Mar 062010
 

The Darcys and The Knightleys Make a Most Magnificent Sleuthing Team!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

After a month of perfect marital bliss, Emma Knightley is itching once again to try her hand match-making. Her latest victim, Miss Bates, is also being targeted by the pretentious and imperious Mrs. Elton, who has some match-making designs of her own. Emma, more mature and circumspect than she previously was, strives to save Miss Bates from the less than desirable and perhaps doltish prospects Mrs. Elton has in mind by introducing Miss Bates to some eligible bachelors during a dinner party she is hosting in honor of Frank and Jane Churchill’s recent nuptials. (Frank and Jane are marrying in London, but plan to travel to Highbury before removing to the Churchill estate, Enscombe, located in Yorkshire.)

The dinner party commences splendidly and everyone seems to be having a delightful time except for Frank Churchill’s uncle, Edgar Churchill, who has unfortunately imbibed too much wine and is now creating a bit of a ruckus. However, what appears to be a mild case of intoxication ends up being something much more serious and results in the man’s death.

On their way to Sussex to visit the newly married Colonel and Anne Fitzwilliam, Darcy and Elizabeth are robbed by some conspiring and sinister highwaymen in the vicinity of Highbury. The Darcys venture to seek assistance from the parish magistrate of Highbury, Mr. Knightley, in hopes that he may be able to apprehend the thieves and recover the precious heirlooms that were stolen from their carriage.

The night of disastrous dinner party is the same night the Darcys appear on Mr. Knightley’s doorstep. Poor Mr. Knightley now has two mysteries to solve: a robbery and a murder, as Mr. Perry strongly suspects that Edgar Churchill died from the effects of poison. After learning that the Darcys have had some experience with suspicious deaths, what else can Mr. Knightley do but invite them to stay at Donwell and assist with the investigations…

Gypsies, secret engagements, riddles, inheritances-don’t you think Jane Austen’s Emma is wonderfully primed for intrigue? Carrie Bebris cleverly pens a novel that perfectly captures the charm and humor of Emma and infuses it with a riveting and challenging mystery. I immensely enjoyed the camaraderie and easy rapport between the Knightleys and the Darcys and I cannot think of more suitable companion for Emma Knightley than Elizabeth Darcy. The two mysteries were well developed and not at all cliché or predictable. There were many suspects in this investigation and I greatly enjoyed weighing my suspicions and judging their motives for myself.

The Intrigue at Highbury is a fantastic addition to Carrie Bebris’s already outstanding “Mr. And Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series,” and in my humble opinion, it is her best novel yet! One aspect that I loved about this novel is how prominent the characters from Emma were. In Ms. Bebris’s other novels where she integrates characters from multiple Austen novels, usually only a few characters are present and they often have very minor parts. However, in The Intrigue at Highbury we are deeply immersed with many of the delightful and lovable citizens of Highbury and many of them play a very active part in the mysteries.

True to the style of Jane Austen there are a copious amount of laugh out loud moments in this novel such as: long garrulous rambles by Miss Bates, the health concerns and anxieties of Mr. Woodhouse, and narratives that are blended with a very wicked wit. I was very pleased with how clever and Austenesque the writing was in this novel.

To put it simply: I loved The Intrigue of Highbury! I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy Austenesque novels and I greatly look forward to rereading this novel many times in the future. I can hardly wait for Carrie Bebris’s next installment where Mr. and Mrs. Darcy will encounter the characters from Persuasion!

Check out the rest of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series:
Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally Acknowledged
Suspense and Sensibility: Or, First Impressions Revisited  
North by Northager: Or, Pemberley Shades 
The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair

Check out my reviews of North by Northanger and The Matters at Mansfield

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  4 Responses to “The Intrigue at Highbury (Or, Emma’s Match) – Carrie Bebris”

  1.  

    I can’t wait to read this! My copy is the mail. Your review has whetted my appetite. I too am very much looking forward to her Persuasion take. Thanks Meredith!

  2.  

    Were you able to solve the riddles?

  3.  

    Alexa: I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did!

    Brooke: LOL! I only guessed the first one, I’m not that clever at solving riddles!

  4.  

    What a fantastic review, Meredith! I LOVE Carrie Bebris’ series. I haven’t picked this one up yet – – I am so behind in my reading – – but this series has become “must read” for me.
    Thanks for the review. 🙂

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