The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray ~ 400 pages ~ to be published May 3, 2022 by Vintage
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In a tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.
What I Thought:
*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing/Vintage for this ARC!*
A mashup of all of Jane Austen’s heroes and heroines in one murder mystery romp? Sign me up!! This was such a fun read and such a creative idea! I loved getting to see the main characters of Austen’s different novels interact with one another and try to solve the mystery of who offed Mr. Wickham (which, let’s all be honest, we have all fantasized about at least once!)
The way that the author wove all of these characters together to have them end up in one house was nothing short of masterful. I loved seeing the characters interact and hear what opinions they had about one another. It was such a creative and fun idea, and I wish I had thought of it myself. I enjoyed getting to see what the marriages of these famous couples look like after that final page.
I really liked the mystery in this book. I felt that the author did a great job of keeping you on your toes and constantly guessing as to who killed Mr. Wickham. Also, just the act of killing off one of the worst villains in Austen’s novels was a sinister joy in and of itself 😏
I enjoyed the two characters that were added to the story: Juliet Tilney (daughter of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney) and Jonathan Darcy (son of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet). Their partnership in trying to solve this murder was so much fun. I enjoyed that they each had aspects of their parents present in their character, but that they were also their own unique person as well.
I thought that Jonathan Darcy was very interesting in that I am fairly sure that the author was hinting heavily that he might be on the autism spectrum. He had a hard time with social queues and norms, physical touch, and self-soothing behaviors. It makes me wonder if she was insinuating that his father, Mr. Darcy himself, might have been somewhere on the spectrum himself, which would actually make a lot of sense. I thought this was an interesting thing to include, as talk of mental illness was certainly not the norm in this time period.
The mystery was well crafted. The intermingling of these beloved characters was masterful and heartwarming. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and would love to see another book like this one. Maybe we can kill off Willoughby next? 😉
I gave The Murder of Mr. Wickham 4 Stars!
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Are you a fan of retellings? Which Jane Austen novel is your favorite? Who do you think would be the killer? Let’s chat in the comments!
Love and happy reading,