Friday, April 29, 2022

53. Sense and Second-Degree Murder

Sense and Second Degree Murder. Tirzah Price. 2022. [April] 416 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: On the day that her life was to change forever, Elinor Dashwood awoke late with a wild hope fluttering in her rib cage. But, being the sensible sort, she kept it hidden as she rose, dressed, and joined her family for breakfast, stifling a yawn as she sat down at the table. It was a sunlit, cheerful morning, but her mind was still tucked between the pages of the book she'd stayed up far too late reading, so she didn't notice her younger sister's arched brow.

Premise/plot: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood team up to solve their father's murder in Tirzah Price's Sense and Second-Degree Murder. Their father has a detective company, Norland and Company, but all (house, business, estate) is left to their older (half) brother and his narcissistic wife by an outdated will. (Though the house, I believe, was entailed. But he could have left them money and the business). Their lives are turned topsy-turvy; they are snubbed by former friends now that they are down on their luck. But all the young women care about are solving the case of WHO murdered their father...and if they happen to solve a few of his open cases at the same be it. 

My thoughts: I liked this one. I didn't love, love, love it like the first book in the series. I don't know that I really felt Elinor and Marianne resembled--in any way--the Austen characters. The book also felt slightly rushed and under-developed. Perhaps because I feel it took a few shortcuts along the way both with plot and characters. Granted the original novel might drag here and there perhaps. I'm not one to judge readers who might wish to rush things along with the original. (I don't. I like the journey just as much if not more than the final destination.) 

Elinor's "big" thing (if you will) is science and in particular chemistry. Since I love the Flavia De Luce novels, I thought I'd probably enjoy this one too. Marianne's "big" thing is detecting. But I don't think she's suited for it because she has some major blind spots and prejudices, if you will. (Like determining if a person is a potential suspect based on attractiveness. If she likes-likes a guy, well, then obviously he has to be innocent. If she finds a guy a bore and not worth her time, well, then obviously he could be a murderer.) Margaret, the younger sister, has some potential but isn't given enough time.

I do think it is interesting that the focus is on laudanum and opium and drug abuse...this was very much an issue in the nineteenth century.  


© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Joy said...

Ohhh I love this spin on Jane Austen's novel and it's a series? I can be persuaded to read them. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

Becky said...

Joy, yes it's a "series." The first book is a spin on Pride and Prejudice. The third, I believe, will be a spin on Mansfeld Park. Each book has its own set of characters; but all three are now mysteries. I really LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the first book Pride and Premeditation.