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Murder At Mansfield Park    by Lynn Shepherd order for
Murder At Mansfield Park
by Lynn Shepherd
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

In Murder At Mansfield Park, Shepherd has turned Austen's classic Mansfield Park upside down. The characters are familiar, the setting is the same, but she has created something different.

Fanny Price, formerly Austen's meek character, has become heiress to a fortune, but she is scheming and heartless. Fanny hides her true nature from others to get what she wants. She is engaged to Edmund Norris but are they truly in love? Mary Crawford is now a main focus in this new version. Mary is thoughtful and kind, and knows her place in society. She suffers greatly from Fanny's vindictive side. Edmund and Fanny are each bored with their relationship, and even though they are still engaged, Edmund now has eyes for Mary.

Mary's brother Henry is a respectable landscaper. He has been summoned to Mansfield Park by Fanny's aunt and uncle, the Bertram's, to work on the grounds. Not everyone is happy about the changes that are about to begin and a family meeting is called so each can voice their opinion. When tragedy strikes and Fanny is found murdered on the grounds, everyone falls under suspicion, and a search begins for the ruthless killer.

Charles Maddox, a detective from London is hired by the family. He interviews servants, family, and friends, trying to understand what led up to this terrible event. Maddox is taken by Mary's quiet nature but also her outlook on the family and who would be the one to gain from Fanny's death. As the days go on, Maddox learns of family squabbles and differences, and things left unspoken. Soon a second death has everyone upset, and pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. With Mary's help, Maddox can now bring the killer to light.

Murder At Mansfield Park is a new twist on an old classic. It is brimming with romance and intrigue.

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