Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Winter Reading 2021 Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1)


If you enjoy Jane Austen's characters and seeing them in variations on the original story (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, anyone?) you should give this new series a try. Lizzie's father is a barrister and she wants to work by his side, even take over the practice when he retires - but a female practicing law is just not done. Determined to prove to her father and everyone else that she has the skills for the job, she takes on the case of Charles Bingley and sets out to prove his innocence. Bingley's best friend Darcy is the heir to a successful law office and is already on his friend's case. Sparks fly. Banter and verbal sparring occur. And we wait for everything to be resolved (happily, we hope), before the last page.

Readers of historical fiction will notice that a few liberties were taken to transplant the story into the legal arena rather than sticking to ballrooms and house parties, but those changes can be forgiven and are explained in the author's note. This version of Elizabeth Bennet is still close to her father, determined not to marry her mother's choice, dislikes her father's heir, and finds Mr. Darcy infuriating. Social customs such as calling cards and subscription dances at public assembly halls help bring the time period to life. Lizzie's use of street children is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street Irregulars. For those who have read the original, the motivations of the characters and hidden relationships between them may provide a few clues to the mystery's solution, but newcomers to the world of Austen will not be hampered in their enjoyment.

Future books Sense and Second-Degree Murder and Manslaughter Park are planned for the next year or two, so there is more mystery and good manners to look forward to.  For now, Pride and Premeditation is due out on April 6th - so get ready.

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