Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Austenesque
Publisher: Vintage (May 3, 2022)
Length: (400) pages
Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook
A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.
“Had Jane Austen sat down to write a country house murder mystery, this is exactly the book she would have written. Devotees of Austen’s timeless novels will get the greatest possible pleasure from this wonderful book. Immense fun and beautifully observed. Delicious!” —Alexander McCall Smith
“What a splendid conceit! . . . Gray provides plenty of backstory and enough depth to her characters that even those who mix up their Pride and Prejudice with their Sense and Sensibility will delight in the Agatha Christie–style mystery. . . . There’s so much fun to be had in this reimagined Austen world—and the mystery is so strong—that one can only hope, dear reader, that more books will follow.” —Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred review)
“[An] enchanting mystery. . . . Gray perfectly captures the personalities of Austen’s beloved characters. This is a real treat for Austenites.” —Publishers Weekly
“Who would NOT want to read a book in which one of literature’s most notorious rakes meets his final demise? . . . A delightful Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen romp.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.
Fans of Jane Austen will enjoy following the lives of the characters as they grow into marriage and family. Mr. Darcy, Mr, Wickham, the Knightleys are all included in the lineup. The Knightleys are hosting a house party with bachelors and debutantes as well as married guests. Claudia Gray fleshes out each character and their interactions, inner thoughts in varying perspectives. Each carries their own story line. Pride and Prejudice meets Clue in a whodunnit mystery. Readers will have to tease out motive, inner conflict and marital strife.
I enjoyed hearing from all of our beloved literary heroes and villains. In the beginning it took me a bit to sort out who is who and what is what, but things smooth out as the story develops. It is interesting to trace their lives forward to see how relationships evolve over time. Atmospheric tension and conflict with an air of mystery spur on the slow moving plot. Readers of Emma and Austen will love this! Thank you to the author, publisher and AustenPR for the complimentary copy of The Murder of Mr. Wickham for the tour.