Monday, May 2, 2022

Review: "The Murder of Mr. Wickham" by Claudia Gray

I love all things Jane Austen, and I am by no means a purist - I will consume anything and everything that could be considered Austen-adjacent. So when I first heard about The Murder of Mr. Wickham, I didn't hesitate to sign up for the blog tour ... without even reading the synopsis first! That turned out to be a fine decision, as this book is simply delightful!

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen's Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, 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 this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

Genre: Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Austenesque
Publisher: ‎Vintage (May 3, 2022)

The Murder of Mr. Wickham finds characters from several Austen novels gathered at a house party at Knightley & Emma's house: Darcy & Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice), Colonel Brandon & Marianne (Sense & Sensibility), Fanny & Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park), and Captain Wentworth & Anne (Persuasion). Also in attendance are the Darcys' eldest son Jonathan and Henry & Catherine Tilney (Northanger Abbey)'s daughter Juliet. When the villainous Wickham shows up - and is shortly, thereafter, murdered - Jonathan and Juliet work together to uncover which member of the house party committed murder.

I loved this story so much! Not only is it fun to check back in with beloved - and not so beloved - Austen characters, but the mystery is well plotted and quite intriguing! I thought Claudia Gray did a wonderful job of staying true to the characters while bringing out their weaknesses that could, potentially, cause them to commit murder. Everyone, save Juliet, had a motive; Jonathan's alibi cleared him immediately, but all of the other guests could have done it. I can't say anything more without divulging some secrets best to be discovered by the reader, but just trust me when I say that the mystery unfolds in an intriguing manner and comes to a satisfactory resolution. I sincerely hope Gray has more Austen-esque novels in her, as I would dearly love to revisit Jonathan and Juliet again! 5 stars.

Now for the fun part ... As someone who has watched practically every Austen movie ever made, I found myself picturing particular actors and sometimes mixing-and-matching from different versions! (I realize that some of these actors have played multiple roles in the Austen-verse ... maybe that's why my brain shifted some of the roles around between versions! For example, Jonny Lee Miller has played both Knightley and Edmund Bertram, and the Edmund I pictured has also played Mr. Elton!)

  • Darcy (Colin Firth, 1995) & Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle, 1995), Wickham (Adrian Lukis, 1995)
  • Knightley (Jonny Lee Miller, 2009) & Emma (Romola Garai, 2009), Frank Churchill (Rupert Evans, 2009), Mr. Elton (Jeremy Sisto, 1995 - yes, from Clueless!)
  • Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman, 1995) & Marianne (Charity Wakefield, 2008)
  • Edmund (Blake Ritson, 2007) & Fanny (Frances O'Connor, 1999)
  • Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds, 1995) & Anne (Sally Hawkins, 2007)
  • Juliet - obviously not in any of the movies, but I pictured her as her mother, Catherine (Felicity Jones, 2007)
  • Jonathan - I had absolutely no mental picture of this man. But then, I rarely picture characters as I read! Gray's versions of these characters were just so spot-on that I couldn't help but picture (and hear) the actors.

Content note: While nothing is explicitly mentioned, the mechanics of a sexual act are pondered a few times. Any curses are noted in the way they used to be - with dashes between the beginning and ending letters.


Claudia Gray
is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Becky. I enjoyed it as well. I t such fun to have many of the main characters from Austen's novel all together under one roof. I hope that the author continues Jonathan & Juliet's story.


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