An unexpected elopement, a possible murder and a duel await the sleuthing Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.
At a house party, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy notice their cousin Anne de Bourgh showing a bit more spirit after a lifetime spent under the thumb of her autocratic mother, Lady Catherine. When her mother advances a plan for Anne’s advantageous marriage to disagreeable Neville Sennex, heir to the senile Lord Sennex, Anne registers her repugnance by eloping to Gretna Green with Mr. Crawford. Arriving too late to stop the marriage, Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam are escorting the couple home when Anne’s injury forces them to stop in the village of Mansfield, where they are soon confronted by Crawford’s former mistress and a second wife. Elizabeth, Lady Catherine and her lawyer all arrive on the scene in time for the disfigured body of Crawford to be found and declared a suicide by the local magistrate, though the Darcys have different ideas. Lady Catherine, who hasn’t given up on the Sennex marriage, is willing to do anything to save her daughter’s reputation, if not her happiness, while Darcy seeks an honorable solution and Elizabeth a happy one.
The fourth in Bebris’s Mr. & Mrs. Darcy series (North by Northanger, 2006, etc.) combines Regency romance, gothic elements and a mix of Austen characters in a pleasantly lightweight tale.