(by Kelly Yanke Deltenar of www.examiner.com)
The Phantom of Pemberley by Regina Jeffers is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with a murder mystery twist. And although I’ve read Jeffers before (all of her other books, as a matter of fact) I was skeptical. Extremely skeptical. I was skeptical to the point of being afraid of reading the book because I had very high expectations.
Well, dear reader, I am happy to report that not only does Jeffers deliver for the Austen fan; she delivers for the “cozy” crowd as well.
Jeffers begins the book by dropping us into Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam’s lives a little over a year after they’ve been married. Things are going well, even an impending visit from Lydia Wickham can’t ruin their idyllic setting until a winter squall strikes and several travelers are forced to stay at Pemberley for a duration to ride the storm out.
Characters both from the original book by Austen and new characters created by Jeffers are presented and fleshed out for us to enjoy. Happily (or unhappily for the Darcy’s) Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh are part of the refugees when the storm strikes so the tension is set at a fever pitch.
In a very deliberate fashion, each of the guests has some relation to each other, although all are thought to be strangers other than those of direct relation to the Darcys. It is a wonderful set up and the tension builds as you turn the pages.
Almost immediately the mystery begins when a shadow figure appears to be stalking the grounds. Then the bodies start piling up. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the murders which leads the guest to believe there may be more than one killer on the loose.
Trapped because of the storm and impassable roads, the guests are forced to remain at Pemberley. Because help can’t reach Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to discover who the murderer is before another victim is taken.
Interwoven with the mystery and intrigue are genuine love stories, courtship and even some play acting presented by the guests. Jeffers had me convinced I was in an Austen novel, even if it was in another universe.
4 out of 5 stars!
The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery
[originally released by Ulysses Press on July 1, 2010]
[ReReleased March 19, 2021]
HAPPILY MARRIED for over a year and more in love than ever, Darcy and Elizabeth can’t imagine anything interrupting their bliss-filled days. Then an intense snowstorm strands a group of travelers at Pemberley, and terrifying accidents and mysterious deaths begin to plague the manor. Everyone seems convinced that it is the work of a phantom—a Shadow Man who is haunting the Darcy family’s grand estate.
Darcy and Elizabeth believe the truth is much more menacing and that someone is attempting to murder them. But Pemberley is filled with family guests as well as the unexpected travelers—any one of whom could be the culprit—so unraveling the mystery of the murderer’s identity forces the newlyweds to trust each other’s strengths and work together.
Written in the style of the era and including Austen’s romantic playfulness and sardonic humor, this suspense-packed sequel to Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy and Elizabeth as a husband-and-wife detective team who must solve the mystery at Pemberley and catch the murderer—before it’s too late.