Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Highbury Murders: A Mystery Set in the Village of Jane Austen's Emma by Victoria Grossack

Description (from Amazon):

'The death of Mrs. Bates, a very old lady whose hearing had long since gone and who had spent her last few months either in her bedroom or sitting in her chair in the parlor, would have gone unremarked in London, where people spent their time discussing fashion, nobility, and the latest offering at the theatre. In Bath her decease might have been mentioned as a piece of dull news, before the residents and visitors resumed discussing who had been seen at the Pump Room during the day or who was giving a whist party that night.

In Highbury, however, Mrs. Bates' passing was an event which was talked over in every house, both great and small.

Jane Austen's Emma has been described as a detective story without a body--except for those who read carefully, there actually is a body, and the potential for an excellent mystery story. Set about a year after Emma closes, The Highbury Murders pays homage to the wit of Jane Austen and the whodunits of Agatha Christie. You do not need to have read Jane Austen's books to enjoy this novel, but if you have--if you regret that she wrote only six--The Highbury Murders is a welcome extension to her world. Pour yourself a cup of tea, settle somewhere comfortable, and indulge yourself with the proverbial good read.'

My thoughts:

Let me start by first stating that I do not read independent published books. For some reason, they turn me off and I am not sure if it is because I have read some horrors in the past or what. I decided to give independent published books another try when I had the opportunity to read this one for Cozy Mystery Book Reviews. I love mysteries and I love mysteries set within a Jane Austen novel even more, so I picked this one right up. I was so surprised. This one was so hard to put down and I absolutely adored it. Yes, I can't believe that I am actually saying that I loved a self-published book. This book is a gem and should have been picked up by one of the major publishers, but even though it hasn't I still highly recommend this one for lovers of all things Jane Austen.

I have a really hard time getting into sequels to classics not written by the original author. Sometimes they are so overdone it really ruins a good story. However, with this one, Grossack's writing is spot on when it comes to capturing Jane Austen's tone and writing style. That is not an easy accomplishment, by any means, and this author makes it seem so flawless as if Jane, herself, was actually penning this novel.That is saying something. Jane Austen is simply one of my favorite authors of all times and for someone modern and new to capture her voice so well, it actually is quite stunning. A job well done!

The murder in this one is not one easily solved and there are a lot of suspects and motives and clues that will have you guessing until the very end. I love how this one stayed true to Emma and yet was unique in its own way. I highly recommend lovers of Jane Austen and murder mysteries to pick this one up and give it a shot. I hardly think you will be disappointed. In the summary it mentions that the reader does not have to read Emma in order to enjoy this one, but I found that I enjoyed it all the more because I had read it and could easily compare this one with the original. A great read that I could not put down and one that pleasantly left me surprised and in awe.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  The Highbury Murders
Author:  Victoria Grossack
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date:  March 1, 2013
Pages:  162
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author, through Cozy Mystery Book Reviews, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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