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Death of a Dandy by Riana Everly ~ Character Interview + Giveaway

Title: Death of a Dandy
Author: Riana Everly
Genre: Austenesque
Publisher: Bay Crest Press
Release Date: March 8th, 2022
Number of Pages: 310

Synopsis: The worlds of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park meet when Mary Bennet lands in the middle of her third adventure with handsome investigator Alexander Lyons.

The two friends are travelling back to Mary’s home after a visit to the Darcy family at Pemberley when their journey is interrupted by the news that Tom Bertram, the heir to Mansfield Park, has disappeared. Alexander is asked to take the case, and he and Mary find themselves as guests at the estate. The house is abuzz with activity as plans go ahead for a fox hunt and the performance of a play, and Mary sees intrigue in every interaction between the beautiful residents of Mansfield Park and their sophisticated guests.

When the hunt ends in tragedy with the discovery of a body, Alexander’s involvement grows even deeper, but every clue leads to even more questions. The more Alexander digs, the more it seems this death might involve people much higher up than he can reach. And the biggest question of all is who, exactly, was the intended victim of what is surely murder most foul?

Mary and Alexander find themselves hard at work to unravel a web of secrets and dark goings-on that enshroud the elegant estate of Mansfield Park. But Alexander is hiding a secret of his own, one which he knows will forever doom any possible future for him and Mary.

Will they solve the mystery before somebody else dies? And will any hearts remain unbroken if they succeed?

Thanks for hosting me today on my blog tour for Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery. This is the third mystery in my Miss Mary Investigates series, and once more, Mary is up to her eyebrows in something quite puzzling.

Since this is her story, I thought I would let her speak for herself. And so, allow me the honour of presenting to you Miss Mary Bennet.

Mary: Thank you. I am… I am rather unaccustomed to speaking before large groups of people and feel quite shy. At home I was always the sister everybody ignored, and it is still unexpected when people listen to what I have to say.

Riana: You are with friends and have no need to feel shy. But surely, your friend Mr. Lyons listens to you. Have you not helped him solve some mysteries in the past?

Mary: Well, yes. I do not wish to be immodest, but I do believe my ideas did help Alexander at his tasks. He quite surprised me when we first met, for after an unhappy first encounter, he did listen to me, and he took my suggestions seriously. Together we found the true killer when my sister Elizabeth was accused of murder. I discovered some matters and Alexander paid me the honour of hearing what I had to tell him. He is a remarkable man, and rather handsome as well. But… forgive me. I ought to compose my thoughts on more serious matters.

Riana: He is fine to look at, I agree. I quite fancy copper hair myself. But I am interested in your current adventure. How did you end up at Mansfield Park? What can you tell us about it?

Mary: Alexander was escorting me home from a visit to Lizzy and Mr. Darcy when he was asked to investigate Mr. Tom Bertram’s disappearance. Mr. Edmund Bertram, the missing man’s brother, thought it best that we stay at the estate, and Alexander agreed. It is fine here, oh so elegant and refined. The house is grand in every way, and it is beautiful as well, as are the people who live here. I feel quite out of place, a lowly moth in a field of butterflies. They are kind enough, and are gracious with their hospitality, but the only person who seems genuinely pleased to know me is not one of the Bertram sisters, but their neighbour, Miss Crawford. She reminds me in many ways of Lizzy – smart and witty, with a cheerful disposition and a charming air of impertinence. But she flirts a little too brazenly for my taste. Still, she is a friendly face and I like her.

Riana: And what of the men? Are they kind as well?

Mary: There are a great many men in the house. Mr. Bertram is putting on some theatricals, and he has an old friend here for that purpose. Miss Maria Bertram’s betrothed – James Rushworth - has taken a role as well, as has Miss Crawford’s brother, Henry. Furthermore, two young gentlemen from the neighbourhood have been invited as an audience and are in residence, and the house is quite overflowing with their exuberance. They are all polite and gentlemanlike, but they have motives that feel not entirely appropriate, I feel. Tomorrow, they have planned a hunt. I have a bad feeling about it, although I cannot say precisely why. I fear something terrible is going to happen. I would prefer not to talk about it.

Riana: Very well. Is there anybody else in the house? It sounds like Mansfield Park is a busy place.

Mary: There is one last person of interest, the Bertrams’ cousin Fanny Price. She reminds me a bit of myself. She is shy and overlooked, and takes refuge in edifying books. I have determined to befriend her whilst I am here. I hope she likes me.

Riana: Thank you for speaking with us today, Mary. I shall let you return to your friend, for I believe Alexander wishes to confer with you about his findings today. For our friends, I shall provide a short account of some of your tale.

Here is an excerpt from Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery.

* * *

Edmund invited them to sit and called for coffee and cakes. Alexander stopped him with a raised hand. “I thank you for your gracious hospitality, Mr. Bertram, but we are not here to impose as guests. Whilst I would not refuse a cup of coffee, you have no need to entertain us. We are here to make our inquiries.”

To her side, Mary could see another look of surprise upon Fanny Price’s face. She even seemed about to speak, before closing her mouth with an almost audible snap. The girl would never be so bold as to ask the question which must be burning in her mind. Mary chose to answer it, regardless.

“I have,” she turned to the timorous girl beside her, “been of some minor assistance to Mr. Lyons in his investigations in the past.”

“Minor assistance!” Edmund fairly shouted. “My dear Fanny, allow me later to share what my former classmate Elton wrote to me about Miss Bennet. She is most capable, a most valuable asset to Mr. Lyons indeed. Why, Elton told me…”

Whatever Elton had told remained unexpressed, for at that moment the coffee tray was brought in by a colourless maid, a glamorous and very pretty young woman trailing behind her.

“Edmund? Company? And so early in the morning, and with Tom still not returned? What can you have been thinking? Oh, Fanny,” the young lady added, her eyes alighting on the girl at last. “Aunt Norris was asking after you. Have you finished sewing the curtain hem yet?”

Fanny shifted as if to rise, but Edmund stayed her motions. “Our aunt and her curtain can wait. Finding Tom is of far greater importance. Julia, allow me to present to you Mr. Lyons and Miss Bennet, who have graciously offered to assist us in locating our brother.” He turned to Mary and Alexander and continued the introductions. “My younger sister, Miss Julia Bertram.”

Mary took a moment to examine the baronet’s daughter. Edmund had given a very brief family history during their short journey and had explained his father’s choice of wife some three decades before. Miss Ward, as Lady Bertram was at that time, had been a most inappropriate match, her family being of lesser means and no importance. Mary had assumed the man’s choice had been made at least partly on the lady’s loveliness, and seeing Julia, she understood Sir Thomas’ reasons. Edmund was a handsome man, and Julia was exceedingly pretty. Unless Sir Thomas was an Adonis of his age, Lady Bertram must have been an unparalleled beauty in her youth.

She knew not exactly what to think of this, of selecting a wife on the basis of a lovely face alone. Her own father readily confessed to having been turned by her mother’s high spirits and pretty face, and theirs was not a happy match. And yet, she could hardly begrudge her father’s choice, else she would not exist. Rather, she hoped the Bertrams were better matched in temperament than her own parents, and resolved for the thousandth time that if ever she should marry, it would be to a man of sense rather than appealing looks.

Although, should such a man exist who would consider her for his bride, she would not object to a handsome face. Brown eyes tending to hazel in the sunlight would be fine, and an unfashionable but still attractive head of copper-red hair… Her eyes darted towards Alexander and she forced her thoughts back to Miss Julia Bertram.

Author Bio: 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!

Riana’s novels have received several awards and citations as favourite reads of the year, including two Jane Austen Awards and a Discovering Diamonds review.

You can follow Riana's blog at, and join her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@RianaEverly). She loves meeting readers!


I am delighted to be giving away five eBooks internationally of Death of a Dandy: A Mansfield Park Mystery. I have set up a Rafflecopter draw, but for anybody who cannot use the link, please email me your name and preferred email address and I will add you manually to the list for the draw. My email is
Good luck!

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