North by Northanger (or,The Shades of Pemberley)
This is the third in a series featuring Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy from the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. The couple is newly married and awaiting the birth of their first child at Pemberley, the Darcy ancestral estate. Elizabeth finds a letter from Darcy’s dead mother addressed to “Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.” The letter urges her to find a missing family heirloom. Then the Darcys receive an invitation to Northanger Abbey from Captain Tilney (of Austen’s North by Northanger). Mrs. Darcy and Mrs. Tilney had been close friends, and the Captain wishes to continue the association. However, upon traveling to Northanger Abbey, the Darcys receive a strange and unwelcoming reception and are accused of robbery. Darcy must clear his name before the baby’s birth.
As an ardent Jane Austen fan, I was happy to meet some of her most memorable characters again. This story’s strength is the credible job the author does in bringing them back to life, especially the vexing Lady Catherine de Bourgh, the caddish Colonel Wickham and his silly wife, Lydia. The mystery was not particularly riveting or difficult to solve, but this did not detract from my enjoyment. Overall, a very pleasant read.