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THE DECEPTION AT LYME:OR THE PERIL OF PERSUASION
by Carrie Brebis
Tor Books, September 2011
303 pages
$22.99
ISBN: 076532797X


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the sixth installment of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series, the Darcy family is at Lyme on holiday. They are there with Fitzwilliam's younger sister, Georgiana and their young daughter, Lily-Anne. The Darcy family hopes to take in the waters and enjoy the scene. In addition to their vacation, they plan to meet with an officer who has the personal effects of Gerald, a distant cousin. While it has been several years since Gerald death, this was the first time the officer had leave to meet with them and return the goods in person.

Yet, Elizabeth has a nose for trouble and shortly after their arrival, overhears an argument between what she presumes is a married couple. Little does she know the importance of what she overhears. Later, while walking near the water, she discovers the body of Mrs. Clay, one of the people in the argument. As Mrs. Clay is still alive, she is taken to the nearest suitable lodging to get out of the rain and have her injuries looked at. Before a doctor arrives, Mrs. Clay goes into labor. While the baby is safely delivered, Mrs. Clay does not survive the event. Both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam attempt to notify Mrs. Clay's protector but quickly realize that Mrs. Clay's history is much more complicated than expected. As there was a wedding the day before and Mrs. Clay is in fact Lady Elliot and her former protector is now her brother-in-law.

Meanwhile, they finally have their meeting to gain Gerald's trunk. Much to their surprise they discover that they have meet the man before although they had not been introduced. Captain Frederick Wentworth had prevented Georgiana from slipping on the wet ground. Later, once Fitzwilliam has the opportunity to read through Gerald's diary, he fears that Gerald's death was in fact murder. He turns to Frederick to explain the situation. The two men agree that it was murder and begin looking into the situation in more depth. Luckily several of the key players from the battle, in which Gerald lost his life, are in Lyme awaiting their next berth.

As Elizabeth saw Mrs. Clay's child into the world, she remains concerned about the child and interested in its care. This leads her to play a much larger role in the investigation of Mrs. Clay's death than she might originally had anticipated. To the surprise of both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam, there are several connections between the two deaths and their separate investigations will lead them to a single and surprising villain.

I am not a fan of Jane Austen as I find her novels tedious and her characters too restricted by their class to truly grab me. However, I do enjoy the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery series and always look forward to the latest release. Carrie Bebris always manages to make the characters seem interesting even though they are still bound by the same societal restrictions apparent in Jane Austen's works. I suppose the fact that we are able to see Elizabeth's thoughts in addition to her behavior makes the difference. Here Elizabeth is given a voice and the freedom to use it without being suffocated by society rules and traditions. While she does occasionally step outside the role society dictates for her, she is always aware of the consequences. Plus it is amazing the amount of snooping she is able to do without breaking any societal norms. In addition, it is interesting to see that Fitzwilliam, while stuffy at times, honestly cares about his family and wants the best for them. He is slightly overprotective of his sister but does allow his wife more freedom than one would expect from a Jane Austen novel.

This book points towards changes for everyone in the future. It will be interesting to see what direction Carrie Bebris takes her developing characters.

Sarah Dudley, with a BA in English Literature, currently lives in PA with her herd of cats.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, October 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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