I am thrilled to announce the publication of my newest novel, and the first of my mystery series Miss Mary Investigates – Death of a Clergyman: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery.
Elizabeth Bennet is accused of murdering her odious cousin Mr. Collins. All evidence points to her, from her blood-stained clothes to the lethal knife that everyone knows is hers. But her sister Mary cannot believe this of Lizzy, and is determined to prove Lizzy innocent.
Mr. Darcy, too, has heard this awful news and he rushes back to Meryton from London with a private investigator in tow. Alexander Lyons sets about his business, but before he discovers a single clue he runs afoul of Mary.
Can the two set aside their differences and combine their efforts to discover who is really responsible for the death of this clergyman?
Here is an excerpt:
From Death of a Clergyman: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery
(c) Riana Everly 2020
The sixth lady, the one sitting by the window, shifted, catching Alexander’s attention. He blinked in surprise. He had observed her, but after the briefest of glances, he had quite forgotten her existence. She was not flushed and florid, nor silly or vexatious, nor perfection or abject misery. In contradiction to the others in the room, each so vivid in her own way, this sixth lady quite blended into the background. He allowed himself to take her measure now. His initial instinct was that she was rather plain, younger than Miss Elizabeth but older than the two girls attacking the bonnet. He looked more closely to assess her age and decided she must be about eighteen. He also decided that she was, when one looked at her properly, really rather pretty, as were all the sisters. Her beauty was quiet, though, not drawing attention to itself, but sitting there silently until one might take the time to discover it for oneself. Her hair was a dark and unremarkable brown, and it curled delicately over a wide and intelligent forehead, and her eyes, while ordinary in their shade, were delicate in shape and sweet to behold, and their expression was one of deep reflection.
Mrs. Bennet cleared her throat, awaiting a response from the men, and Darcy nodded. “Very well. Miss Mary, may we count on your complete discretion?”
The quiet lady replied in a soft voice, “I will swear it upon my Bible.” She held up a small volume of that book.
“Then I thank you.” Darcy bowed and waited for the others to depart the room. Elizabeth now sat alone on the sofa, eyes downcast, hands twisting a linen handkerchief this way and that, body otherwise perfectly still. Whereas before she had been surrounded by the other women of her family, she now seemed very small and forsaken. Even Mary, who alone remained with her sister, had stayed in her nook by the window, all but concealed, her presence providing the merest pretence at propriety. Darcy took a deep breath, then moved with measured steps across the room until he stood before the sofa. “How do you fare? Are you well?” His voice was soft, his regard intent.
Elizabeth looked up at him with anything but pleasure in her anguished eyes. Her voice was raw, but her tone was not weak. “Why do you come here?” she taunted. “Do you come to revel in my misery, to congratulate yourself on having avoided my fate within your own exalted family? To watch as my mother and sisters suffer for my supposed sins? Go back to Miss Bingley and to your high and mighty friends in London and tell them of the pathetic girl you so despised, who ended up so low. You have never looked at me except to find fault. Well, Mr. Darcy, here is your prize. Please leave me.”