Sunday, August 4, 2019

ARC Review: Pride, Prejudice and Poison by Elizabeth Blake

Pride, Prejudice and Poison
Author: Elizabeth Blake
Series: A Jane Austen Society Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (August 13, 2019)

Description: Perfect for fans of Laura Levine and Stephanie Barron, Elizabeth Blake’s Jane Austen Society mystery debut is a mirthfully morbid merger of manners and murder.

In this Austen-tatious debut, antiquarian bookstore proprietor Erin Coleridge uses her sense and sensibility to deduce who killed the president of the local Jane Austen Society.

Erin Coleridge’s used bookstore in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, England is a meeting place for the villagers and, in particular, for the local Jane Austen Society. At the Society’s monthly meeting, matters come to a head between the old guard and its young turks. After the meeting breaks for tea, persuasion gives way to murder―with extreme prejudice―when president Sylvia Pemberthy falls dead to the floor. Poisoned? Presumably…but by whom? And was Sylvia the only target?

Handsome―but shy―Detective Inspector Peter Hadley and charismatic Sergeant Rashid Jarral arrive at the scene. The long suspect list includes Sylvia’s lover Kurt Becker and his tightly wound wife Suzanne. Or, perhaps, the killer was Sylvia’s own cuckolded husband, Jerome. Among the many Society members who may have had her in their sights is dashing Jonathan Alder, who was heard having a royal battle of words with the late president the night before.

Then, when Jonathan Alder narrowly avoids becoming the next victim, Farnsworth (the town’s “cat lady”) persuades a seriously time-crunched Erin to help DI Hadley. But the killer is more devious than anyone imagines.

My Thoughts: Erin Coleridge runs a used bookstore in Kirkbymoorside, England. She is a poet and a crime buff. She spends a lot of time reading books about forensics. When the president of their chapter of the Jane Austen Society is poisoned, Erin decides to help the police look into it. After all, she knows the characters and the rivalries that plague the Society. DI Peter Hadley and his sergeant Rachid Jarral aren't at all sure they need Erin's help. She was present when Sylvia Pemberthy died and is a suspect herself.

This story is filled with all sorts of colorful characters who have secrets. From marital infidelity to not-so-secret drug addictions and the rivalries for the presidency of the Society, Erin has lots to unravel. The story is also filled with quotations from Jane Austen and comparisons of the characters and their relationships to some of Jane Austen's characters. Never having read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE I found myself missing a lot of the information that would be gained by familiarity with Jane Austen's books.

I liked Erin. I thought she was quite perceptive. I also liked the relationship that grew between Hadley and Erin who was also interested in the secretive new schoolmaster who had come to town and become the focus of all the single ladies.

I think the strength of this one comes from the vivid and interesting assembly of characters. I found the the mystery was less strong. I found the identity of the murderer came as a complete surprise to me.

Favorite Quote:
Over the course of their marriage they had found ways around each other's sharp edges, nestling into the soft places until they fit together like a well-made piece of furniture.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I like all variations if P & A. This sounds like another good one


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