The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy - Does the term false advertising mean ANYTHING to you?

The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery - Regina Jeffers

I'm torn on my rating for this. I'll agree that compared to The Phantom of Pemberley, this is the better mystery. (Don't ask about the rating on that; I think I was suffering some brain thing because I would not rate it that now.) I like it better then Vampire Darcy's Desire (which on the the other hand is infinitely better then Mr. Darcy, Vampyre - both of which I've read but not reviewed yet). The writing is not bad and over all the characters both known and new were good...yet...Well, here goes.


First off, the title is a misnomer if not a lie, this is not the Darcy you are looking for. Rather this is Mr. Darcy's cousin, Samuel Darcy who is dead and Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth travel to start setting his affairs in order while the other heir is unable to travel as she's in the family way. The Darcys hope to be able to have a honeymoon (which I'm unsure even existed at the time in the form we know it and it appears here) by the sea while taking care of this business, but soon find themselves caught in a quagmire of deceit, distress, and death. The body is missing, his house seems to be run by thieves - or worse, and no one seems to give them a straight answer. Soon bodies are piling up (though none are their cousin's) and Darcy sends for Colonel Fitzwillaim. But even with people around them they can finally trust, our two favorite characters are in danger both from enemies without and tensions arising between themselves.


Before I get into the issues of the story and mystery, let me address the characters. By and large, I found Darcy and Elizabeth to be in character. LIzzy is six month into her role as wife and mistress of Pemberley and she walks a great line between being herself and comporting herself as her role requires. Some of this comes from Darcy; he clearly trusts her and also wants her to remain the woman he fell in love with. We get to see them truly work together in this book and those times were some of the best in the whole text. Darcy too is both the man we knew and different, changed as he's learned to be part of a couple. He clearly still keeps control of all in his purview (those things that are possible anyway), but he also trusts Lizzy's opinions. I do have one problem that other reviewers apparently had; Darcy does seem to be a when Elizabeth is out of his site. While one could argue, largely successfully I think, that this is due to the dangerous situation they find themselves in, it does get a bet excessive at times.


Colonel Fitzwilliam was exceptional here. Everything we knew before was built on, not in crazy ways but in a logical manner. He plays a very important role and both Elizabeth and Darcy rely on him heavily. As for the characters the author created, none gave a bad showing. I found all of them believable, well fit into the story, However, literally every single character was suspicious at one point or another in the narrative and there were simply so many that the author had to put in a list of characters at the front (more on that later).


The story structure was not bad. It flowed steadily and the author gave a capable rendition of period writing. It was not perfect, but not the worst I've ever seen by far. She likewise made it quite a page turner. However, there were some issues with the vocabulary. Certain words chosen did not ring precisely true to the time; looking back, I can't point to any specific part but there were at least half a dozen instances that I remember thinking a word didn't seem to fit the time period.


*Sigh* I really don't want to touch this: the mystery. I will try to say what I need to without spoilers, but there might be a couple hidden sections.


I've read two her previous books - The Phantom of Pemberley and Vampire Darcy's Desire - and I've always been impressed by how much research she does. Particularly Vampire, where she weaves English myth and superstitions into an...almost believable story. Here was no different; she clearly researched crimes, society, beach bathing of the time, superstitions surrounding witchcraft and so much more. One of the reasons I really liked this book was how much this work showed...except that i knew enough about some of the subjects to guess what was going on. The moment witchcraft/superstitions were mentioned, I knew they would play a part because of the previous books. However, it was in the multitude of bodies and other elements where she showed her crime research. I had the most likely sources pegged early on.

Mrs. Ridgeway was pretty obvious. The vast amount of dead men, the vicar knowing the men were searching for an older woman widow, and just the character herself adn how she reacted reminded me not just of Belle Gunness (as the Note say) but another case where a woman used poison to get money from the deaths of her poisoned family members. The Witchcraft thing was a good section of the mystery - mostly Red Herring - but any reader who knows crime history should recognize the sources. The only real part that threw me was her connection with the magistrate. I did guess her sons though.

(show spoiler)

My main issue is, however, the same as Phantom; the author does not give us a true mystery because in the end she cheats. She cheats twice over in this one and I was less then thrilled for most of the conclusion.

The character aiding Mrs. Ridgeway not only is mentioned maybe twice and never really appears, but he is not even listed in her 'extensive' character list. Excuse me? If a mystery gives you a character list, the killer/co-conspiritor/etc. had better be on it. Otherwise, you haven't hidden a clue; you've destroyed one. Also, A CHARACTER INTRODUCED AT THE LAST MINUTE WHO IS THE KILLER MAKES THIS STORY CEASE TO BE A MYSTERY. It's trickery or a thriller, but to call it a mystery is false advertising.

(show spoiler)

This book is over all...not bad. The research is quite good, as is her characterizations. However, both mysteries she's written I've not only guessed, but they weren't even mysteries in the truest sense. I own the other two books of her's I've read and I play to buy this one as well as try out her Captain Wentworth book. However, I hope to see her efforts continue to improve as I feel she can do so much better.


Also, please look up what it takes to make a mystery an actual mystery!