There’s a type of cozy mystery where one figures out the basic whodunnitandhow pretty quickly, but the interest lies in the unfolding of the histories and characters involved. Katherine Bolger Hyde’s Arsenic With Austen is a delightful book in this genre. Though the setting is well-drawn and beautiful and the protagonist engaging, my favorite parts of the book were the places where the author clearly relishes the English language. Here are two of my favorite passages where the wit seemed in line with the Austen quotes throughout:
He preferred to be alone with his grief–though he wanted all the world to know about it.
Emily pushed open the door and paused to take a deep breath of thoughtful, well-educated air.
That air is, of course, in the beautiful and well-outfitted library that serves as the heart of the book. Besides the library, the house that Emily inherits holds other treasures, including cubbies hidden in woodwork and at least one secret passageway. Fans of the genre will understand how these details give one a little flutter.
Bonus Language Joy: Though it wasn’t low to begin with, my opinion of the story went up the first time the narration used the word “replete.” Most people these days have either forgotten the word entirely, or they imprecisely substitute “complete” in its place.
To go with this high-minded and literate murder mystery, I have chosen Tealyra’s Rosy Earl Grey loose tea. The floral aroma and bitter edge make for an indulgent afternoon pour that pairs well with cream and sugar despite its light liquor. The tea blenders were right to describe this blend as the tea version of rose Turkish Delight, but with a bite to it. I recommend that you brew it with an extra spoon of tea leaves added to the pot and serve with milk or cream and a little sugar in your favorite china cup.
This post contains affiliate links. I did not receive a free copy of this book or any compensation for writing a review.