In Jane Austen’s , the Cobb—Lyme’s famous seawall—proved dangerous to a careless young woman. Now it proves deadly.
Following their recent intrigue at Highbury, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy visit the seaside village of Lyme on holiday. Family business also draws them there, to receive the personal effects of Mr. Darcy’s late cousin, a naval lieutenant who died in action.
Their retreat turns tragic when they come upon a body lying at the base of the Cobb. The victim is Mrs. Clay, a woman with a scandalous past that left her with child—a child whose existence threatened the inheritance of one of her paramours and the reputation of another. Did she lose her balance and fall from the slippery breakwater, or was she pushed?
Mrs. Clay’s death is not the only one that commands the Darcys’ attention. When Mr. Darcy discovers, among his cousin’s possessions, evidence that the young lieutenant’s death might have been murder, he allies with Captain Frederick Wentworth (hero of Jane Austen's Persuasion) to probe details of a battle that took place across the sea . . . but was influenced by a conspiracy much closer to home.
The Deception at Lyme (Or, The Peril of Persuasion) is the delightful sixth installment in the critically acclaimed and award-winning Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series by Carrie Bebris.
Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are looking forward to a relaxing stay with dear friends when their carriage is hailed by a damsel-in-distress outside of the village of Highbury. Little do the Darcys realize that gypsies roam these woods, or that both their possessions and the woman are about to vanish into the night. The Darcys seek out the parish magistrate, who is having a difficult evening of his own. Mr. Knightley and his new wife, the former Miss Emma Woodhouse (the heroine of Jane Austen's Emma) are hosting a party to celebrate the marriage of their friends, Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Jane Fairfax. During dinner, Mr. Edgar Churchill, uncle and adoptive father of the groom, falls suddenly ill and dies. The cause of death: poison. When the Darcys and the Knightleys join forces to investigate the crimes, they discover that the robbery and Edgar Churchill's death may be connected. Together they must work to quickly locate the source of the poison and the murderer's motive — before the killer can strike again.
Mr. Darcy's aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is eager to arrange a lucrative and socially advantageous match for her daughter, Anne. Of course, her ladyship has not taken into account such frivolous matters as love or romance, let alone the wishes of her daughter. Needless to say, there is much turmoil when the bride-to-be elopes. Their pursuit of the headstrong couple leads the Darcys to the village of Mansfield, where the usually intricate game of marriage machinations becomes still more convoluted by lies and deception. There, the Darcys discover that love and marriage can be a complex and dangerous business — one that can even lead to murder.
First, a mysterious letter from the late Lady Anne Darcy is discovered—propelling Elizabeth on a quest to learn more about Darcy's deceased mother and an unsettled matter she left behind. Then a summons to Northanger Abbey involves the young couple in an intrigue that threatens not just the Darcy family name, but Darcy's freedom as well. And just when it seems their situation could not grow worse, Darcy's overbearing aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, takes up residence at Pemberley. Add to all this rumors of treasure and hints of deceptions old and new, and it becomes apparent that Pemberley is filled not with peace, but with secrets and spirits of the past—and that their exposure could profoundly affect the generation of Darcys to come.
When Caroline Bingley marries a rich, charismatic American, her future should be secure. But strange incidents soon follow: nocturnal wanderings, spooked horses, carriage accidents, an apparent suicide attempt. Soon the whole Bingley family seems the target of a sinister plot, with only their friends the Darcys recognizing the danger. A jilted lover, an estranged business partner, a financially desperate in-law, an eccentric supernaturalist—who is behind these events? Perhaps it is Caroline herself, who appears to be slowly sinking into madness. . . .
Persuaded by Mrs. Bennet to sponsor a London social season for Elizabeth’s sister Kitty, the Darcys reluctantly return to the glittering ballrooms and parlors of the fashionable world. There Kitty meets Harry Dashwood, the handsome young owner of Norland, and they quickly fall in love. But for the Bennet sisters, it seems the course of true love simply cannot run smooth. No sooner do Harry and Kitty announce their engagement than Harry begins to change. His disreputable behavior, unexplained absences, mysterious gatherings, questionable new companions, and sinister activities lead all to wonder: Who is the true Mr. Dashwood? — the respectable gentleman Kitty thought she knew, or the dishonorable rogue now reflected in the mirror? A clue from Harry’s family tree sends the Darcys once more on a quest to discover the truth before history can repeat itself. For if Harry and Kitty are to have a future, the past must first be put to rest.