The Late Mrs. Willoughby (Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mystery) by Claudia Gray #ARC #BookReview #NewBooks #JaneAusten

Catherine and Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey are not entirely pleased to be sending their eligible young daughter Juliet out into the world again: the last house party she attended, at the home of the Knightleys, involved a murder—which Juliet helped solve. Particularly concerning is that she intends to visit her new friend Marianne Brandon, who’s returned home to Devonshire shrouded in fresh scandal—made more potent by the news that her former suitor, the rakish Mr. Willoughby, intends to take up residence at his local estate with his new bride.

Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley are thrilled that their eldest son, Jonathan—who, like his father, has not always been the most socially adept—has been invited to stay with his former schoolmate, John Willoughby. Jonathan himself is decidedly less taken with the notion of having to spend extended time under the roof of his old bully, but that all changes when he finds himself reunited with his fellow amateur sleuth, the radiant Miss Tilney. And when shortly thereafter, Willoughby’s new wife—whom he married for her fortune—dies horribly at the party meant to welcome her to town.

With rumors flying and Marianne—known to be both unstable and previously jilted by the dead woman’s newly made widower—under increased suspicion, Jonathan and Juliet must team up once more to uncover the murderer. But as they collect clues and close in on suspects, eerie incidents suggest that the killer may strike again, and that the pair are in far graver danger than they or their families could imagine.

The Late Mrs. Willoughby (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (

Last year, I had the opportunity to read and review #TheMurderofMrWickham by #ClaudiaGray and found it to be a very satisfying murder mystery. Now a sequel is at hand, with The Late Mrs. Willoughby being released in a few weeks. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Vintage/Viking Books in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

Even though this is a sequel to The Murder of Mr. Wickham, this novel can be read as a standalone. There’s enough explaining the earlier events that one not need have read the first book. Once again Juliet Tilney and Jonathan Darcy are thrust together for another murder mystery investigation.

There’s been an effort from the author, I think, to put Jonathan on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. I think this was done in a tasteful way, and no way demeans those with autism. In fact, some explaining is done from Jonathan’s perspective to help the reader understand his actions. Certainly, his former classmates picked on him for his peculiarities. Others, like Juliet Tilney, don’t fault him for his idiosyncrasies and help him navigate the social world in which they live in.

Mrs. Willoughby is given a tainted glass of port following their welcoming dinner and dies a horrible death. The local doctor declares it poison. The local magistrate position is currently unoccupied, the constables have never investigated a murder, so Darcy and Tilney decide it would be in everyone’s best interest if they conduct their own investigation on the sly. The list of suspects isn’t long, but there are clues leading them in several different directions.

I figured out quite early who was the murderer, and unlike the last book, I found the subsequent path to get to the big reveal was a bit tedious. I know this book was written in the style of Jane Austen’s works, yet I do not feel that lends itself to a murder mystery. Too much “other stuff” got in the way of the murder investigation, like all the proper social niceties, that I found myself skimming the book to glean clues. The end result was satisfactory, but it was kind of a slog to get there.

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