by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Arsenic with Austen, and a link to purchase it from Amazon. You will also find a fun video interview with Katherine.
Emily Cavanaugh’s life was on hold. Ever since the death of her husband two years ago, Emily managed to teach her literature classes at Reed College, looking forward only to graduation and the day classes ended. She is rocked out of this stasis by the news of the death of her great-aunt Beatrice Runcible, who has left her an inheritance in Stoney Beach, Oregon. Although Emily had some of her fondest moments as a child reveling in Beatrice’s grand library, it has been decades since the two last spent time together.
So it’s a complete shock when Emily learns that she is the recipient of the majority of Beatrice’s estate, which includes local properties and businesses worth over six million dollars. With much of the tiny town dependent on Beatrice’s – and now Emily’s – plans for their future, perhaps Emily should not have been too surprised to learn that not everyone believes Beatrice’s death was natural. What is shocking is that one of the most suspicious is Sheriff’s Lieutenant Luke Richards, the man who thirty-five years ago shattered Emily’s heart and still causes her heartbreak today.
They may have last seen each other when they were sixteen years-old, but the attraction and sparks between them have not lessened one bit. Throw in a disgruntled and smarmy heir, a grumpy housekeeper, an even grumpier cat, hidden compartments, and a development-hungry mayor, and you have a mystery full of enough intrigue and domestic drama to rival the works by Emily’s favorite author. It is by reading the works of Jane Austen that Emily hopes to receive some comfort and refuge from the turmoil seething beneath the surface of Stoney Beach, but she may be surprised at just how much else she learns from them.
Whenever writing an homage to a beloved author, there is the risk of straying too far and becoming either an accidental parody or a second-tier knock-off. The delight here is that the writing seamlessly becomes a tribute to Jane Austen, whose books serve as a support system for our heroine. What is so refreshing is that when Emily and Luke come to terms with their relationship and realize the missteps that altered their lives, they move on quickly and with mature grace. Similarly charming characters appear fully formed, including a pierced, tattooed knitting store owner, struggling single-mom housekeeper, and Emily’s supportive, alluring friend Marguerite. The somber tone quickly lightens once Beatrice’s unexpected gift revitalizes Emily’s life, and readers will be engaged and entertained by this witty new cozy series.
Video interview with Katherine. It was recorded right after she spoke at the Fresno chapter of Sisters In Crime so it is a bit noisy:
To enter to win a copy of Arsenic with Austen, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “austen,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 16, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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