Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and Stalking Jack the Ripper. In Sense and Second-Degree Murder, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.
When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.
But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.
Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.
Title: Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery, #2)
Author: Tirzah Price
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
I am in continual awe of Price’s retellings. They’re smart, funny, and keep me guessing ’til the end.
This was a retelling of “Sense and Sensibility” and it was very well done. We get all the things we love from the original story with a murder-mystery twist. Elinor and Marianne are the two characters we hear the story through. In this book, Elinor is a scientist/chemist and Marianne is a detective. I loved this change from the original! Although these interests and professions helped move the murder-mystery plot along, it also made the book more feminist even though it takes place in a time when there was no feminism.
Additionally, I loved the balance we received through the differing personalities of Elinor and Marianne. They’re very different and approach the murder very differently so we get some mischief and miscommunication in this respect. Still, I loved the sisterly bond they share and how they eventually reach their conclusions in the end.
The romances were really sweet in this book. Sweet, sweet, Edward. Ahh! I was in love with him from the first appearance he made.
Overall, this was a brilliant retelling and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a gifted and advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.
Tirzah is pronounced TEER-zuh. Pronouns are she/her.