Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Riana Everly...Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery

 My guests today are Riana Everly and London's premier society paper, Regency Scandals Today. Ms. Everly is being interviewed about her new series, Miss Mary Investigates. The latest book in this series is Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery. We will talk more about it later, and Riana Everly has an excerpt for us as well.

Before we sit down for the interview, I would love to share a little bit more about this latest release. Here's the blurb for Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery

Blurb

When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets.

Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another!

Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?

*****

Since we know a bit more about the book, I invite you to sit in and enjoy the interview before it goes to press.

Greetings, Gentle Readers. Regency Scandals Today, Regency London’s premier society paper, is delighted to publish this interview with our favourite authoress of matters romantical and mysterious, Mrs. Riana Everly. We beg your indulgence as we relate every word to you, as follows.

RST: Mrs. Everly, thank you for slipping through time from your own futuristic era to speak with us.

RE: The pleasure is mine. And I must thank you for inviting me to talk to you, as well as to this lovely blog for allowing me the space to speak.

RST: What can you tell us about your new series, Miss Mary Investigates? I have heard of it, but know very little and would be illuminated.

RE: Gladly. Miss Mary Investigates chronicles the adventures and detection skills of Miss Mary Bennet. You know her, of course, from Miss Austen’s wonderful novel Pride and Prejudice. But whereas Miss Austen focuses her tale on the older two Bennet sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, my own tale allows Mary to step forward and out of her sisters’ shadows. In Death of a Clergyman, it is Mary who acts to save Elizabeth from the most dreadful accusation of murdering their vile cousin, Mr. Collins.

RST: Poor Miss Elizabeth! How fortunate that Mary was there to save her. But what of this second adventure? Surely Elizabeth is not so accused again?

RE: No, not at all. Now Elizabeth is quite safe from all blame and is happily married to Mr. Darcy. But Mary’s adventures are not over. In this novel, Death in Highbury, she removes to the world of Miss Austen’s novel Emma, where a new set of deaths puzzle her.

RST: Murders! How horrid! And how exciting. But I must ask, why Mary Bennet? If I recall, she is not the most interesting character in Miss Austen’s work. Surely Miss Elizabeth – or, rather, Mrs. Darcy – would be better suited to the role.

RE: You are quite correct, and others have, indeed, allowed Elizabeth to step into the shoes of the detective, shoes which she fills very well indeed. But Mary is not the unassuming wallflower some believe her to be.

Indeed, Mary Bennet has some particular qualities that make her a very good sleuth. The main one, ironically, is the fact that she is so forgettable. She is the sister that everyone ignores and pays no attention to, which means she sometimes hears and sees things that should probably be kept secret.

She is also smart. She might not have Lizzy’s sparkling wit, but she is studious and well-read, and she has a great deal of time to think and mull and ponder. All that time poring over her books of sermons and her piano studies has done something to improve her mind, after all, even if people don’t always want to hear the results.

RST: Miss Mary seems more than qualified for her role, then. Does she undertake these adventures alone?

RE: No, she is not always pleased by the connection, but she does have a confederate, an investigator from London by the name of Alexander Lyons. He is an annoying Scot with red hair, a strong accent, and no time for the upper classes, even though they’re the ones who keep him in business.

RST: A Scot? Does he (brings out fan) wear a kilt, by chance? La! Is it getting warm in here? Ahem. How did Mary come to know him?

RE: Alas, he dresses quite as any other Londoner would dress. When Mr. Collins was killed, Mr. Darcy engaged Alexander to help solve his murder and save Elizabeth from the gallows.

RST: Mr. Darcy? How was he connected to this investigator?

RE: It seems that Alexander helped Mr. Darcy with a problem of his own the previous summer. You can read about this in the novella The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, available at Amazon or at Smashwords.

RST: If Mr. Lyons is present again in Highbury, Mary must be quite delighted to see his kilt… I mean, his face again.

RE: Sadly this is not the case. When Mary is stranded in Highbury because of tragic events in London, Mr. Darcy sends Alexander down to see to her wellbeing. But Mary is not entirely pleased by this. Here. Rather than having me talk further, let me offer you an excerpt from the novel.

Here is an excerpt from Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery.

The sun had brightened and grown hot, and the village was now quite busy, with shopkeepers calling from doorways and windows, children dashing from building to building, tradesmen and village folk scurrying about in their daily routines. A small group were clustered outside of the Crown, talking loudly of the news from London, and a larger crowd seemed to be gathered within, from the noise that spilled out onto the street. Behind the inn, which sat in a sort of island off the main square, Mary could see the stables and yard, where a carriage stood devoid of its horses. It must have arrived some time ago, the team that drew it even now being tended by the ostlers, its occupants taking nourishment in the inn and tending to their needs. 

She had not thought Highbury to be a usual place for carriages to stop and take rest, since it was off the main roads and on the way to nowhere in particular, but people would travel where they must, and a respectable inn was not to be sneered at. Having spent her own time in its warmth last evening, she congratulated the travellers on their fine choice.

“Come, Miss Bennet, come with me,” Emma dragged her towards a tea shop that sat to one side of the inn. “You must try Mrs. Latimer’s ices. They are quite as fine as those in London, from what my sister tells me, and she has cakes and other treats as well. Do join us, Mr. Knightley. I shan’t tell Papa, for he would be angry at you.” 

A sweet ice sounded the very thing, and Mary was happy to oblige. As Mr. Knightley trailed behind them, she allowed Emma to pull her past the crowd by the inn and towards the door, but as they passed the narrow lane that ran down the far end of the Crown, she heard a voice she never thought to hear again.

“Now, now, Mr. Cox, this is a very fine tale you’ve told me.” She would know those deep tones and that broad Scots accent anywhere. “I admit it seems alarming, although such things are not unusual. I shall make some inquiries and will return to you as soon as I have something to relate. You’re staying in the inn as well? Then I shall see you anon. And thank you again for the ride down. ‘Twas much more comfortable a way to travel than by post.”

It was him. Whatever was he doing here? He could hardly be seeking her, for he had not come to visit as he had promised before. What strange business could have drawn him to this village in the middle of Surrey, near no town or location of major importance? And moreover, could she possibly avoid him? She hurried her steps to move to Emma’s side, the quicker to enter Mrs. Latimer’s tea shop, but it was too late.

“Miss Bennet! Mary.” He had seen her. There was no recourse but to halt her steps and turn to face him.

“Mr. Lyons.” Her eyes were narrow and cold. She had not forgiven him, and she wished to let him know it.

“I say,” Mr. Knightley exclaimed. “Lyons—I know that name. Darcy has mentioned you. Miss Bennet, this must be the very man you spoke of in your account of the incident last autumn. Can it be?”

With no good grace, Mary introduced the two men. “Mr. Knightley, may I present Mr. Alexander Lyons of London. Mr. Lyons, Mr. Knightley.”

“We’re back to Mr. and Miss, are we, Mary? Well, so be it.” His voice was resigned, his expression sad, but Mary cared not. They had parted as friends, and then he had broken his promise. Now that the introductions were over, they might go their separate ways once more. 

But Mr. Knightley shattered those thoughts. “We were about to take ice at the tea room. Do join us, sir. I would be pleased to know a friend of Mr. Darcy and of Miss Bennet too.” And so the invitation was accepted, much to Mary’s displeasure.

“What brings you here, Mr. Lyons?” Mr. Knightley sat back in the delicate chair in the tea room. The foursome had ordered their treats and were waiting for the serving girl to return with them.

“Two matters really,” the red-headed Scotsman replied. “I had been engaged to look into a situation that pertains somewhat to these parts, and matters had progressed to the point where I felt I must come down to make my inquiries, but it was a commission from another source that brings me to Highbury itself.” His eyes landed upon Mary and she forced herself to meet them coldly and then look away.

*****

Doesn't this make you want to read the book? It certainly did me. I'm hoping to start it soon. Thank you, Riana Everly, for including me in your blog tour. I wish you much success on this book and series.

For those of you following the blog tour, the schedule is below! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this stop on the tour. The Rafflecopter is below, or you can enter another way. See below!


Biography

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Contact Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RianaEverly
Website: www.rianaeverly.com
Email: riana.everly@gmail.com
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Riana-Everly/e/B076C6HY27

Buy Links

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/deathinhighbury

Amazon Link: http://mybook.to/deathinhighbury

Giveaway

Riana Everly is giving away five eBooks worldwide over the course of the blog tour, chosen randomly from people who enter. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter..

If you don’t like Rafflecopter, you can still enter. Just send an email to (riana.everly@gmail.com) saying so, and she will add your name to the list for the draw.
The giveaway will close at 12am EST on February 27, 2021.

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21 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the excerpt and am loving the character Alexander Lyons.

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    1. Thank you, and I'm thrilled that you like Alexander. He's become a real favourite of mine.

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    2. I like this character too. Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. Ha, that was great. I love that Mary Bennet is now solving a mystery in Highbury.

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    1. Thank you! Mary's next adventure will take her to Mansfield Park. I wonder how she'll get along there.

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    2. Isn't that neat! Oooh, I like the idea of Mary in Mansfield Park! I wonder too, but I have a feeling you already know! :)

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  3. I've read the prequel and book 1 so I am now ready for the next adventure. I can't wait to see these two working together again. And what promise did he break? Hmm, Mary is sure ticked off at him. Well, I suppose we'll see. Blessings on the success of this work. Thanks to Janet for hosting, and thanks to Riana and her publisher for the generous giveaway. Everyone stay safe and healthy.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Jeanne. I always love your visits.

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    2. Mary is intelligent and quite insightful, but she is still very young. Hopefully she'll get over her snit so she and Alexander can work together again.
      I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the first books in the series, and I hope you love this one. Thank you!

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  4. I love Mary's stories and P&P mysteries. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thank you. I hope you really enjoy the rest of this story.

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  6. Love the portrait included in this post! Fits Mr. Lyons perfectly! Ah Mary, so prickly but I hope Alexander can redeem himself in her eyes! Looking forward to reading this one as I loved the prologue! Death of Clergyman is on my Kindle to read very soon!

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    1. I loved that portrait when I found it. I had to, ahem, adjust his hair colour a bit, but Photoshop is your friend, right?
      I hope you enjoy these books. I had a blast writing them.

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    2. Hi Carole. It's great to "hear" your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by. Riana, Photoshop is definitely a good friend! lol

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  7. Thank you for the fun little interview. I have the previous two books, but they're buried in my TBR pile. I'm looking forward to enjoying them, and this new one, too.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it. When you dig down into your TBR pile for the first mysteries, I hope you love them. I have a massive pile as well, and it shows no sign of getting shorter anytime soon!

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  8. It's nice to have a partner in the investigation even though Mary isn't enthusiatic about it. (The other party seems to be).Thank you for the excerpt

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