Perfect for fans of Laura Levine and Stephanie Barron, Elizabeth Blake’s Jane Austen Society mystery debut is a mirthfully morbid merger of manners and murder.
In this Austen-tatious debut, antiquarian bookstore proprietor Erin Coleridge uses her sense and sensibility to deduce who killed the president of the local Jane Austen Society.
Erin Coleridge’s used bookstore in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, England is a meeting place for the villagers and, in particular, for the local Jane Austen Society. At the Society’s monthly meeting, matters come to a head between the old guard and its young turks. After the meeting breaks for tea, persuasion gives way to murder—with extreme prejudice—when president Sylvia Pemberthy falls dead to the floor. Poisoned? Presumably...but by whom? And was Sylvia the only target?
Handsome—but shy—Detective Inspector Peter Hadley and charismatic Sergeant Rashid Jarral arrive at the scene. The long suspect list includes Sylvia’s lover Kurt Becker and his tightly wound wife Suzanne. Or, perhaps, the killer was Sylvia’s own cuckolded husband, Jerome. Among the many Society members who may have had her in their sights is dashing Jonathan Alder, who was heard having a royal battle of words with the late president the night before.
Then, when Jonathan Alder narrowly avoids becoming the next victim, Farnsworth (the town’s “cat lady”) persuades a seriously time-crunched Erin to help DI Hadley. But the killer is more devious than anyone imagines.
All is not well in the Jane Austen Society in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, as shown by this winning series launch from Blake, a pseudonym of Carole Bugg (The Haunting of Torre Abbey). Tempers flare during a society meeting at the local church, and the society's newly elected president, Sylvia Pemberthy, soon turns up dead outside the church meeting hall. Suspects include Sylvia's husband and her lover. Then there's Kirkbymoorside's well-preserved aging siren, Hetty Miller, who regarded Sylvia as promiscuous. Meanwhile, Hetty's frumpy best friend, Prudence Pettibone, and Pru's doting husband, Winton, hope Pru will have a shot at the vacant presidency. Bookshop owner Erin Coleridge turns amateur sleuth, enlisting her offbeat friend, Farnsworth Appleby, in her investigation, along with 10-year-old Polly Marlowe. The village is rife with scandals and secrets, as well as both shocking and delightful romances. The reader doesn't have to recognize all the Austen references to appreciate this fine whodunit.