Murder at Mansfield Park – Book Review


by Lynn Shepherd

Prepare to throw away your preconceived idea about Mansfield Park (by Jane Austen) and its inhabitants because this novel will turn it on its head.  Fanny Price is not the conservative, gentle heroine we know from Austen’s Mansfield Park.  She is instead a conniving, heartless, selfish heiress.  She is the worst that money and indulgence can create. Since childhood, Fanny and Edmund Norris (yes Norris) have been promised to each other.  The Bertram and Norris families are determined to keep Fanny’s fortune in the family.  The Mansfield household is already precariously positioned when Henry and Mary Crawford – brother and sister – come to stay at the parsonage.  Their arrival creates fractures and a series of violent and tragic events that threaten to destroy the Park and the families within.    Charles Maddox, a London detective is brought in to unmask a murderer.

Lynn Shepherd… what courage… I salute you.  I admit to feeling a little miffed at you for meddling with Fanny Price, one of my favourite Austen characters.  I let out an audible groan when I read how awful she was going to be in your book.  To the credit of your pen though, it was not too much further in and I found myself happy with the wickedness of the wench.  With Fanny so deeply involved with her own self importance you took away our heroine but in her stead you skillfully rewrote Mary Crawford to fill the role and I soon loved her as I do Austen’s Fanny.   Not many Austen inspired novels have messed so much with the essence of the main heroine, but you had the courage to dethrone one and hand it to another… bravo.  

I enjoyed Murder at Mansfield Park very much and raced through to the end to see if my own sleuthing was correct.  As a devoted fan of both Jane Austen and Austen inspired fiction I hope you are planning another.

Thank you Lynn Shepherd.

Posted on 9 April '10 by , under Crime/Mystery, Historical Fiction, Jane Austen & Austen Inspired, Reviews.

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