Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Deception at Lyme: Or, the Peril of Persuasion is the sixth installment in Carrie Bebris’s critically acclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. This magnificent and long-running series is a collection of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, that place our dear Mr. and Mrs. and many situations of mystery, murder, and mayhem. After the first of the book in the series, Pride and Prescience, Carrie Bebris begins to combine characters from different Jane Austen novels. It is such enormous fun to see the Darcys encounter the happily married Brandons, Knighleys, and Wentworths and solve mysteries together with them! For prospective readers who have not read this series, it might help to know these books do not need to be read in order. Also, while the first two deal with a good amount of supernatural elements and powers, none exist in this installment.
After spending some time in Highbury, the Darcys travel to Lyme for a brief holiday with Georgiana and their daughter, Lily-Anne. As we might remember from Jane Austen’s novel, the Cobb can be a very dangerous place, especially on a windy day with a storm coming in…or especially if someone wanted to do somebody harm and make it look like an accident. Darcy and Elizabeth are magnets for murder mysteries, so of course they are the ones to find Mrs. Clay lying unconscious at the base of the Cobb. Their discovery leads to them meeting the Harvilles, Wentworths, and Elliots, and becoming quite embroiled in their affairs…
While in Lyme, the Darcys meet Lieutenant St. Clair who delivers the personal effects of Gerard Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy’s cousin who died in action serving in the Navy. The chest contains a diary, whose contents lead Darcy to suspect that his cousin’s death might have been intentional…
– Is Mrs. Clay’s baby the next Elliot heir?
– Did Mr. Elliot have something to do with Mrs. Clay’s fall?
– Was Gerard Fitzwilliam murdered?
Hats off to you, Ms. Bebris! The Deception at Lyme is another well-constructed, balanced, informative, and engrossing mystery! There is so much happening in these novels – the integration of characters from different novels, the continuation of previous established story-lines, the introduction of new characters, the inclusion relevant historical content, some adventure, danger, and romance, and at least two mysteries that may or may not be connected! I applaud Ms. Bebris for effectively and skillfully bringing all these components together and creating a multifaceted, compelling, and thoroughly entertaining story.
As always with any Carrie Bebris mystery, my favorite part of the novel is witnessing these reverently depicted characters interact with each other – I loved witnessing how impressed Sir Walter was with Darcy’s illustrious connections (and how unimpressed both the Darcys were with him!) It was lovely to see Anne and Elizabeth form a quick bond over their mutual compassion for others and concern for Mrs. Clay’s baby. And…be still my heart…seeing Darcy and Wentworth together…in action – solving mysteries, going after the murder…We definitely need more of that! 🙂 *sigh*
Another aspect I enjoyed in this novel was seeing Georgiana have a little romance. I thoroughly enjoyed her story-line and seeing how far she has come since her near elopement with Wickham. I loved seeing her depicted as a stronger and more independent young lady. In addition, I found the conclusion of her story-line (actually all the story-lines) to be immensely satisfying. I really couldn’t ask for anything more fitting or pleasing.
When I read a novel by Carrie Bebris I cannot help but admire and appreciate the amount of work and research put into its formation. Not only are the mysteries unpredictable and well-constructed, they are supported by a richly detailed and researched backdrop. Having read all six books of this series so far, you can definitely say I’m a fan of her work. I’m elated to discover that a new novel by Carrie Bebris is in the works – The Suspicion at Sanditon (Or, The Disappearance of Lady Denham) How awesome that she is including Sanditon?!? *Squeeeee*