The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray: 3.5***

I have never read any of Jane Austen’s novels, but thought I would give this blended Jane Austen/Agatha Christie styled book a look and I came away very pleased. Claudia Gray is primarily a YA author who has made a partial transition into historical mystery with the help of most all of the characters of Jane Austen’s novels. This book uses most all the characters from Sense and Sensibility as we delve into a murder of a newly married woman at a welcoming dinner party. Horrors, aghast and social norms be damned. The poor woman both vomits and loses control of her bowels at the home of Lord Middleton. Despite having two constables available to investigate this murder we are lucky to have Mr. Jonathan Darcy and Miss Juliet Tinley in attendance. These two young people, both apparently  under the age of 20, had worked together just a few months ago to help solve another murder, and now they are thrown into this case. Darcy is in town at the invitation of his boarding school nemesis John Willoughby, whose wife was murdered, and he was joined by two other boarding school acquaintances, Ralph Bamber and Laurence Follett,  neither of whom liked John Willoughby. So there are suspects galore, action taking place in numerous locales and all in all you get a highly satisfactory read. This is the 2nd in the series and I hope more are on the way. Even though I know nothing about Jane Austen, her books or characters, this is an extremely readable book, one that Austen fans should enjoy, and folks like me will find interesting and filled with plenty of societal rules that make this one fun read.

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