August 9, 2011

Book Review: THE INTRIGUE AT HIGHBURY: OR, EMMA'S MATCH by Carrie Bebris

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are looking forward to a relaxing stay with dear friends when their carriage is hailed by a damsel-in-distress outside of the village of Highbury. Little do the Darcys realize that gypsies roam these woods, or that both their possessions and the woman are about to vanish into the night.

The Darcys seek out the parish magistrate, who is having a difficult evening of his own. Mr. Knightley and his new wife, the former Miss Emma Woodhouse (the heroine of Jane Austen's Emma) are hosting a party to celebrate the marriage of their friends, Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Jane Fairfax. During dinner, Mr. Edgar Churchill, uncle and adoptive father of the groom, falls suddenly ill and dies. The cause of death: poison.

When the Darcys and the Knightleys join forces to investigate the crimes, they discover that the robbery and Edgar Churchill's death may be connected. Together they must work to quickly locate the source of the poison and the murderer's motive—before the killer can strike again.

Author Carrie Bebris continues her literary love letter to Jane Austen with book five of her Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series and, let's be honest, I consider this book to be equally a love letter to me because I love, love, love this series so much.   If you haven't picked up any of the books I cannot encourage you enough to do so.  They can be read out of sequence although the first book does pick up immediately after the wedding of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. 

The best thing about Ms. Bebris' series of books is not only that they remain true to the original characters that Jane Austen conceived but they are delightful cozy mysteries of their own.  You won't find anything objectionable in this book, or any other in the series, and even the most diehard Jane Austen purist will have difficulty finding fault with Ms. Bebris' take on the beloved Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. 

In The Intrigue at Highbury, Darcy and Elizabeth are traveling and passing through the village of Highbury, allowing them to be introduced to the wonderful characters from Emma, and allowing us readers to be reintroduced to them after the joyous marriage of Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse.  The book begins roughly a month after their nuptials and we find Emma just as scheming in her matchmaking plans, Mr. Knightley just as dashing, Mr. Woodhouse as much of a worrier, Miss Bates as much of a talker and Mrs. Elton as pretentious as ever. 

As with the previous books in the series, a mystery abounds and who better than Mr. and Mrs. Darcy to solve it?  No complaints here.  Despite the setting in Highbury, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are most definitely the main characters and they carry this book with aplomb.  The mystery is satisfying, leaving you feeling pleasantly satiated at the conclusion of the book.

I tore through this book quickly, anxious not only for the answer to "whodunnit" but also immensely enjoying the těte á těte with the Darcys.  Ms. Bebris continues to defy the concept that sequels get weaker as they go and she continues to breathe new energy into the busy Pride and Prejudice variation/sequels genre.

As happy as I was to read The Intrigue at Highbury I was sad to bid my beloved Darcys goodbye once more, until Ms. Bebris gifts us with another book.  And good news on that front - - the next book being a take on Persuasion!

I would not hesitate to recommend The Intrigue at Highbury to any reader who is partial to Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and/or cozy mysteries.  In fact, I would highly recommend this book, or any of the books in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries series, and without hesitation.

The Intrigue at Highbury (Or Emma's Match) is available for purchase at major booksellers now, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For more information on author Carrie Bebris, please visit her website.

To read my review of Pride and Prescience (Book 1 in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries series), please go here.

FTC Disclosure: This book was borrowed from my local public library. I was neither compensated nor paid in any way for this review.

1 comment:

MARIA GRAZIA said...

This is one of my first Austenesque reads. Lovely mystery tale with Mr and Mrs Darcy detectives. Next September, Carrie Bebris's 6th novel, inspired to the plot and characters of Persuasion and, again, Mr and Mrs Darcy detectives.