SUSPENSE AND SENSIBILITY: Or, First Impressions Revisited: A Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery

Carrie Bebris, Author . Forge $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0509-1

Jane Austen fans who regret the author wrote only six full-length novels have reason to rejoice: Bebris's second Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery is even better than her strong debut, Pride and Prescience (2004). In the spring of 1813, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy agree to sponsor Elizabeth's sister Kitty for a season in London along with Darcy's 17-year-old sister, Georgiana. In the course of their social rounds, Kitty meets Harry Dashwood—a younger cousin of the Sense and Sensibility Dashwoods—and the courtship begins. Mr. Darcy makes inquiries into Harry's character, fortune and expectations, but no sooner does he receive favorable answers than the suitor begins to behave most strangely. Harry gives a friend the "cut direct" outside Boodle's Club, and there are rumors of gambling and worse excesses. It's up to Darcy and Elizabeth to discover the cause of these aberrations, and, if at all possible, see Kitty happily established. The author smoothly combines characters from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility while remaining true to Austen's originals. A few elements of the paranormal help illuminate the mores of the period. Regency romance readers will also be delighted. Agent, Irene Goodman. (Feb. 1)

Forecast: A blurb from Stephanie Baron, author of a historical series with Jane Austen as sleuth ( Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, etc.), will cue her readers.