Monday, January 11, 2010

The Intrigue at Highbury or Emma’s March-Carrie Bebris

The Intrigue at Highbury or Emma’s March
Carrie Bebris
Tor, Mar 2 2010, $22.99
ISBN: 9780765318480

While Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizbath are driving in their coach, they see on the side of the road a young woman who starts screaming. They stop to offer help. While on the carriage a light blows out and a raven screams scaring the servants. The young woman who says she is Miss Jones vanishes. The Darcys return to their coach to find their two servants unconscious and Mr. Darcy’s christening gown and his mother’s ring gone. They were going to give them to his cousin, but instead report the theft to the magistrate Mr. Knightly.

The magistrate and his wife Emma are having problems too. They are sponsoring a wedding dinner for Mr. Frank Churchill and his new bride Jane when his adopted father Edger dies. After Knightly meets the Darcys and learns he has solved several mysteries (see The Matter At Mansfield, Pride And Prescience, NORTH By Northanger, and Suspense And Sensibility) , he confesses he never liked Frank. As a magistrate he can not be objective so he asks Mr. Darcy to help him investigate the suspicious death which the Darcy’s agree to do. They learn Edgar died from belladonna poisoning. As the Darcy’s looks into the homicide, they also believe they can recover what was taken from them because they think the thief is still in the area. As more poisonings occur, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy focus on stopping a killer before others die.

The latest Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery is superb giving readers a look at what Jane Austen’s England looked like. The audience will be shocked to realize that even intelligent people like the Darcys and the Knightleys are prejudicial against gypsies; all four believe that if a gypsy is in the neighborhood when a crime occurs the culprit is known even without any witness to the felony. The whodunit and why are very complex; with many suspects having motives as the reader and the lead quartet struggle to decide who is the murderer.

Harriet Klausner

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