Bookstore owner Erin Coleridge seeks the scoundrel who silenced a conference’s keynote speaker in Elizabeth Blake’s second charming Jane Austen Society mystery.
When the quaint English town of York hosts a Jane Austen Society conference, bookseller Erin Coleridge is glad to get out of Kirkbymoorside for a while–until featured speaker Barry Wolf suddenly perishes from what appears to be a heart attack.
Erin is suspicious, since Barry had no history of heart disease. But who did him in? Was it the decedent’s assistant, Stephen, who was observed chatting to Barry’s young wife Luca earlier that night? Might it have been Barry’s ex-wife Judith, who was seen arguing with her erstwhile betrothed at the bar? Meanwhile, conference co-chairs Hetty and Prudence have been at one another’s throat since the conference. Is one of them the culprit?
Matters of the heart are putting Erin off her guard. Both Detective Inspector Peter Hemming and schoolteacher Jonathan Alder have made gestures of romantic interest, but Erin isn’t sure who is her Willoughby and who is her Colonel Brandon. DI Hemming tries to persuade Erin that her entanglement in the murder investigation is far from sensible, but his entreaties come to naught. Dauntlessly, Erin joins forces with Kirkbymoorside’s cat lady, Farnsworth, to ferret out the guilty party.
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.