Monday, February 08, 2021

Blog Tour: Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery by Riana Everly - giveaway!

"When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets.

Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another!

Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?"

A Few Words from Emma

Thank you so much for hosting me here today. It’s the first stop on my blog tour for my new Austen-inspired mystery, Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery, and I’m thrilled to be sharing a bit of it with you today.

This is the second mystery in my Miss Mary Investigates series. Mary Bennet steps out from her sisters’ shadows and takes centre stage as a sleuth, accompanied by annoying London-based investigator Alexander Lyons. The first mystery, Death of a Clergyman, took place within the world of Pride and Prejudice. This new one, Death in Highbury, takes Mary and Alexander into the world of Emma.

Although Mary and Alexander are the ones who look into a rash of mysterious deaths in Highbury, their arrival on the scene rather throws the whole town into a bit of chaos. And since Emma reigns in Highbury, I’ll let her explain what’s going on.


Greetings, friends. I am delighted to see you. As Ms. Everly has said, our ordinary little town has seen a bit more excitement of late than is usual. It all started when, for reasons too shocking and unsuitable for delicate ears to discuss, a young lady arrived in our midst. Our friend and neighbour Mr. Knightley came to bring us the news that she would be in need of a place to stay, and I am always pleased to be of use to everybody in Highbury, whether from here or from away.

Well, perhaps not always pleased. I spare only as much time for Miss Bates as I really must, and now that Jane Fairfax is come to stay, I find I am forced into their company far more than truly pleases me. But our new guest – Mary Bennet is her name – seems a very charming young lady and I was very happy to offer her a room at Hartfield for as long as she might require it.

Let me tell you a bit of Miss Bennet. She is quiet in manner with a rather studious expression upon her face, and is most often happier to listen than to speak. In this matter we get along very well, for I am much happier speaking than listening. I knew at once we should be friends. She is genteel and well bred, and really quite pretty when she puts forth the effort to look her best. She tries most hard to be pleasing, and this is an admirable trait in everybody.

I have to say, however, that not everything about Miss Mary Bennet delights me. She and Jane Fairfax have struck up a friendship, which vexes me. Mr. Knightley says that I dislike Miss Fairfax because she is the one young lady in Highbury more accomplished and more elegant than I am, but I cannot agree with him. If I do not warm to her, it is because she is so reserved. Rather like Miss Bennet, I suppose.

Further, Miss Bennet seems to have attracted the eye of my own friend Frank Churchill, who until now has lavished his attentions upon me! Not that I desire them, of course! But… well, I must admit to being a wee bit put out.

Ah well, there is nothing to be done for that. Miss Bennet will be gone from our midst soon enough once this unmentionable trouble in London is cleared up. And in the meantime, I propose to spend a great deal of time with another arrival in our midst: the very interesting and rather handsome investigator, Alexander Lyons!



Here is an excerpt from Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery

“Yes, indeed, Miss Bennet!” Emma seemed quite keen to escape Miss Bates’ monologue, “Please let me introduce you to our other guests.” She took her leave of the foursome and hustled Mary across to the pianoforte where a very elegant young lady sat at the keyboard, not playing but talking to a smart young man who stood sorting through a pile of music.

“Here, perhaps this one, Miss Fairfax,” he spoke rather loudly as Mary and Emma approached, and handed the lady a selection he had pulled from the stack.

The lady herself blushed and took it to set upon the stand before turning her gaze to Mary. Emma made the introductions once more. Jane Fairfax was quite lovely in a very different way to Emma Woodhouse. Her beauty was of the classic and refined variety, where Emma’s was broad and extravagant; and where Emma’s eyes sparkled with ideas and emotions only just suppressed, Miss Fairfax’s betrayed nothing.

“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Bennet.” Jane Fairfax’s manners were as quiet and elegant as her appearance. “Are you to be in the neighbourhood for long?”

Mary explained the situation as best she could in a few short sentences. “Only until it is safe to return to London, or until my sister and her husband decide to continue with their plans to visit the area.”

“I will enjoy our acquaintance, then, as short as it might be. Please feel free to call whilst you are in Highbury.” There was a coolness to her manner, but it bespoke a reserved nature rather than a disinclination towards the connection, and Mary replied that she would be pleased to accept. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a momentary wave of irritation pass across Emma’s face, and she decided she had yet another mystery to solve, namely the cause of Emma’s dislike of Miss Fairfax.

Could the answer to that be the young gentleman who was standing between the ladies? He had been introduced as Frank Churchill, Mr. Weston’s son. He beamed broadly at Emma and flirted most shamefully with her, but his eyes, Mary noticed, flitted towards Miss Fairfax just as Mr. Knightley’s had flitted constantly towards Emma. Oh my, this was quite a mare’s nest she had landed in! How fortunate that all the parties seemed amicable, if not the closest of friends, lest it turn into a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.



Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

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I am giving away five eBooks worldwide over the course of this blog tour, chosen randomly from people who enter. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link or widget.
If you don’t like Rafflecopter, you can still enter. Just send me an email ( saying so, and I’ll add your name to the list for the draw.
The giveaway will close at 12am EST on February 27, 2021.

Giveaway - enter here!

Most intriguing! Thank you for that extract, and for stopping by. I wish you the best of luck with the new book! And thank you for the giveaway!


  1. Just finished this book yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it

  2. Replies
    1. I hope you love it. I had so much fun writing it and really getting to know Emma and her friends.

  3. I did enjoy the other books with Mary and Alexander. Emma is not my favorite but I like to read it nonetheless. Thank you for the possibility to win an ebook.

    1. I've heard this a lot. Emma seems not to be a favourite with a few people, and I completely understand why. But do give this a try. Emma is the background to the mystery, and the characters from Emma are all there, but the story itself is not based on the plot of Emma.
      Good luck in the draw!

  4. I enjoyed hearing Emma's perspective. I think she's going to have a few surprises coming her way!

    1. Yes, you're quite right! Emma helps solve another mystery, but she still has to figure out the most perplexing thing of all - herself!

  5. Congratulations on your new book. Had been gathering mystery books and eager to know how they will solve this case. Love to know their reasonings as they follow the clues


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