Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Author: Claudia Gray
Copyright: May 3, 2022
Format: E-Book, 400 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Pastiche, Historical Mystery
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, 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. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.
Newlyweds Mr. Knightley and Emma are hosting a party at Donwell Abbey. In attendance are some of Jane Austen’s most beloved characters living happily ever after: Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, Colonel Brandon and Marianne, and Edmund Bertram and Fanny, among others. In an interesting interconnected web, all the characters are tied together in one way or another. Mr. Knightley is friends with Mr. Darcy, and so on. When the vile Mr. Wickham shows up at the party without an invitation, the situation becomes remarkably worse. Everyone seems to agree that he is unpleasant to be around. After he is found suddenly murdered, Juliet Tilney (daughter of Mr. Tilney and Catherine) and Jonathan Darcy (the son of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth) must work together to discover who the murderer is. She agrees to work with him despite the fact that she finds him to be snobbish and standoffish. Will they uncover the truth behind the murder?
This is a must-read for anyone who loves Jane Austen. In fact, this extremely well-written novel is a love letter to the wonderful characters she created. Since it has a full cast of characters, it is difficult to zero in on all of them. Those I particularly enjoyed were Emma, Juliet, and, of course, the rapscallion Mr. Wickham. No matter where he goes, he just spreads trouble. The characterization of Elizabeth Darcy comes across as a bit flat, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and intrigue. The overall pace is steady, and the story grabbed my attention from the first page. This was such a fun read. I hope that Claudia Gray will write another!
Originally featured on the History Novel Society website.