Book Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham

When Emma Woodhouse Knightley throws a house party, her hopes for a delightful time with old friends and new ones are ruined by terrible weather. Then they are ruined further with the arrival of an unexpected guest. George Wickham - disgraced military officer, seducer of women and now an unscrupulous investment agent - believes he is owed a debt, and he's come to the Knightley house to collect. Trapped with the house party by rain and muddy roads, he sets about offending Emma and her guests, until his body is suddenly found, murdered. Nearly everyone in the house had reason to hate Wickham, from old family strife, to losing their life savings to him, to a new case of blackmail. But which one of these honorable gentlemen or ladies could possibly be the murderer?

George Wickham is one of the most villainous characters in classic literature, and while numerous modern writers have speculated about his future in continuations of Pride and Prejudice, author Claudia Gray follows the lead of other mystery writers with The Murder of Mr. Wickham. The stiffly formal and noncommunicative customs of Jane Austen's world prove themselves as perfect an environment for a closed-door mystery as they are for romantic misunderstandings, and Janeites will be delighted to see characters from all of Austen's works populating the novel. For more modern continuations of Jane Austen's books, try The Other Bennet Sister with its focus on the wallflower Mary, Longbourn for a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the servants or the best-known of the mystery takes, Death Comes to Pemberley. - Michelle (Sunset)

The Murder of Mr. Wickham