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A MYSTERY SET IN THE VILLAGE OF JANE AUSTEN’S EMMA

 

Most of Victoria’s writing time is devoted to the Bronze Age.  Still, she has always had a deep fondness for Jane Austen and that novelist’s works. In fact, Victoria – who has no ability to distinguish between makes of automobiles – locates her car in the parking lot with the assistance license plate holder, which states: “I’d rather be reading Jane Austen.”

A couple of years ago Death Comes to Pemberley was published, along with many other works based on Jane Austen’s novels. Victoria has not read Death Comes to Pemberley – which is no reflection on that book but a decision to keep her own approach to the Austen world uninfluenced by the efforts of others. However, she was inspired by its existence to write a mystery based on Emma. She had always been niggled by a plot opening in Emma, and believed that a story could be created around it.

So Victoria sat down one day, did her best to channel the spirits of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, and began the book. It was easier than she expected, possibly because she did not have to invent the characters or the setting, but only extend what Jane Austen already provided.

The result is The Highbury Murders: A Mystery Set in the Village of Jane Austen’s Emma. Public response has been extremely positive, with readers appreciating both the mystery and the fact that the writing sounds very much like Jane Austen.

The Highbury Murders is available at Amazon, both electronically and in paper.  It is also available at Barnes and Noble, also electronically and in paper.

Interview

My Jane Austen Book Club interviewed Victoria about the writing of The Highbury Murders, in a feature called “Talking Jane Austen.”  Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Who does the investigating in The Highbury Murders?

 

Mr. Knightley has magisterial duties in the region, and in Emma it is indicated that he sometimes meets with Mr. Elton, Mr. Cole and Mr. Weston to resolve local issues. So these men are in charge, with the greatest deference and responsibility given to Mr. Knightley. However, because Emma’s mind is so lively, she cannot help attempting to solve the case herself. Her husband, aware of her need for intellectual stimulation, supplies her with details not otherwise available.

 

What about Emma and Mr. Knightley? Are they already married in your story? What’s their ménage like?

 

The Highbury Murders is set about a year after the close of Emma, so Mr. Knightley and Emma are married, as are the other couples: Harriet Smith and Robert Martin, and Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill. Mr. and Mrs. Knightley are living at Hartfield, which is what they decided they would do at the end of Emma (they will do so for as long as Mr. Woodhouse lives, which Jane Austen indicated in a separate note would be about two more years). They have a baby boy named George, after Mr. Knightley. 

 

Two of the other recently married couples have also produced children in The Highbury Murders.  As Harriet Martin was so indecisive in Emma, I thought it fitting for her not to be able to “decide” whether she wanted a boy or a girl and so inconveniently gave her both. The young Mrs. Martin is distracted and exhausted from taking care of her twins. Like Emma, Mrs. Elton has had a boy, named Philip for her husband. Little Philip is a few months older than Baby Knightley, and in keeping with her character, Mrs. Elton keeps hinting that her little boy is superior to Emma’s son.

 

Who is your favorite Austen hero/heroine? Why?

 

My favorite hero is Mr. Knightley, which will surprise no one.  He is perceptive, fair-minded, generous and industrious. Of the heroines, I most admire Charlotte Lucas.  Some condemn her because she did not marry for love, but she did not have that option. Instead of ridiculing her spouse, as Mr. Bennet does, or cheating on him, which is Mrs. Rushworth’s solution in Mansfield Park, Charlotte manages Mr. Collins with patience and tact. She saw an opportunity, seized it and made the most of it.

Reviews

FromAustenProse – A Jane Austen Blog”

This story is a continuation of Emma and it really blends very seamlessly with the first book. The plot flowed perfectly from the original, so I could imagine all these things happening to the folks we know and love in Highbury. The author also writes very well. As soon as I started reading, I was impressed with the way she captured Jane Austen’s language, tone, and style. That’s no easy feat and it really helped me to get invested in the story.

The characters, too, are natural extensions of the original. Emma is just as witty and spirited as always, though marrying Mr. Knightley has helped to make her a little bit wiser. I really enjoyed reading the details about their married life together as they are one of my favorite Austen couples. Other minor characters have expanded and delightful roles. Mrs. Elton is as ill-mannered, obnoxious, and comical as ever. And poor Mr. Woodhouse! How can he even think about walking in his garden with murderers afoot?

From “Girl Lost in a Book” to be cross-posted at Cozy-Mystery

I have a really hard time getting into sequels to classics not written by the original author. ... However, with this one, Grossack's writing is spot on when it comes to capturing Jane Austen's tone and writing style. ... Jane Austen is simply one of my favorite authors of all times and for someone modern and new to capture her voice so well, it actually is quite stunning.

The murder in this one is not one easily solved and there are a lot of suspects and motives and clues that will have you guessing until the very end. I love how this one stayed true to Emma and yet was unique in its own way... A great read that I could not put down and one that pleasantly left me surprised and in awe.

From "Susan's Picks Blog" at Books n Stuff

A mystery set in the village of Jane Austen's Emma,” about says it all! What a fun, charming murder mystery - sounds strange to call a murder mystery charming, but it is! This story is just like reading a sequel to Austen's Emma. Ms. Grossack captured the heart of Emma and her fellow villagers in Highbury. You feel like you're reading Austen.

From "Monday Murder Mystery"

In the author’s note at the end of The Highbury Murders: A Mystery Set in the Village of Jane Austen’s Emma, Victoria Grossack writes:

“Jane Austen’s Emma has been famously described as a detective novel without a body.” 

So she (Victoria) sets about to reveal just where the body in Emma was and how it got dead. This is a skillful, flowing tale told as perhaps Jane Austen would have told it had she lived and been so inclined.

Excerpt

Jane Austen’s Emma, a romance, begins with the characters reacting to a wedding. Victoria Grossack’s The Highbury Murders, a cozy detective story, begins with the characters reacting to a death:

       The death of Mrs. Bates, a very old lady whose hearing had long since gone and who had spent her last few months either in her bedroom or sitting in her chair in the parlor, would have gone unremarked in London, where people spent their time discussing fashion, nobility, and the latest offering at the theatre. In Bath her decease might have been mentioned as a piece of dull news, before the residents and visitors resumed discussing who had been seen at the Pump Room during the day or who was giving a whist party that night. In Highbury, however, Mrs. Bates’s passing was an event which was talked over in every house, both great and small. They wondered about her last hours, hoped that their own ends would be so peaceful, and discussed what they had heard about the funeral arrangements. To the romantic, a death may not hold the same fascination as the hopes for a wedding, but just as young ones begin, old lives must end.

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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels set in ancient Greece, starting several generations before the Trojan War. Archaeological evidence indicates that this “Golden Age of Heroes” aligns with Bronze Age dates.  Our series forms a tapestry, because the books tie together, though each novel focuses on one strand of story.  Jocasta, Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes, Arrows of Artemis  and Antigone & Creon are available for purchase today. And more are in the works!

Not sure if you’ll like the books?  Then electronically download a sample at Amazon.  Clicking on the covers below will take you to that company’s website.

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Return to Home for Tapestry of Bronze

Do you wish to contact us?  Write to us at “tapestryofbronze” at “yahoo.com”

 

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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of novels set in Bronze Age Greece. 

 

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To see our novels at Amazon, available in either hardcopy or electronic formats, click on the covers below.  Not sure if you want it?  Then download a sample and see…

 

 

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You may be interested in visiting other parts of our website:

 

More about our books

      Jocasta

      Children of Tantalus

      The Road to Thebes

      Arrows of Artemis

      Antigone and Creon

     

βλία στα ελληνκα - Our Books (in Greek)

 

Odes to Olympians Contest Current:

 

Winners of Past Contests: Zeus  Hera  Poseidon  Demeter  Hermes  Athena Apollo Artemis Ares Aphrodite Hephaestus

 

Pronunciation Guide

 

Maps (Thebes, Pisa/Olympia, Eastern Mediterranean)

 

The Stories Behind the Stories

 

Acknowledgements, Thanks, Bibliography and Links

 

About the Authors

 

Victoria's Writing Classes

 

 

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