Oh my gosh, I rarely gush about a YA book, but once again, I'm totally in love with one! We loved Pride and Premeditation, by Tirzah Price, and I can't wait for the sequel.
I've read my share of Austen murder mysteries, but this one was divine!
Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Bennet works alongside her barrister father in his office, Longbourne & Sons (except, there are no sons, just five girls, sigh) and starts the book simmering when the insufferable Mr. Collins takes credit for her investigative work in a previous case. She dreams of arguing before the "bar," knowing full well women are barred from ever approaching, so the restriction chafes most horribly. But when her father proposes hiring someone else for the firm, that sets Lizzie on a quest to prove she's just as good an investigator as any man.
To prove her worth to her father and his firm, she focuses on solving a case -- specifically, whether Charles Bingley, who's been arrested for murdering his sister Louisa's husband, Mr. George Hurst, actually committed the crime. In a sneaky jail-house interview, Bingley claims he didn't, of course, he merely hauled the lout of out his club and brought him home in a drunken stupor. But how to prove Bingley wasn't involved in Mr. Hurst's stabbing?
Lizzie logically rules out Bingley as the killer because there just isn't enough blood on Bingley or his clothing to account for Mr. Hurst's wound to the neck. Indelicate as it may be to notice, Lizzie has noticed, and she compares the blood on Bingley's clothes to the market butcher's apron. Clearly, even though she's a woman, Lizzie knows what she's talking about.
But how to prove it, and how to find Mr. Hurst's true killer? That's the question.
Add in a bit of legal competition from Mr. Darcy, the good friend and attorney Bingley has hired to represent him, from Pemberly and Associates, a much more prominent law firm than Longbourne, and the heat is on -- in more ways than one! The attraction between Lizzie and Darcy is a long, low simmer, and in true Austen fashion goes from dislike to full-on heady attraction by the end, but barely a kiss is ever exchanged! Loved it.
The mystery plot was absolutely delicious. I won't reveal it here. You'll have to read to find out, but it was one of the finest murder mystery plot twists I've come across in a long time, and it was a delight to read! I may buy this one as a mentor text, for plotting purposes.