The Suspicion at Sanditon, the next adventure in Carrie Bebris's award-winning Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery series takes Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen's final work.
There, accompanied by their friend Miss Charlotte Heywood, they encounter an array of eccentric villagers and visitors. Among Sanditon's most prominent residents: Lady Denham, a childless, twice-widowed dowager with a fortune to bequeath and a flight of distant relations circling for a place in her will.
The Darcys have scarcely settled into their lodgings when Lady Denham unexpectedly invites them to a dinner party. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House-but their hostess never appears. As a violent storm rises, a search for Lady Denham begins. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship's would-be heirs has grown impatient .?.?. until the guests start to vanish one by one.
Does a kidnapper lurk in the centuries-old mansion, or is a still more sinister force at work? As the night grows short, the dwelling's population grows thin, and tales of Sanditon House's storied past emerge, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy find themselves leading a desperate effort to discover what has happened to Lady Denham and the missing guests, before they all-perhaps even Elizabeth and Darcy themselves-disappear.
The Regency era's answer to Nick and Nora Charles, the Darcys once again demonstrate their quick wits and signature wit as they search for the truth-universally acknowledged and otherwise.
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Bebris's pleasing seventh Jane Austen homage (after 2011's The Deception at Lyme) takes Fitzwilliam Darcy and his wife, Elizabeth, to the stately home of Lady Denham in the village of Sanditon on the Sussex coast, for a social evening. When their widowed hostess vanishes, the guests speculate on who is to blame perhaps one of Lady Denham's heirs. Or does her going missing have something to do with Mr. Thomas Parker's plans to "make Sanditon a respectable resort that draws families of good character, without the crowds and glamour and problems of the large, highly fashionable places"? The subsequent disappearance of other ladies raises the ante. Once the mystery of what happened to Lady Denham is solved, the true revelations begin. This certainly isn't everyone's cup of souchong, but plenty of Janeites will appreciate this kind of lively and at times tongue-in-cheek Austen-toned escapism.