Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review -- Murder at Longbourn

Murder at Longbourn: A Mystery Murder at Longbourn: A Mystery by Tracy Kiely


My rating: 2 of 5 stars








Poor Elizabeth Parker – being alone on New Year’s Eve sucks. So much so, she has taken her great Aunt Winnie’s offer to come to her B&B -- the Inn at Longbourn -- on the Cape. There she will help her aunt stage a “Dinner/Murder Mystery” for her guests. But before the evening is over, something will go horribly wrong -- after the lights go on, a guest is found murdered! And it’s none other than the village’s most hated resident – Gerald Ramsey. All of the guests are suspects, and Elizabeth must play detective before the police accuse her aunt of the crime.

Tracy Kiely’s first novel, Murder at Longbourn is billed for “the die-hard fan of Jane Austen novels…” Other than the main character’s name, she being in search of her own “Mr. Darcy”, the Inn being named after the Bennett’s residence in Pride and Prejudice, and a poorly written pas de deux between Elizabeth and despised friend, Peter McGowan – I found absolutely NO similarities between this novel and ANYTHING Ms. Austen has ever written.

The mystery was also weakly drawn. After the crime has occurred, the police question the guests, find the murder weapon in the cat bed, and go on their merry way, admonishing the guests, “not to go anywhere.” Maybe I’ve watched too many CSI episodes, but can’t officers test for gun powder residue immediately?? I would think, in my TV trained mind, that a murder suspect could have been instantly apprehended the night of the event. But, alas, we are drawn into a nonsensical tale of real estate obsession, family discord, and a case of mistaken identity, that is really laughable. Oh, and the clichés in the book are mind numbing. The best in the whole book was at the end, when the police arrive at another potential crime scene and they shout, “Police! Nobody move!” Now that was original.

I think I would have been more forgiving of this book, if at the very least, the romance was believable. I’m a sucker for romantic tension and lovers realizing they are meant for each other after all. But, nothing in this romance was, well, romantic.

With this book, I’ve finally given up on reading Austen-knockoff lit. I haven’t found anything that is worth my while. If you have any recommendations, please advise.

I received this book as a “giveaway” from Stephanie’s Written Word. In keeping with how I received this book, I would be HAPPY to giveaway my “gently read” hard back, author signed, copy of this book. Just leave a comment about your experience with Austen knock off lit. I will pick a recipient using random.com on Valentine’s Day – Feb. 14th at 11pm CST. Please leave an email so I know how to contact you.

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