Review: Sense and Second-degree Murder by Tirzah Price

Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price

Sense and Second-Degree Murder (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #2)
Tirzah Price
Published April 5, 2022

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About Sense and Second-Degree Murder

When eighteen-year-old aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood discovers her beloved father slumped over the desk of his office study, she knows his death means dire straits for the Dashwood women. To make matters worse, an outdated will entails his estate—including Norland & Company, the private investigation firm where her younger sister Marianne worked as her father’s partner and protégé—to their half-brother and his haughty wife, who waste no time in forcing the Dashwoods out of their home and into a cramped apartment on London’s Barton Street.

But before they go, the Dashwood sisters make a startling discovery that points to foul play, and the killer might be family.

Obviously, the girls must investigate. It could be dangerous; it could ruin their reputations; and most importantly, it won’t bring back their father. But if the Dashwood sisters can combine their talents and bring their father’s murderer to justice, it may bring them all some comfort—and it might even lead to love.

Three of Jane Austen’s classic novels receive a murder mystery makeover in this romantic and thrilling three-book series that’s perfect for fans of THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY and STALKING JACK THE RIPPER. In SENSE AND SECOND-DEGREE MURDER, aspiring scientist Elinor Dashwood and her sister Marianne, a budding detective, work together to solve the mystery of their father’s murder.

Sense and Second-Degree Murder on Goodreads

My Review

From the first page, I was excited about the way the author captured the spirit of the characters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. I loved Marianne’s willfulness and passion and Elinor’s keep-it-together practicality. I found it easy to get carried away by the pursuit of the mystery of who murdered their father, especially in the midst of the Dashwoods being forced from their home and struggling to navigate their grief over their father’s sudden death.

The only character that I felt got really shortchanged in the story was Mr. Brandon (Colonel Brandon in the original). He doesn’t play much of a role at all other than as a past client of Marianne and Elinor’s father until late in the story. And even then, he doesn’t really play much of an active role in the story. He’s more of a convenient guy to have around? A good resource for the investigation. A guy who knows how to treat a bullet wound. So that was a bit disappointing, since he’s a favorite character of mine. I can understand why the story was told that way (the murder is really the central plot, not romance), and I like other things about the story enough that it wasn’t a deal breaker for me by any means.

SENSE AND SECOND-DEGREE MURDER is the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series that I’ve read so far. They definitely don’t have to be read in order, as the only connection that I noticed was a one line reference to the law office in PRIDE AND PREMEDITATION.

All in all, I think this is a clever remix of the classic story, and I loved reading it. I think readers who enjoyed MY LADY JANE or ONE FOR ALL by Lillie Lainoff should absolutely check this one out.

Sense and Second-Degree Murder on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Characters are white.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Elinor and Marianne believe their father was murdered. Before his death, he and Marianne investigated other murders. One scene shows a building catching fire. A woman shoots someone fleeing the scene.

Drug Content
Several characters use laudanum or similar substances.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of SENSE AND SECOND-DEGREE MURDER in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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