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review 2015-12-26 21:58
The Suspicion at Sanditon Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy, #7)
The Suspicion at Sanditon Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham - Carrie Bebris

I struggled at the beginning with this one; partially, I'm sure, because Sanditon is the only one of Austen's works I haven't read.  This made it very difficult for me to keep track of all the characters (there's a lot of them).  

 

Elizabeth and Darcy find themselves at Sanditon on the behest of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is considering an investment in Sanditon's development as a resort for families of good quality.  An impromptu dinner invitation from Lady Denham lands them in the middle of a mess that begins with Lady Denham's disappearance.

 

Once I sorted out the who's who and got past the story setup, the book became a lot of fun.  We have a large important house, a terrible storm, a missing Lady, and a bit of a locked room mystery vibe from the whole thing, with just a touch of the gothic.  Some of the reveal was a bit silly but not enough for me to roll my eyes.

 

Has the author has kept true to the real Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy?  Certainly I thought so when I read her first book, Pride and Prescience.  But I've read all 7 of them and after 7 books I can't say the two of them haven't become Bebris' own characters in some ways.  This book is also told in the 3 person narrative, so we actually spend a lot of time with the others, and overall, the reader gets very little time with either Darcy or Elizabeth.  Bebris has an afterward at the end that talks about how she studied Sanditon by accessing and studying Austen's original manuscript.  I imagine this allowed her to remain true to the other characters as well, even as she speculated about what kind of people they might have been had Austen lived to complete the work.

 

I'm curious whether Bebris will continue on with this series; she's run out of novels and manuscripts to use for characters and settings.  This would be the logical place to bring things to a close, but if she comes out with another I might give it a try.

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text 2015-08-07 00:53
TBR Thursday - Aug. 7
The Suspicion at Sanditon Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham - Carrie Bebris
The Veil - Chloe Neill
Malice at the Palace - Rhys Bowen
In the Drink - Allyson K. Abbott
Murder in the Paperback Parlor - Ellery Adams
Revenge of the Chili Queens - Kylie Logan
Crushed Velvet - Diane Vallere
Fudging the Books - Daryl Wood Gerber

6 new books so far this week (every chance MT will bring home more today - it's release week for a lot of books).  Two more just arrived - so 8 new ones.  I've only read 2 books off the Cliffs of TBR, so they got a bit higher.  Much more of this and the characters at the top of the piles will be reporting snow fall.

 

The Suspicion at Sanditon (Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham)  - Carrie Bebris 

The Veil - Chloe Neill 

Malice at the Palace - Rhys Bowen 

In the Drink - Allyson K. Abbott 

Murder in the Paperback Parlor - Ellery Adams 

Revenge of the Chili Queens  - Kylie Logan

Crushed Velvet - Diane Vallere 

Fudging the Books - Daryl Wood Gerber 

 

Total TBR books (physical):  135 137

 

Far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books, than thy purse full of money. ~John Lyly

 

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review 2013-10-12 00:40
The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)
The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion - Carrie Bebris This is the sixth in the Mr and Mrs Darcy series. Bebris takes the married Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and sets them down before various settings and characters of Jane Austen's other novels, involving them in various mysteries for them to investigate and solve. And since no Austen novel is second in my affection to Persuasion, you can imagine my anticipation knowing The Deception at Lyme would deal with those characters. It was delightful to meet the Elliots again. Sir Walter Elliot and his eldest daughter are pitch perfect in their pompous snobbery. I enjoyed the company of Anne Elliot, now Mrs Wentworth. Mary, the youngest daughter, is her manipulative, self-pitying passive aggressive self. Mrs Clay and William Elliot are as shady as one could wish. Even such minor characters as the Harvilles and Mrs Smith are very recognizable. And as with the last mystery involving the characters of Emma, The Intrigue at Highbury, the major characters of the book are very central here--more so than in books prior. This feels very much a sequel to Persuasion, with those characters along a path I could easily see them taking. I like this more than the last Bebris mystery based on Austen however. If there's one thing I thought the last book missed compared with the others, is that there was little at stake for the Darcys compared to the ones before. In the case of this book, however, the Darcys bring Fitzwilliam's sister Georgiana with them to Lyme. There she gets involved with two possible suitors both of whom may have been involved with murder. That of Mrs Clay, found injured at the book's beginning, and the possible murder of Darcy's cousin Lieutenant Gerard Fitzwilliam aboard HMS Magna Carta some years earlier. I liked how both mysteries were developed and resolved, keeping me guessing to the end. Bebris can't match Austen in quality, no. (But who does?) But she can write the characters with a convincing voice and apt characterization. Nor does she match, say, a Josephine Tey or Agatha Christie with brilliant plots. What these novels are, for me, are comfort reads. Works I really enjoy immersing myself in, like visiting with old friends. Add to that a good touch with the historical detail and the element of romance, I do find these books a pleasure. So I'm happy there's a hint at the end they'll continue, even though Bebris has now made her rounds through the world of Austen's six novels.
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review 2013-10-12 00:30
The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma's Match (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)
The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma's Match - Carrie Bebris I liked this, but not as much as the earlier Darcy mysteries. The conceit of this series is that Jane Austen's Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice become involved in a series of mysteries--ones that involved characters and places involving Austen's other novels. In this case, it's Emma. A blurb just inside the cover calls this one "the most faithful sequel to Austen" and I'd agree actually. In the other books, we tend to deal only tangentally with the characters of the other books--not usually the major ones. In this one though, Emma and her Mr Knightly are front and center and the familiar characters from the novel--Reverend and Mrs Elton, Miss Bates, Frank and Jane Churchill are intimately involved--indeed the central mystery involves the murder of Frank's uncle and guardian who had come to his wedding. I can't fault Bebris' characterizations. It's her appeal for me, that it's so much like visiting old friends to read her Mr and Mrs Darcy. I thought her (still) matchmaking Emma and (still) vain and arrogant Mrs Elton to be truly pitch perfect, conjuring the characters very much in my mind and I agree with the reviewer that Bebris is wonderful at mining Emma in weaving together a mystery. (Gypsies ho!) The banter between the Darcys still sparkles. By and large I also like that like the last book, The Matters of Mansfield, there's no fantasy element as there was in the first three mysteries and seemed so out of keeping with Jane Austen. The mystery plot is well-paced and kept me intrigued to the end. And I like the element of romance that is usually so much a part of these books. I think if this is my least favorite of this series to date, it's because so much less is at stake for the Darcys in this book. In the first book, Pride and Prescience, their sister-in-law was in danger, in the second, Suspense and Sensibility, Elizabeth's sister was involved. In North by Northanger, Elizabeth was pregnant, dealing with coming into her own as mistress of Pemberly and her husband was endangered. In the last book, The Matters at Mansfield, again people in their family were involved. In this case, nothing more personal than stolen baptismal clothes are at stake for the Darcys, and so they're involved purely as sleuths. I did enjoy this, however, and will eagerly pounce on the next in the series. (Especially since it involves Persuasion, my favorite Austen book.)
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review 2013-10-12 00:15
The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)
The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair - Carrie Bebris This was the first Mr and Mrs Darcy mystery by Bebris I read, which may account for my affection for it. I'm not claiming Bebris is Austen's peer in writing, but I think any book I enjoyed as much as this deserves high marks. I enjoyed the Darcys' company quite a bit here, and this is a good solid read, and a strong outing if you compare it not to Austen, but to the usual historical or "cozy" mystery you'd find in stores. I admit another reason I loved it so much is I have a soft spot for poor Anne de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice. Having Lady Catherine de Bourgh for a mother is a trial indeed, so I quite enjoyed a book that allowed her to get out from under her overbearing mother. Strictly as a mystery this had enough action and twist and turns to have satisfied me even if you changed the names of the characters and cut all the ties to Jane Austen's characters. And the previous books had an element of the supernatural that I never felt really fit Austen--even if they often were rather cleverly interwoven into the mysteries. So I liked the absence of that element to the plot here. Reading these is like spending time with old friends.
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