Good Afternoon everyone,
Today I have the pleasure to welcome once more Riana Everly to From Pemberley to Milton to talk about Death in Sensible Circumstances, book 4 in the Miss Mary Investigates series. This fourth instalment will take Mary and Alexander into a Sense & Sensibility setting, so I am very eager to see how this will play out!
Ms Everly is one of the authors I enjoy the most receiving at From Pemberley to Milton because she always creates very interesting guest posts, and today is no exception! Ms Everly decided to talk to you a little about London, and I hope her words will allow you to travel there 🙂
Thank you for visiting Ms Everly, it is always a pleasure to have you here and to read your informative posts 🙂
Thank you so much for welcoming me once more to your fabulous blog. It’s always a treat to share my thoughts with everybody here.
I’ve been talking a lot about London recently.
London is one of my favourite places to visit. Whether I want history, art, music, theatre, fun neighbourhoods, or beautiful parks, it has so much to offer. Every time I’m there, it’s never for long enough, and a too-short trip last December has left me wanting more. But while I can’t be there in person, I can travel there in my stories.
Unlike some of Jane Austen’s novels, Sense and Sensibility takes place, in part at least, in this very real place, and she gives us details. Norland might be entirely imaginary, as are Barton and Delaford (and Pemberley and Highbury and Mansfield Park), but London is real. The areas she names are real. The streets where her characters live are real. You can find them on a map, and you can walk their lengths.
My newest release, Death in Sensible Circumstances, takes place in that very city in the year 1814, as Mary Bennet and her friend, the investigator Alexander Lyons, are pulled into the world of Sense and Sensibility. When Mary and Elinor Dashwood meet and become friends in a bookshop, Mary becomes a frequent guest at the house on Upper Berkeley Street, where Elinor’s kind friend and chaperone, Mrs Jennings, lives.
Miss Austen knew what she was doing. Mrs Jennings, whose wealth comes from trade, lives in Marylebone. This area, north of prestigious Mayfair, was new and shiny, and at the time of this story, was still being developed. Likewise, Mrs Jennings’ wealth is new and shiny, and she carries with her the traces of her middle-class upbringing. She, too, is still being developed.
The Ferrars, on the other hand, have a house by Park Street, in Mayfair proper. This is where the haute ton lived. Dukes and Earls had their townhomes there. Likewise, surely, people like Mr Darcy, with his ten thousand a year. This is where old, established families lived. Perhaps the shine had gone off the family’s bank account, but if they owned a house there, they would be welcome anywhere in society. It was that sort of area. And the Ferrars were that sort of family. This is what Edward Ferrars was prepared to give up in order to be true to his principles.
The Steele sisters, Lucy and Anne, seemed to have no permanent home, but travelled about, taking advantage of the hospitality of this relation and that, all over England. In London, they stayed with the Richardsons, who lived in Holborn. Holborn was an older area, closer to the old Medieval centre of London, the City, what we might consider shabby chic. It was, in 1814, nice. But not fancy. It was respectable. But not elegant. It wasn’t embarrassing, but it wasn’t Mayfair. Lucy knows this, and she aspires to Mayfair.
And then there is Gracechurch Street, near Cheapside. Mary’s aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, are not part of Austen’s world of Sense and Sensibility, but there is no reason they could not be. Mary, after all, needs somewhere to stay as well. It is, as the Bingley sisters laugh, almost in sight of their warehouses, but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Here is a brief history of the area.
Cheapside has a long and prosperous history. The street itself takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “chepe,” meaning “market,” and it has been a centre of industry and trade for over a thousand years. It is situated well within the walls of the ancient Roman town of Londinium, running roughly from St Paul’s Cathedral to the now-buried Walbrook river, where the ancient Temple to Mithras stood (which you can still see in the basement of the Bloomberg headquarters). The first church of St. Mary-le-Bow was built on the street in about the year 1080 by Archbishop Lefranc, and there may have been an older church on the site. In the 12th century, it was probably more like a market than a street, at 62 feet wide, and jousting tournaments were held there, with the roofs of surrounding buildings providing stands for the crowds.
By the early modern period, the area had become a centre for the jewellery trade and most goldsmiths had their shops here, but it was all destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. St Mary-le-Bow was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1680, and its tower uses the ancient Roman roadway as its foundations. By the mid-1700s, the area had recovered from the devastation of the fire, and became prestigious once more. Caroline Bingley might have sniffed at it, but being situated in this part of London marked the Gardiners as being quite well off, even if their wealth came from trade.
Gracechurch Street itself no longer hosts rows of fine merchants’ houses, but is now the address of modern office towers and commercial developments. But this is still the financial heart of London. This is where business happens. This is where the money comes from.
As a side note, in 1912 some workmen uncovered a huge collection of early 17th-century jewellery in a cellar, which became known as the Cheapside Hoard. Mary and Alexander might have walked past this building every day and not known a thing about the treasures under their feet.
I’ve had to imagine what Gracechurch Street was like back in 1814. Leadenhall Market was nearby, the docklands not so far away, but the Gardiners had no cause to repine about their little part of London. Here is an excerpt from Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery.
The rap at the door came as the family were finishing their dinner. It was early by town hours, but the children must eat at a reasonable time. Mary heard the door open and the quiet tones of the maid, presumably requesting the visitor to wait in the front salon. Her aunt and uncle raised their eyebrows at each other, but concluded the meal as if nothing were amiss.
“Up you go.” Mary’s aunt kissed each of her children in turn. “Be sure to complete all your schoolwork and then you may read or ask Miss Boyd to take you to the square. I shall be up later.” The four young Gardiners responded in kind, hugging their parents before disappearing up the back stairs. This was an affectionate family, elegant and sensible. The oldest child, a girl of eleven, was a great reader already and she and Mary had spent a great many hours discussing all the books neither of them ought to have read.
When the children were gone, Mr. Gardiner stepped out of the dining room for a moment. “The visitor is for you, Mary. A young man whom I have seen before but not met, but who says he knows you. He calls himself Alexander Lyons. A Scot, by his hair and his speech. Are you willing to speak to him?”
Mary could not keep the smile from touching her lips. “Yes, I will see him.”
“And I shall sit in the corner,” her aunt supplied. “I will not have you returned to my sister with your reputation blemished.”
Mary hid a laugh. If only her aunt knew how many times Mary and Alexander had conferred completely in private, and for how long! Mary had previously mentioned her association with Alexander, for the tale of how Lizzy was absolved of a charge of murder was famous in the family now, but the details, well, those she preferred to keep private.
“By all means, Aunt. Please, allow me to introduce Mr. Lyons to you.”
The introductions were performed and Mary and Alexander made themselves comfortable before the bright window in the back parlour. Mary’s aunt sat in a chair on the other side of the room, working at some sewing. Her uncle was in his study, the next room over, with both doors open. Mama would be pleased at the prodigious care her brother and sister took of Mary’s reputation.
“Mary,” Alexander began, his voice low enough that his words would not reach unintended ears. The crease on his brow betrayed his unease. “How long have you been in London? Why did you not tell me you were here? I have done something to displease you, but I cannot think what. I thought we were better friends than this. Please, can we talk?”
Mary’s face grew warm. Her earlier feelings of injury had been tempered by Elinor’s words, and embarrassment blossomed where indignation had once been. She opened her mouth, unsure of what to say, but the sight of her aunt by the door stopped her attempts.
“Later. When we are alone.”
Alexander’s eyes flickered to their chaperone, and he nodded. “Yes. Of course.” The words were all but a whisper. Then, in a somewhat stronger voice, he added, “I have something else I wish to confer about.”
Mary let out a rush of breath. “Something about Edward Ferrars?”
“Just so.” The copper head bounced in a short nod. “How came you to be associated with him?”
A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.
When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.
Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.
From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.
Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.
You can find Death in Sensible Circumstances at:
and at Kindle Unlimited
Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.
Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.
When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.
Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.
Her Miss Mary Investigates series has charmed both Jane Austen fans and serious mystery lovers alike, and readers are always asking when the next story will be available.
You can contact her throught the following links, she loves meeting readers:
Ms Everly is delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog she visits. She will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. She’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. She will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure she has a way to contact you.
Her email is email@example.com
Good Luck Everyone!
18 responses to “Death in Sensible Circumstances – Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway with Riana Everly”
Sounds great congrats on the book!
Thank you! It was a lot of fun exploring London through Mary’s eyes.
Oooo! Another mystery!
I hope you enjoy this one. It was a lot of fun to write.
Your name was chosen in a random draw (through random.org) as the winner of an eBook copy of Death in Sensible Circumstances. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know where to send your book.
added it to my wish list
Good luck in the giveaway draw!
Fascinating details about the metro London from Roman to Regency. Intresting how Cheapside has remained a market center even in this day with the business district. Look forward to reading this one.
It really has been the economic centre forever. That’s where the original Roman city was, so that’s the oldest development. And what do we know about people? We like to go shopping!
Love Mary so one I’m sure I’d enjoy!
It was a lot of fun seeing Mary and Elinor Dashwood together. They were instant friends. Marianne Dashwood–not so much!
I was pleasantly surprised to read that living on Gracechurch Street was a sign of wealth! Very interesting. I visited London in the early sixties on a coach tour with my parents. We visited places like The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the British Museum. Loved it. I also went several times in 2000 when my daughter was living there and we visited the V&A and Spitalfields market among many other places.
I love this excerpt and that Mary has reconnected with Alexander! The perfect couple to solve yet another murder. Thank you!
How many more do you expect to write in this series? Will Mary and Alexander finally become a couple?
Spitalfields was so much fun. We went to Leadenhall Market as well, but it was a bank holiday and so it was quiet. London is just amazing. There’s always so much to see.
As for Mary and Alexander, aren’t they sweet together? I have two more books planned for the main series, since there will be a mystery for each of Jane Austen’s novels. So next is Persuasion, and then Northanger Abbey. But I have more plans for Mary and Alexander after that as well!
Thank you for virtually bringing me on another tour of London, this time to Cheapside, Mayfair and Marylebone. If I ever find myself in London, I would surely visit the locations mentioned. The excerpt is interesting too, Riana.
Thank you! There’s really no end to things to see and do in London, and so many books are set there, you can spend weeks looking for locations.
Looking forward to reading this!!!
Thanks. It was lots of fun to research and write. I hope you enjoy it.
I have just done a random draw through Random.org, and the winner of the eBook copy of Death in Sensible Circumstances is COLLEEN!
Please send me an email at email@example.com to let me know where to send your book.