I don't know about you all, but I love a good murder mystery. So when I heard that was the premise of The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray, I knew I needed to pick it up.
|Pub Date: 5-3-22|
Adult - Historical Mystery
Emma and George Knightley have decided to gather their closest acquaintances for a house party. They've invited everyone from the Wentworths to the Darcys to engage in some good old-fashioned country fun. The one person not on their invite list is Mr. Wickham. So when the man unexpectedly turns up, it throws a damper on everyone's good mood.
Mr. Wickham has never been popular in society, but his latest financial schemes have left him with an even longer list of enemies. His presence is unwelcome and puts all the guests on edge, but due to propriety, the Knightley's can't kick him out. As the days go by, it's clear that Wickham has some scheme planned and secrets that tie him to more than one of the guests. Despite many wishing ill will on him, all the guests are shocked when Wickham's body is found murdered in the gallery. Nearly everyone at the house party had motive enough to kill, so it's up to the youngest of the party, the Darcy's son Johnathan and Catherine and Henry's daughter, Juliet, to uncover the culprit before it's too late.
If you love Jane Austen or cozy PBS-style murder mysteries, then this is the book for you. The idea of throwing together all of her most beloved characters in a whodunit mystery was so entertaining. I loved getting glimpses into the characters many know and love, but the highlight here was the new ones introduced. Juliet was intelligent and free-spirited, and Jonathan was so sweet and even more noble than his father (if you can believe it.) I'm not sure if Gray intended this, but, to me, Jonathan had some neurodivergent tendencies and I appreciated that representation. There were times he mentioned how he doesn't understand the world like everyone else, or how he has to pace or rock when he's overwhelmed or thinking through something. It made me feel for him. I thought he and Juliet had a nice dynamic and worked so well together. I loved trying to ferret out clues alongside them. As for the mystery aspect, I was on my toes the whole time and I had no clue where Gray was going to go. I liked how she wrapped it all up, but my issue was it took a long time to get there. If you enjoy historical mysteries and don't mind a slower-paced plot, then I would recommend this.