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Murder at Mansfield Park [Paperback]

Lynn Shepherd
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 363 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin; 1 edition (20 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312638345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312638344
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,026,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write what I like to call 'literary mysteries'. In other words one part literary fiction to one part mystery, and each time inspired either by a classic book, or - in the case of my new novel - the lives of famous literary figures.

I started with Murder at Mansfield Park, which was 'Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie', then I moved to Charles Dickens with Tom-All-Alone's (UK)/The Solitary House (North America). That was inspired by Bleak House as my birthday present on his bicentenary.

My latest book takes as its inspiration the dark and tangled lives of the Shelleys - the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley who drowned at the age of 29, and his wife Mary, the author of Frankenstein. Their history is one of love and death, of secrets and betrayal, but it is also one full of strange silences and inexplicable gaps. My novel is an attempt to weave a story that can explain those silences. It's called A Treacherous Likeness in the UK, and A Fatal Likeness in the US.

I can't remember who it was who said you should write the sort of books you enjoy reading, but they were right - both my books combine my two great literary loves: classic English novels, and good detective fiction. I studied English at university (and have a doctorate in it too).

My other loves include cats (I have two), the English countryside (which I'm lucky enough to live in), Renaissance art (which I'm sadly not lucky enough to own), Palladian architecture, and America's finest police shows (Law & Order, Without a Trace, need I go on). Pet hates include wasps, monkeys, The Simpsons (just can't deal with the yellow faces), and the lazy use of the word "solutions" (I write for businesses as my day job, so that's the corporate copywriter creeping in).

My Twitter ID is @Lynn_Shepherd, and my website is

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Crime at Mansfield Park 18 Jan 2013
By Sabina
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At first it seems fun to be delving into the world of Mansfield Park, albeit with the characters mostly taking on different characteristics to those of Jane Austen's original ones. It's odd that we know (from the back cover) who the murder victim is to be, and this doesn't occur till we have no qualms about her being finished off anyway. There are some further unexpected elements, but the wit doesn't carry the story, and somehow the subversivness did not hit the mark for me. I would like to have cared about the characters more, but many were just not robust enough to 'feel real.'
A lot of people have obviously been delighted by this book, and it does show a good knowledge of the original, but I just did not love it enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Murder at Mansfield Par a disappointment 27 Feb 2014
By Nora B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Though the author seemed very bright and charming in interview, I thought what she had done with the plot and characters was --as usual with anything to do with Mansfield Park, which every adaptation of, except for an old BBC 1980s one. gets wrong. I thought there was no feel for the period, the dialogue was lame, and the whole --as far as I got --was characterized by the ghastly perkiness which writers who attempt to imitate Jane Austen substitute for wit. I would say that it is not nearly, however, as bad as any of the updatings of the novels currently flowing out by much better-known authors --I would give them 0 stars, whereas 2 signifies to me 'just about bearable'
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murdering Mansfield Park 12 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Austen sequel or entertainment is an not uncommon beast these days, even if Pride & Prejudice is more usually the chosen book. As the title might give you a clue - this one relates more to Mansfield Park.

The major characters from the Austen novel are all there in name, but characters and relationships have been seriously altered. The first third of the book is mainly made up of recycled dialogue and narrative from Mansfield Park, but not necesarily in the same order. Mr Rushworth's character is changed to be more like Henry Crawford (and he is given the 'black and plain' description belonging to him in the novel) crossed with Robert Ferrars, so it seems odd when he is given dialogue beloning to the Mr Rushworth of the original novel, although not perhaps as strange when Mrs Norris is found spouting his lines.....

Fanny Price moves to become a rich heiress and the eldest of the female cousins; her character is more like the Maria of the book crossed with Lucy Steele and Caroline Bingley! Maria becomes more like the Julia of the book and Julia becomes more like the Fanny of the novel crossed with Marianne Dashwood - got that yet?! Henry Crawford here I don't really know - I'm not sure we got a proper description, so he does seem a bit of a cipher.

It's not a bad book, but with the murders I found it all rather unpleasant - I prefer such things to be more about the solving of the mystery than the incident itself, and here we have so few characters who could have committed the crime I didn't feel like I was waiting with baited breath for the conclusion (it's not Pug, in case you were worried.....). some characters were so underdeveloped it was rather obvious that they wouldn't have been involved.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 27 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I only made it a quarter of the way through this, was very disappointed by it. The writing style was ok but sometimes the author was trying too hard to emulate Austen and falling well short. That I could forgive, but there was poor characterisation and plot and I found it boring. The author has changed the characters completely, so Fanny is a haughty rich beauty and Edmund is the arrogant son of Mrs Norris. Why bother using the characters from the novel and then completely changing them to make them unrecognisable? The character development was also very poor and I didn't care about any of them. I found the plot slow and shambolic, copying bits from the source novel eg. the play but these bits were not relevant to the plot or the characters. I plodded on with the book but have to confess I was so bored by it I didn't even make it to the murder!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mansfield park murdered 8 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In Murder at Mansfield Shepherd essentially uses the same setting and set of characters(though they are all vastly altered in everything but name)as Austen, and still exploring many of the romantic entanglements from the original throws a murder and her own detective into the mix. As such I was interested to see how this twist on Jane Austen's classic would pan out, but unfortunately found myself disappointed.

For me personally I didn't see the point of using Austen's original characters if Shepherd was only then going to alter them so drastically that they were no longer recognisable, or anything akin to the characters that have come to be cherished in the minds of her fans. Indeed the first few chapters I found rather confusing, like entering a parallel universe almost where everything is topsy-turvy to what one is accustomed to.

Despite this, I was able to eventually get my head round the new state of affairs and settle into the story, willing to still give it a go, accepting Mary Crawford as the new heroine and Fanny as the irredeemable character Shepherd paints her to be. However, where Austen's great skill as an author lies in the charm of her characterisation, the way her characters, heroes or villains, leap to life from the page, Shepherd's alterations seemed caricature in comparison. Hence, I found myself unable to really come to care for any of Shepherd's characters or connect with them.

Furthermore, Shepherd lacks Austen's subtlety and naunce, her irony and dry wit, such that the result feels heavy-handed in comparison.

As for the murder element of the story, whilst it added a little intrigue and drama, I had my suspicions regarding the murderer from the start and didn't think it was as well plotted as it could have been, nor measuring up to other detective stories of the genre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
Did not enjoy this book at all. It was a chore to finish and I would not read any more books by this author again,
Published 4 months ago by Shamilah
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
What awful rubbish, I gave up as I could not bear the way she mangled Austen's characters. It is difficult to imagine what could make it worse - zombies perhaps?
Published 5 months ago by Fren
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre
Plot line and writing style basic at best, Shepherd's work is substandard. If you're looking for a thrilling and exciting mystery book, look elsewhere - you will be disappointed. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Chloe Mears
1.0 out of 5 stars If Lynn Shepherd Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It
Or so she tells JK Rowling. Who has inspired a generation (or two) to lift their heads from their i-pods/smart phones and actually read books. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Natasha
1.0 out of 5 stars In true Lynn Shepherd spirit ...
Yawn - Ms Shepherd - another Austen inspired book, but this time you haven't even remained faithful to the characters - at least PD James did that. Read more
Published 5 months ago by C. Stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars "...the case admitted of no equivocation..."
This is not at all badly done – a mixture between the Jane Austen genre and the polite detective fiction of that era, almost on a par with something by Wilkie Collins. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eileen Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting hybrid
I bought this book on Kindle thinking it was a sequel to "Mansefield Park" after the manner of "Death comes to Pemberley". Read more
Published 6 months ago by Livvy M
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read!
I really loved how they changed the complete story of Mansfield Park and made Fanny Price's character better than it is in Jane Austen's book (pity! Read more
Published 7 months ago by Valentina Marangoni
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dreadful Parody
Apart from turning the original plot and characters completely upside down, this is an implausible muddle. I would not recommend it.
Published 7 months ago by S R E Buchan
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