ambitious here. It was jarring and often boring to switch POVs every few paragraphs. • Austen's characters fell extremely flat. I do not think they were done any great justice here. Wickham especially felt like a caricature, like his every waking breath was had only to scheme and be evil. It was over the top. • It took slightly over a quarter of the novel for Wickham to even die. As the audience knows he will die just from the title of the book, it truly became a slog just to get to it. I was having a fine time for the first 15 percent but after that I was just begging for someone to kill the man and start the mystery already. PROS...? • The original characters were enjoyable. I liked their POVs far more than the other characters and think the story would have benefitted if told only from their POV (perhaps with the rare other character interspersed). • The author did her best to create realistic depictions of things that could be troubling the Austen characters. Unfortunately for me, I don't care to have the HEA given to me in Austen's books taken away and replaced by rocky marriages, but I can respect the hustle. • The writing is well done. Sometimes, stories set in other time periods can feel off or as if the author has not done any research. • My initial theory for what happened to Wickham was wrong, and I usually dislike mysteries for figuring things out too quickly. Props. • I don't think the book is terrible, but rather not for me. I am admittedly very picky, but I can see why people could enjoy this more than myself. Thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for the ARC. Wish I'd liked it more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    AnnaScott

    I don't know if anyone else got excited with crossover shows growing up, but something about my favorite characters from one show interacting with my favorite characters from another show just made me irrationally happy. This book is the grown up version of that. A story that involved all of Austen's most beloved characters going to a house party at Donwell Abbey together was something that I didn't really know I needed until this book, but let me tell you, it was absolutely delightful (the fact I don't know if anyone else got excited with crossover shows growing up, but something about my favorite characters from one show interacting with my favorite characters from another show just made me irrationally happy. This book is the grown up version of that. A story that involved all of Austen's most beloved characters going to a house party at Donwell Abbey together was something that I didn't really know I needed until this book, but let me tell you, it was absolutely delightful (the fact that the narrative closely followed Agatha Christie's style was just an added bonus). I loved how Claudia spaced the events of Austen's books out so that they roughly took place during the year they were originally written in. It was really interesting to see that all of the heroines were at different places with their marriages, from newly married in Brandon and Marianne's case, to happily married for more than twenty years in Darcy and Elizabeth's case. I loved getting to see how they all ended up after the close of their original tales. One of the top things I look for in a book that is a retelling/spinoff of a classic is how well they captured the essence of the original, and this book excelled on that point. The characters aged generally how one would expect, the way they interacted with each other was completely believable, and even the tone of the writing was on point for Austen's style. It felt like Austen wrote a sequel. Plus their references to the original books were absolutely golden. There were only two points that I didn't completely love. First, some of the characters - while in keeping with their original personalities - felt a bit caricatured at different points. I noticed it especially in Edmund and Fanny Bertram. This Edmund reminded me a good deal of Mr. Collins, which I don't remember thinking of the original, and Fanny was much more timid than I remembered. Again, it is in keeping with their characters, it just felt a bit exaggerated at times. The second saddening point is that I wanted an epilogue. I wanted to see how all of the characters moved forward from the events of the book, and whether or not they stayed friends (or became more than friends as the case may be). This is totally a minor detail, I just care deeply about my happily-ever-afters. Overall, this is a gem of a book. It is perfect for fans of Austen, especially if they are also fans of Agatha Christie. Content warning: There is reference to a gay couple, as two of the characters process how they should proceed in their relationship with the couple as Christians. It's super minor, and handled tastefully. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.

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