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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

How to Stop a Murder

In which the reader wonders if it might not be ok if the murderer actually succeeds?

The Perils of Lady Catherine de Bourgh by Claudia Gray 

Stars: 4.5

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC

When I saw this on NetGalley, I couldn’t push the request button fast enough. Then I just prayed to the publishing gods that they would give me this ARC. Thankfully, dear reader, my gods were with me and in no time, I had this downloaded straight to the Kindle. I was able to read The Late Mrs. Willoughby last year, the second in the mystery series featuring Jonathan Darcy and Juliet Tilney, the children Pemberely and Northanger Abbey. Two young people who always seem to be around to help solve a murder. 

In the latest installment, there actually has not been a murder yet, instead there have been a few attempts on the life of Jonathan’s great aunt, the imperious Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lady Catherine has summoned Jonathan and his father as well as Juliet and her father to Rosing Park and charges them with finding her possible assassin, and quickly. So Jonathan and Juliet begin their investigation and the reader is reintroduced to Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lucas Collins, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Anne de Bourgh, as well as the Collins’ two children, Katy (Catherine) and Deb (deBourgh). Jonathan and Juliet eventually figure out who was trying to snuff out Lady Catherine but along the way they grow closer and reaffirm within themselves the warm feelings they have for each other. We also get to see Mr. Darcy being imperious and Elizabeth Bennett reminding him of his prideful ways. 

There are many books that have taken the world of Austen and imagined what happened after all the characters' stories ended but it is a fine balance to keep the original ethos of the time while appealing to the modern reader. Claudia Gray walks this tightrope so well; the dialogue and emotions expressed (or not as the case may be) between the characters feels appropriate to the nineteenth century but she moves the story along with a twenty-first century prose that keeps the reader fully engaged with the story. I’m just in love with this series, I can’t wait for the next installment (though I am guessing it will be awhile) and I hope that maybe our next visit might be to Hartfield? 

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