Sense and Second-Degree ­Murder

HarperTeen. (Jane Austen Murder ­Mysteries: Bk. 2). Apr. 2022. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062889836.
Gr 9 Up–Price’s second “Jane Austen Murder Mystery” is just as clever as the first (Pride and Premeditation), this time giving a murderous spin to Sense and Sensibility. This novel begins much the same as Jane Austen’s classic, with the death of the Dashwood patriarch and their brother’s inheriting everything. However, in this tale Elinor and Marianne discover that their father’s death was a poisoning. Marianne, an apprentice detective following in her father’s footsteps, and Elinor, an aspiring chemist, are the perfect duo to take on the case. Over the course of the investigation characters from the original novel appear, easily recognizable despite changes in circumstance for many of them, because Price expertly crafts their personalities to match the source material. The mystery is just complex enough to keep readers guessing without becoming frustrating, it revolves around opium, so the book may be better suited to more mature readers. A suspension of disbelief may be necessary due to the historical inaccuracies (explained in an author’s note) regarding the Dashwood sisters’ unladylike, but empowering, behavior. All characters are white.
VERDICT A delightful reimagining of a classic that will be enjoyed by Jane Austen fans and mystery readers alike.

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