Murder at Longbourn
An Elizabeth Parker Mystery by Tracy Kiely
Review: Tracy Kiely introduces amateur sleuth Elizabeth Parker in the lively and clever Murder at Longbourn.
Elizabeth needs a vacation from her lackluster job, her sisters who constantly call urging her to find a guy before it's too late (she is, after all, 27 years old), a diet rich in everything but nutrition, and a boyfriend who has been two-timing her. In short, she needs a vacation from her life. It comes in the form of yellow post-it note from her great Aunt Winnie, inviting her to join a "How to Host a Murder Party" New Year's Eve. The party will be held at Aunt Winnie's new Cape Cod bed-and-breakfast. Elizabeth gratefully and eagerly accepts. The guests at the party include a couple staying at the B&B, a family of three plus a friend, and two women new to the village. A cast of five actors are hired to perform and subsequently stage a "murder". It is the role of the guests to identify the "murderer." The guests and cast are able to mingle during the dinner party, with the actual "play" to begin at 9:00 p.m. and conclude at the stroke of midnight. Some are excited about the party, others not so much. When the lights go out and a scream is heard, there is excitement throughout the room. A "murder" has been committed! When the lights came back on, however, much to the surprise of everyone present, it was not a cast member that was "killed", but one of the guests … the family man is dead. As planned there has been a murder, but not the one anticipated. Now the cast are the spectators and the guests are the show.
The police are called immediately. The cast of actors are permitted to leave as they would have no motive to kill one of the guests. As it turns out every guest, save Elizabeth, intensely disliked the man, including his wife and daughter. They all had a motive for murder. The police sergeant in charge of the investigation centers his attention on Aunt Winnie, deciding she has most to gain. Elizabeth is determined to prove her aunt is innocent no matter what evidence the police believe they have. When another one of the guests is later found dead in her home, some pressure is taken off Aunt Winnie as a suspect. Still, despite two dead bodies, Elizabeth keeps hoping this is all some sort of prank. The police cannot see how the two murders are related, and it's only when Elizabeth looks into the matters further, that she jeopardizes not only her own life but the lives of those she loves.
The author effectively recreates a drawing room style mystery in a bed-and-breakfast on Cape Cod, complete with an eccentric cast of characters and plenty of motives for murder. Even the town setting has an English village quality to it. To keep things modern, a bit of unrequited romance in introduced with Aunt Winnie playing matchmaker and inviting Peter McGowan to be present, a boy Elizabeth knew as a teenager. Finally, the literary references (Aunt Winnie is a fan of Jane Austen) are also a welcome addition to the nicely developed plot of Murder at Longbourne, which should be on all cozy fans' "must read" list this year.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Murder at Longbourn.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Murder at Longbourn for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Murder on the Bride's Side
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), August 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312537579; ISBN-10: 0312537573
Location(s) referenced in Murder at Longbourn: Massachusetts
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Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely — An Elizabeth Parker Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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