Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: North by Northanger by Carrie Bebris

I had planned on combining my two reviews, but the Amazon links using images kept messing up the format on the page. It was very annoying. So, we'll do this one at a time.

North by Northanger by Carrie Bebris

The third in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series. Now...this was a somewhat odd one, and a little different from the last.

We start out with Elizabeth adjusting herself to life at Pemberley, and dealing with the usual things associated with pregnancy. Her biggest challenge at the moment is the hold the former Mrs. Darcy seems to have over the servants; Elizabeth cannot even move a writing desk without getting odd looks. However, in doing so, she discovers a letter Darcy's mother wrote before she died in childbirth, written for the future Mrs. Darcy, telling of a precious treasure hidden that she should find. Elizabeth is intrigued, but Darcy has more concrete concerns: he wants to engage a London doctor to attend Elizabeth when she gives birth. Though reluctant they head to Bath to meet the doctor, who is on vacation there.
Not only does Elizabeth have to deal with Lady Catherine "Don't tell me you're breeding!" "I prefer the term carrying.", but they also receive an odd note from a Captain Tilney, who says his mother was friends with Darcy's mother. They decide to visit him once their time in Bath is over. However, when they get to his home, Northanger Abbey, they find him bandaged, no one but one housekeeper named Dorothy, and very odd questions coming from the strange man. They leave the next day, only for policemen to come to their room at the inn and discover diamonds in a hollow of Darcy's cane. Darcy is put in the gaol, Elizabeth has to summon Lady Catherine to get him out, and they discover Captain Tilney was killed weeks before they had arrived at Northanger Abbey. The questions: who did they meet instead, why did they frame Darcy, and does this have anything to do with Darcy's mother and her treasure? Darcy and Henry Tilney deal with the first two while Elizabeth deals with the latter, and Lady Catherine's unpleasantness.
This was a bit more convoluted, yet at the same time it was easy to figure out at least two of the perps just by the impostor captain's manner of speaking. I also appreciated the brief element of supernatural; not overpowering but perhaps better that way. The doctor (Severn; you can tell what kind of guy that is) was appropriately snobbish and confining to the high-spirited Elizabeth, Lady Catherine was horrific, and Darcy was overly protective, which I thought is probably how he would be. I could have wished for more Henry Tilney, and it would have been nice for Catherine to have a cameo. Still, another fun offering but not quite as light-hearted, I think.

P.S. The formatting seems to be working fine now. I'll use the excuse and blame demons in the Interwebz lines.

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