Hello to all, and welcome back to my desk and this weeks visit by a much beloved authoress and friend, Riana Everly! She has written another mystery where Miss Mary investigates alongside of her partner Alexander. This time around, it is Sense and Sensibility which is visited by a mystery. But now I will leave you in Riana’s capable hands. I will close off the visit at the end. For now, welcome Riana and her next book.
Thank you so much to Sophia for welcoming me once again to your wonderful blog. It’s always such a comfortable and friendly spot to visit, like sitting down to tea with a friend.
I’m most delighted to talk a bit about my newest mystery in the Miss Mary Investigates series, Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery. In this adventure, Mary Bennet meets and befriends Elinor Dashwood, whom we know from the pages of Sense and Sensibility. Both are in London for a while—Mary is staying with the Gardiners, and Elinor and her sister are staying with Mrs Jennings, a family friend. Mary becomes a frequent visitor at Mrs Jennings’ house and meets all of Elinor’s acquaintances. But then, to everyone’s horror, Robert Ferrars is killed, and his brother Edward is a suspect. When Mary’s friend Alexander Lyons is called in to investigate, Mary is pulled along into the mystery.
I had a lot of fun writing this book. It is partly based on some case law around inheritance issues, which was fascinating to dive into. It also takes place in London, which is one of my favourite places to visit. No matter how often I visit, I’m always amazed by the city, with its amazing wealth of history and its intriguing juxtaposition of the very old and the very new. On a visit last December, we stood by the 2000-year-old Roman wall, next to the 1000-year-old Tower of London, looking at the Shard, a modern skyscraper across the river, that is all of 10 years old.
One of my goals on that too-short and rather last-minute trip, was to find Alexander’s office. I had something in mind, something rather specific, and was determined to find the closest thing possible.
The building had to be very near Covent Garden, that storied area with the huge marketplace dating back centuries, where the glittering theatres and opera houses stood, and still stand, where the haut ton came in silks and diamonds to enjoy the latest theatrical entertainment. But this was also the Covent Garden that was on the edge of one of the most dangerous slums of the time, where just outside of the marquee glow, prostitutes stood in dark alleyways, where cutthroats stood lurking, where policemen wouldn’t go in groups fewer than four until near the end of the 19th century.
Alexander’s office isn’t quite in this pit of human despair. Like the man himself, his location straddles two worlds, so near the elegant world of the first circles and their theatre boxes, but definitely apart from it. Precariously close to the hell of Seven Dials, but not succumbing, on the edge of danger but not dangerous.
The alleyway also had to be close to the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, where the Bow Street Runners were born. This gave us a direction. Since Seven Dials is now a rather trendy area, festooned with lights and garlands, and home to upscale shops and chic restaurants. it was safe for me and my daughter to wander around. We started at Covent Garden, headed towards Bow Street by the Royal Opera House, and turned left.
You can imagine my delight when, just a few steps away, down Long Acre, I found exactly what I was looking for. Arne Street, barely deserving of the title, wide enough for a single car if the driver holds his breath. There stands an old building with a narrow doorway leading inside, up to whatever rooms and offices lie within. And, like Alexander’s unnamed street, it even has a bakery at the corner. This bakery is really a coffee shop, part of a large chain, but if it sells baked goods, it counts in my books.
I can just picture Alexander working away at his reports in his rooms up those stairs. I can picture Mary, being exactly where she’s not supposed to be, stepping beyond the safety of the popular market square and daring to do something just a little bit dangerous as she follows him, stepping out of her world, and maybe, towards her future.
A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.
When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.
Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.
From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.
Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.
Here is an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances.
Soon Alexander and Mary were walking back towards his offices. “It is getting dark soon. Your aunt and uncle will be worried about you.” He put his hand over hers where it rested upon his arm.
“They believe me to be with Elinor.” How unlike her this was, deceiving her aunt, running about the city like a hoyden. How she loved it!
Alexander’s expression was not entirely approving.
“Oh, she believes me with my aunt and uncle. And if Marianne should talk, well, the damage will already be done.”
“I see. And what do you propose to do until you return safely to Gracechurch Street?”
“Why, help you with the investigation, of course! What are we to do next? And we must dine. I have a small amount of money that should see us to some respectable food.”
Did Alexander roll his eyes at her? Ah, it was no better than she deserved! She, who had sermonised over the delicate nature of a woman’s reputation, she who had castigated her sisters on their shameful behaviour around men, was now enjoying an evening in the vastness of London, quite unchaperoned, with the one man who made her heart beat faster. She ought to be horrified at her own actions, and yet she was not. This sort of freedom was a little frightening, but it was also too exhilarating. She giggled at the impossibility of it all and followed him down the lane to wherever it was he was leading her.
“Here is the bakery where I often get my meals.” He gestured to a small establishment at an unprepossessing corner. Any other day she would have walked past it without a thought, but now her feet slowed. The aromas emanating from within were enticing, and whilst she was certain that anything purchased there would not match Mr. Darcy’s table in elegance, she was equally certain that the food would be quite tasty.
They made their selections to take for their meal: a chicken tart for Mary and a vegetable tart for Alexander. Next door they purchased a jug of lemonade, and a few doors further along, some cherries for pudding. The lot they carried with them up a narrow staircase to the space Alexander informed her was his office.
As Alexander placed their purchases on his large desk, Mary stared around the room. So this was where he did his work!
“Ach, you never have been here before! I had not realised it. Welcome, Mary.”
He walked around the desk, which took up most of the space, and threw open the window. The sounds and smells of London wafted in, but the air was cooler than that inside, and she welcomed it. He then found a cloth and some plates in a drawer in the corner, which he used to set the desk to form a table upon which to dine.
“I usually eat in my rooms upstairs,” he pointed upward with his eyes, “but even I cannot see myself to inviting a lady there alone.”
Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.
Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.
When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.
Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.
Her Miss Mary Investigates series has charmed both Jane Austen fans and serious mystery lovers alike, and readers are always asking when the next story will be available.
You can follow Riana’s blog at https://rianaeverly.com/blog/, and join her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RianaEverly/) and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!
Last but not least, there is a GIVEAWAY chance! So leave a comment to get a chance to win a copy of “Death in Sensible Circumstances” Riana will choose a random winner from the comments which will be left here, five days after the blog visit.
I am delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog I visit. I will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. I’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. I will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure I have a way to contact you.
My email is email@example.com
Buy link: www.books2read.com/deathinsc
Well everyone, that was it for this time around, I hope Riana had you entertained and the book sounds like something for you, I wish you luck in the giveaway.
Riana, I am always so pleased to host you, and especially because of the kindness of your visits, it does indeed feel like sitting down with a friend and discussing books. Can’t wait to host you again soon. Cheers to all!