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There Must Be Murder Paperback – December 4, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret C. Sullivan is the Editrix of AustenBlog.com, a compendium of news and commentary about Jane Austen's work in popular culture. She also created the website Molland's (www.mollands.net), a resource for Jane Austen fans. She is the author of The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World (Quirk Books, 2007) and contributed to the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (Random House, 2011). Margaret is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: LibriFiles Publishing (December 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615425879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615425870
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,620,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A perfect tonic for the mid-winter blahs, There Must Be Murder includes all of my favorite parts of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey--namely, the wit and charm of Henry Tilney, the interesting and picturesque setting of Bath, the innocence of Catherine as she continues to learn life's lessons, and the joys of immersing oneself in a good novel.

The novel picks up the NA story three months after Henry and Catherine are married and the premise is that they return to Bath to celebrate the first anniversary of their meeting there. I am happy to report that the couple is blissfully satisfied with married life--Henry reads The Mysteries of Udolpho to Catherine, continues to make her laugh with his arch commentary, and is more than happy to let her adore him.

Despite the ominous title, the plot is gently satirical, soft-boiled, and entirely enjoyable. Catherine discovers a rival for Henry's affections, Catherine is pursued by a rake, General Tilney is courting a likely murderess (aka The Merry Widow), and Catherine and Henry are revealed to be potty about dogs and indifferent, if not hostile, to cats. Who knew?!

Finally, the illustrations by Cassandra Chouinard are absolutely charming.

A quick read, There Must Be Murder, is a treat for Janeites and a must for those of us who are consider themselves players on Team Tilney.
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Format: Paperback
NORTHANGER ABBEY sequels are as scarce as a comely heiress. I can count them on one hand. THERE MUST BE MURDER, by Margaret C. Sullivan is a welcome addition to the slim collection. At 118 pages and twelve chapters it qualifies as a novella. I am not complaining. At all. I will take a Jane Austen sequel continuing the story after the wedding of our heroine in the making Catherine Morland and Austen's most underrated hero Henry Tilney without hesitation, but with a wary eye. The story has a promising beginning. The tone is pleasing and the reverence to canon characters a relief.

We find Catherine and Henry comfortably settled as newlyweds at Woodston parsonage in Gloucestershire. Ever the thoughtful romantic, Henry proposes that they celebrate the anniversary of their first meeting in Bath with a visit to the city. Once there they are reunited with Henry's sister Eleanor and introduced to her new husband Lord Whiting. Also in attendance at the Lower Rooms is Henry's father the dour autocrat General Tilney, his recently widowed wealthy neighbor Lady Beauclerk, her twenty-seven year-old unmarried daughter Judith, and her husband's nephew and heir Sir Philip Beauclerk. Catherine is happy to dance the night away, while family differences bubble and stew.

As Henry and Catherine continue to enjoy the delights of Bath attractions, they begin to learn that there are suspicious circumstances involving the death of General Tilney's neighbor Sir Arthur Beauclerk brought forward by his widowed sister Fanny Findlay. She believes his death had not been natural - and it appears that many in this unhappy family would benefit from his early demise. The suspects stack up like winter cord-wood ready for the fire. Is it the wife, Lady Beauclerk, eager to be free of his miserly pocketbook?
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Format: Paperback
One night, while fondly reminiscing over their first encounter in Bath, the newly married Catherine and Henry Tilney decide that they would like nothing more than to revisit the famous spa resort and enjoy its pleasures as a married couple. The romantic and nostalgic pair arrive Bath without encountering any "robbers nor tempests," yet are surprised to discover that Henry's father and sister have traveled to Bath as well. Looks like this trip will be more of a family reunion than a romantic rendezvous! While the Tilneys are delighted to encounter Eleanor and her affable husband, Lord Whiting, the same can not be said for General Tilney, who is still as truculent and stern as ever.

What brings the general to Bath? Not his health, this time. It seems after being a widower for ten years, the general is once again contemplating marriage. Who's the lucky lady? The recently widowed and supposedly wealthy Lady Beauclerk. Because of Eleanor's and Henry's concern for their father and disapproval in his choice of wife, the Tilneys and the Whitings keep close company with Lady Beauclerk and her clan. To Catherine, the Beauclerks seem a mysterious and scandalous bunch, and after spending some time with Lady Beauclerk's flirtatious daughter, immoral nephew, and melodramatic sister-in-law, Catherine begins to suspect that there are several skeletons in their closet!

There Must Be Murder is a brilliant and reverent homage to Jane Austen's Northagner Abbey. At 112 pages, this novella makes for an engaging and riveting afternoon read. In addition, the beautiful illustrations by Cassandra Chouinard delightfully enhance the story! My favorite aspect about this novella is Ms. Sullivan's portrayals of Henry and Catherine.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this "sequel" to Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey," now-married Catherine and Henry Tilney return to Bath for a holiday and find themselves again in the middle of an awkward romance, this time between General Tilney and a titled, obnoxious widow.

I picked up this book free during an Amazon giveaway. For some reason, otherwise sensible authors feel compelled to add on to Austen's stories. This isn't nearly as bad as most of them; Sullivan mimics Austen's style well and keeps her story in line with their characters. But it lacks focus, and whatever it is, it is certainly not a mystery. The characters themselves are interesting enough that I finished the book, but the only reason I can see to read it at all is if you want to see Sullivan's take on what happened to Catherine and Henry after "Northanger Abbey" ended.
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