Fall is coming, and with it crackling fireplaces, hot mugs steaming with comfort, a favorite chair and good books for long reads through dark and stormy nights. Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely is the perfect companion to this scene: a mystery that cleverly combines the best of Jane Austen and the English cozy.
Murder at Longbourn is a well-crafted murder mystery at a Cape Cod inn, where a theatrical murder mystery weekend becomes the real thing:
Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. The invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a “How to Host a Murder Party” on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B&B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved Aunt Winnie of suspicion. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must also contend with her childhood nemesis, Peter McGowan, and her suspicions about his family’s interest in Winnie’s inn. Given the circumstances, is it any wonder her resolution to achieve inner poise is in tatters?
The pacing is excellent, there’s a nice mix of easy and difficult clues, and the main characters are very likeable. I couldn’t put it down and look forward to more of Elizabeth’s adventures in the next book in the series, Murder on the Bride’s Side.
As a tribute to Jane Austen, there are many references and characters to discover and savor. Fans of Pug will either be amused or shocked by his cameo. (I laughed.) The less familiar one is with Agatha Christie novels, the more surprising the plot twists will be but even if the twists are familiar to the seasoned Christie fan, they are deftly handled and enjoyable.
Murder at Longbourn is the perfect first course in your fall reading banquet. This light murder mystery will stimulate your appetite for reading with the perfect blend of action, suspense, a little well-placed romance for spice, and seasoned throughout with humor. Bon Appetit!