Blog Tour: The Murder of Mr. Wickham

Posted on May 4, 2022 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Blog Tour / 8 Comments

Today is my stop for the blog tour featuring The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray. 

 

Blog Tour: The Murder of Mr. WickhamTitle: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Author(s): Claudia Gray
Published by Vintage on May 3, 2022
Pages: 400
Genre(s): Historical Mystery
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Purchase: Amazon|B&N

A summer house party turns into a whodunit when Mr. Wickham, one of literature’s most notorious villains, meets a sudden and suspicious end in this mystery featuring Jane Austen’s leading literary characters.
The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a house party, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.
Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. The unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang.

 

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Had Jane Austen sat down to write a country house murder mystery, this is exactly the book she would have written. Devotees of Austen’s timeless novels will get the greatest possible pleasure from this wonderful book. Immense fun and beautifully observed. Delicious!” —Alexander McCall Smith

“What a splendid conceit! . . . Gray provides plenty of backstory and enough depth to her characters that even those who mix up their Pride and Prejudice with their Sense and Sensibility will delight in the Agatha Christie–style mystery. . . . There’s so much fun to be had in this reimagined Austen world—and the mystery is so strong—that one can only hope, dear reader, that more books will follow.” —Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred review)

“[An] enchanting mystery. . . . Gray perfectly captures the personalities of Austen’s beloved characters. This is a real treat for Austenites.” —Publishers Weekly

“Who would NOT want to read a book in which one of literature’s most notorious rakes meets his final demise? . . . A delightful Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen romp.” —Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

 

 

Jane Austen Meets Agatha Christie: PW Talks with Claudia Gray

Science fiction author Gray’s first mystery, The Murder of Mr. Wickham (Vintage, May), features Jane Austen characters.

This book is a departure for you. How have your years of writing Star Wars novels prepared you for carrying on the stories of Jane Austen’s well-known characters?

My Star Wars novels have to slot into the existing canon, which is ever-evolving thanks to a constant stream of other books, comics, TV shows, and so on. But both fan fiction and licensed Star Wars fiction provided me with tools to write The Murder of Mr. Wickham. I still had a canon to work with, but in this case it hadn’t changed in more than 200 years. I had practice recreating character voices and determining precisely what elements made those personalities distinctive.

How long had you been planning to write The Murder of Mr. Wickham?

I’ve been a huge Austen fan for many years. The concept for the book began about 11 years ago, when I read Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. I was so hyped for the book, and then it didn’t hit me the way I’d expected. It took me a while to recognize that I was judging not the novel she wrote, but the novel I’d wanted to read—one where the murder victim was someone we were interested in, and where the beloved characters were themselves suspect. Since James hadn’t written that book, I eventually realized I had to do it.

Your sleuths are two non-canonical characters: Juliet Tilney, the daughter of Catherine and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey, and Jonathan Darcy, the son of Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Did you create Jonathan and Juliet using elements of their parents’ personalities?

Juliet has elements of her parents’ personalities, but she’s not an amalgam of the two, but someone who Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney would have raised. She has her own personality and outlook on life, along with certain tendencies toward wit and adventures. Initially, Jonathan was simply going to be “more Darcy than Darcy”—but as I began writing, his character emerged in a very different way. Once I had the insight that Jonathan might be neurodivergent, it opened up many fascinating questions. He lives in a world which has no conception of how, or why, he differs from other people—so how is he misunderstood? Elizabeth and Darcy are loving and understanding—though not perfect!—parents to a son whose needs differ from the norm. Writing that family dynamic intrigued me.

 

This interview was originally posted at Publishers Weekly.

About Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs.

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