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Literature / Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries

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A novel series by Carrie Bebris in which newly wed Mr. and Mrs. Darcy solve the murders and crimes that seem to crop up wherever they go. In the process they meet characters from the other Austen novels who are somehow embroiled in each mystery with varying degrees of innocence and culpability. Meanwhile they are learning to be husband and wife and some of the joys and tribulations that go along with that and their new families.

As the series progresses Elizabeth and Darcy gain a certain amount reputation at being good at solving crimes, earning some enthusiastic endorsements from a range of people. Neither of them are particularly thrilled by this but generally consider it their duty to help where they can.

Pride and Prescience picks up immediately following the joint Bingley/Darcy wedding during which Caroline Bingley announces her engagement to the American Mr. Parrish. It contains voodoo, mind control and a murder.

In Suspense and Sensibility Elizabeth and Darcy are sponsoring Kitty Bennet for a season in London. Kitty meets and falls for Harry Dashwood and an engagement soon follows. Unfortunately a mirror and one of Harry’s ancestors gets in the way.

North by Northanger follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they look for some relaxation in Bath. They come into contact with the son of a friend of Anne Darcy's and are quickly embroiled in a plot that nearly sees Darcy convicted of theft.

In The Matters at Mansfield Elizabeth and Darcy, now new parents, find themselves unable to relax when Anne de Bourgh elopes with none other than Henry Crawford. When the party is forced to stop at an inn in Mansfield they find themselves dealing with duels, murder, hitmen and Mr. Crawford's past.

The Intrigue at Highbury finds Elizabeth and Darcy robbed not far outside the town. When they go to report the crime to the magistrate, George Knightly, they find themselves helping to solve the murder of Edgar Churchill after an enthusiastic recommendation from a mutual friend.

In The Deception at Lyme Elizabeth and Darcy try once again to find respite (this time at Lyme) only to be drawn into the investigation of the death of Mrs. Clay and that of Darcy cousin Lieutenant Fitzwilliam (Colonel Fitzwilliam’s younger brother). Meanwhile Georgiana has two men vying for her attention.

The Suspicion at Sanditon – to be released in 2015.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Catherine de Bourgh. So much so that the only way that Anne sees as an escape is to elope – twice.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Elizabeth and Darcy generally share the POV for the series but in The Intrigue at Highbury part of the pov is given to Emma.
  • Adventure Towns: They don't seek it out but the Darcys travel about and stumble upon a variety of crimes.
  • Always Someone Better: The way Elizabeth feels about her predecessor, the late Anne Darcy.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Mrs. Bennet, always.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Mr. Thomas Dixon. He's interested in fashion and interior design and when Elizabeth queries the fact that he's never married, Jane (Fairfax) Churchill quietly comments that 'perhaps he has not had the inclination.' Years after the fact a dear friend of his is killed in a duel defending his honour and leaves him his fortune.
    • Bebris apparently knew how modern audiences would interpret this but in-story most of the characters are completely ignorant.
  • Amnesiacs are Innocent: A head injury leaves Henry Crawford open and innocent and very puzzled as to why people are so annoyed at him.
  • Ascended Extra: A few.
  • Assassin Outclassin': He fails to kill Henry Crawford and then is killed in self-defence by Mrs. Norris.
  • Asshole Victim: Mrs. Clay – Elizabeth reflects that if it wasn't for baby Alfred she and Darcy would probably just have told the magistrate of their suspicions and left the investigation alone. Which would have been a mistake.
    • Caroline Bingley, YMMV whether or not she quite deserves the trauma she's put through, though.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Lawrence Kendall. Not that anyone actually wants to play with him.
  • Battle Couple: Elizabeth and Darcy.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Darcy to Georgiana and, surprisingly, to Kitty Bennet. Elizabeth also qualifies on both accounts.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    Elizabeth: Hold, sir! I am armed.
  • Character Development:
    • Kitty Bennet, as stated at the end of Pride and Prejudice, is much more sensible after Jane and Lizzy start guiding her.
    • Harry Dashwood in order to be worthy of Kitty's love and Darcy’s mentorship.
    • Anne de Bourgh who finally finds the courage to go after what she wants after being supressed by her mother and ignored by everyone else her entire life.
    • Emma (Woodhouse) Knightley tries really, really hard to not play matchmaker but decides it’s necessary to protect Miss Bates' future.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Fitzwilliam.
  • Crossover: Elizabeth and Darcy meet characters from every other Austen novel throughout the series and often part or most of the story takes place at the locations in each of the novels.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: When Darcy is imprisoned and likely to be convicted of a crime he didn't commit, Elizabeth is forced to turn to the one person who she knows will solve the problem: Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Lord Sennex.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Sir Francis Dashwood was rumoured to have led satanic rituals. In a quest to find ancient artifacts Harry unearths his mirror and his portrait and is lucky to live to regret it – as are Darcy, Elizabeth and Professor Randolph.
  • Dances and Balls: Considering this is Austen… there are relatively few. They are mentioned but usually happen off-screen. Understandable, as they don't usually relate to the main action.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Lily-Anne Darcy.
  • Demoted to Extra: A number of the main characters from Austen's originals.
    • From Pride and Prejudice – Most of the Bennet family, except Kitty, Mr. and Mrs. Collins, Bingley and Wickham. Georgiana, while often mentioned, is rarely actually present – until The Deception at Lyme.
    • From Sense and Sensibility – Of the three Dashwood sisters and their husbands only Elinor and Edward have significant attention in Suspense and Sensibility, though Marianne appears briefly.
    • From Northanger Abbey – most of the characters but significantly Catherine (Morland) Tilney.
    • From Mansfield Park – most of the characters but significantly Fanny (Price) Bertram who doesn't appear at all and Edmund Bertram who does so only briefly.
    • From Emma – Harriet Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Weston and Isabella and John Knightley.
  • Duel to the Death: Despite being illegal, The Matters at Mansfield contains several duels.
  • Generation Xerox: Harry Dashwood is very similar in appearance to his unsavoury ancestor, Sir Francis Dashwood.
  • Happily Adopted: Walter Alfred Arthur Henry Elliot, according to the prologue and much to Sir Walter's chagrin.
  • Happily Married: Specifically Elizabeth and Darcy. Though it would appear all of Austen's heroines and their chosen loves fit this.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: While Elizabeth and Darcy befriend characters from most of Austen's novels, Knightly and Darcy find in each other a kindred spirit. Elizabeth even jokes that if she leaves to join Georgiana nothing will get done because the two men will just sit around discussing agricultural practises.
  • High-Class Glass: Professor Randolph has one but it's stated his has a purpose of aiding his work in examining ancient artifacts – unlike the 'affected London dandies'.
  • Honor Before Reason: Lord Sennex.
  • Humiliation Conga: Henry Crawford. Forced to stop at Mansfield Inn, he finds himself subjected to this as everyone from his past and present turns up to tell him exactly what they think of him.
  • Idle Rich: Averted. Both the Darcys and and Knightleys (in particular) could be this but are anything but – to the point where you find yourself hoping things will lighten up so Elizabeth and Darcy have an opportunity to catch their breaths.
    • Lord Chatfield might qualify.
    • Harry Dashwood prior to meeting Kitty.
    • Earl of Southwell – Lady Catherine uses Darcy to keep an eye on him.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Elizabeth and Mr. Woodhouse. He worries about her health constantly and she puts up with him trying to feed her thin gruel with good humour and the novel mentions that they develop a rapport.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Lord Sennex again.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Wickham – mostly because no one wants to have to deal with Lydia.
    • Mrs. Norris – depending on your point of view. Yes, she isn't tried for murder, self-defence or not but she does have to spend the rest of her life caring for Maria Rushworth Bertram.
    • Catherine de Bourgh who is just as horrible as always and despite feeling like everyone is out to humiliate and defy her, suffers nothing worse than Elizabeth’s annoyance and Anne choosing not to marry who her mother wants her to.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Many of Austen’s original Karma Houdinis are subjected to this almost gleefully by Bebris. Notably:
    • Caroline Bingley – her new husband buys her a ring that forces her to do whatever he wants and then he spends weeks trying to get her to kill herself while everyone thinks she’s going mad. It’s only luck that and, eventually, Elizabeth that saves her.
    • Isabella and John Thorpe – eventually find themselves shipped to Sydney for ten years and seven years, respectively.
    • Henry Crawford – turns out he views himself as a hero and really is trying to help the women he considers pitiable. He just chooses terrible methods to go about it. He then finds himself the subject of two duels, gets amnesia and is eventually murdered.
    • Mrs. Clay – who no one seems to mourn, not her husband, not her family, not her friends. Her father seems upset but hardly grief-stricken.
    • Mr. Elliot – is convicted of smuggling.
  • Kissing Cousins: Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
  • Last-Name Basis: Not unusual for the times but particularly noted with Darcy.
  • Lawful Stupid: The magistrate in North by Northanger.
  • Love Triangle: Georgiana has two men vying for her attention in The Deception at Lyme. Lieutenant St Clair and Sir Laurence – neither of them are exactly what they appear.
  • Mind Rape: Poor, poor Caroline.
  • Mirror Monster: Sir Francis Dashwood.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Loretta Jones to poor Nellie, who wasn't even remotely in the running for Mr. Deal's affection, and Miss Bates.
  • Never Suicide: Sir Thomas Bertram is happy to consider the apparent death of Henry Crawford as suicide when all the facts bar a few point in that direction. Darcy isn't nearly so convinced.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Elizabeth and Darcy. They don't need to solve crimes, and they don't get any reward for doing so, but they try anyway.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Elizabeth tries to reassure Jane (Fairfax) Churchill that they're this and that Jane's marriage can survive such an inauspicious beginning as having to deal with a murder.
  • Occult Detective: Elizabeth, though this is downplayed after the first couple of books.
  • Odd Couple: Miss Bates and Mr. Deal. Both consider themselves richer for their relationship.
  • Officer and a Gentleman:
    • Colonel Fitzwilliam who is willing to fight a duel for Anne's honour and do so by Lord Sennex’s rules, despite Darcy's protests and the fact the rules favour Lord Sennex.
    • Lieut—Captain St Clair. We spend most of the novel being suspicious of his motives but it turns out he is actually undercover for the navy trying to expose a smuggling ring. He also risks the entire operation just to save Georgiana from drowning.
    • To all accounts Lieutenant Fitzwilliam.
    • Also Admiral Croft and Captain Wentworth.
  • Old Maid: Anne de Bourgh and Miss Bates. Both find happy endings and marriages.
  • Old Money: Not surprising given it's set in Regency England and focuses on Austen's characters.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Bebris usually plays it straight with her own characters but her hands are tied with Austen's characters.
  • Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: In his haste to 'rescue' Anne de Bourgh, Henry Crawford 'forgets' he is already married to someone else – under a different name. Meg Garret turns up looking for her husband and just adds to Henry's humiliation.
  • Port Town: Lyme.
  • Professional Killer: In The Matters at Mansfield there’s a – not particularly effective – one. He fails to kill Henry Crawford and then is killed by Mrs. Norris.
  • Put on a Bus: Professor Randolph. A major character in the first two novels, he vanishes from sight completely for the next three novels. It's very nearly Chuck Cunningham Syndrome but—
    • The Bus Came Back: He appears briefly in The Deception at Lyme. The narrator tells us that the Darcys aren't in London very often and the busy Professor Randolph was often out of town when they are.
  • Quirky Town: Highbury, as Austen created it. Sanditon has the potential to be this, too.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Elizabeth – red, though more reasoning than most, and Darcy – blue. Also, Emma – red and Knightley – blue.
  • Resentful Guardian: Subverted. No one other than the newly wed Wentworths is actually interested in raising Sir Walter's heir. So while everyone who might have turned out like this congratulates themselves on not being saddled with the child, the Wentworths raise him as their own.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Loretta Jones to Mr. Deal, of the murderous variety.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Sir Francis Dashwood in his mirror as poor Harry finds out.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: While Knightley and Emma are willing to speculate that Jane (Fairfax) Churchill might have been responsible, past experience with her means they don't believe it's remotely likely she'd kill anyone. Elizabeth and Darcy are more willing to entertain the idea as poison suits her personality. Turns out Jane is exactly as she's always been.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Elizabeth and Darcy for Kitty and Harry Dashwood
    • Catherine de Bourgh for Anne and Mr. Sennex
    • Elizabeth for Anne and Colonel Fitzwilliam
    • Emma for Miss Bates/several eligible bachelors but most significantly Mr. Deal.
    • Darcy for Georgiana and Sir Laurence. Until he knows the truth
  • Shrinking Violet: Anne de Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Elizabeth. She manages to fill the role of being a gentleman's wife well enough that she's liked and respected in society but she also does just as much legwork – mental and physical – as her husband when solving crimes.
  • Take a Level in Badass: Elizabeth who after having to fight for her life on several occasions starts carrying around a muff pistol.
  • The Cameo: Many of Austen's characters. Most of the main characters either appear – with varying degrees of importance to the story – or are mentioned.
  • The Good Captain: Captain St Clair. The story highlights this, because it appears that the Lieutenant hasn't been promoted and if he was any good at his job he should have been. It turns out he has been promoted, but only the admiralty knows because they need people to think he’s a lieutenant so he can investigate the smuggling ring.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Harry Dashwood to Darcy. Darcy relents much faster than most, though Harry does have to earn his approval.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mrs. Jennings, Anne de Bourgh's companion, is dismissed by Lady Catherine after Anne elopes – despite the poor woman being utterly ignorant of Anne’s actions. She’s never seen or heard from again.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Mrs. Edgar Churchill. She ordered her son to be killed when he was born with only one arm. Luckily the doctor and her maid smuggled the child away.
    • Invoked in The Deception At Highbury. When contemplating whether or not Mr. Elliot could intend on killing baby Alfred, Elizabeth thinks about the princes in the tower and how children are sometimes victims of adult greed.
  • Younger Than They Look: Poor, poor Harry Dashwood. Fortunately, he doesn't look as bad as he did while possessed by his ancestor but it's stated the twenty-one year old ends the novel looking somewhere in his mid-thirties.