Monday, 12 October 2020

Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly
Today I’m happy to be welcoming Riana Everly back to the blog with her latest book, Death of a Clergyman. Name a clergyman we could do without – why yes, Mr Collins does spring to mind! But how did he die? In this case, not naturally. So we have a mystery on our hands. And who is a serious minded person who would be drawn to looking into this mystery? Why, Miss Mary Bennet! I know that this book will already be drawing some of you in with it being a mystery and having a focus on Mary.

Riana has come here today with my favourite type of guest post, where authors are so kind as to share with us some history that they have gleaned from their research, to save us having to research for ourselves. Let’s look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Riana, for her guest post, an excerpt from Death of a Clergyman and a giveaway for you.

Book Description

Mary Bennet has always been the quiet sister, the studious and contemplative middle child in a busy family of five. She is not interested in balls and parties, and is only slightly bothered by the arrival of the distant cousin who will one day inherit her father’s estate. But then Mr. Collins is found dead, and Mary’s beloved sister Elizabeth is accused of his murder. Mary knows she must learn whatever she can to prove Elizabeth innocent of this most horrible crime, or her sister might be hanged as a murderess!

Alexander Lyons has made a pleasant life for himself in London, far from his home village in Scotland. He investigates missing documents and unfaithful wives, and earns an honest living. Then one day Mr. Darcy walks into his office, begging him to investigate the murder of Mr. Collins and to prove Elizabeth innocent of the crime. It seems like a straightforward enough case, but Alexander did not count on meeting a rather annoying young woman who seems to be in his way at every turn: Mary Bennet. 

As the case grows more and more complicated, Mary and Alexander cannot stop arguing, and discover that each brings new insight into the case. But as they get close to some answers, will they survive the plans of an evildoer in the midst of quiet Meryton?

University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow in 1650
Guest Post from Riana Everly - The University of Glasgow

In Death of a Clergyman, Mary Bennet teams up with Scottish detective Alexander Lyons to help save Lizzy from the charge of murdering her cousin Mr. Collins. Lyons is no ordinary investigator, though, having taken a degree in Law from the University of Glasgow, making him as educated – or often, more so – than the upper-class gentlemen he scorns but relies upon for his living.

Why Glasgow? I had several reasons. The first was that Lyons is a Scot, and from a village near Glasgow. His way at school was paid by his late father’s patron, and Glasgow was close and accessible. He could, in good weather at least, make the trip to and from the university each day. But there is another reason as well why he attended a Scottish university.

Alexander Lyons
Alexander Lyons
Lyons, you see, is going to shock pious Miss Mary Bennet greatly when she discovers he is not an adherent to the Church of England. This might put him at odds socially in London, but more practically, it would limit his options. For the great English schools had a test of faith – a need to be Anglican – to attend as a student.

The Scottish schools – Glasgow, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Aberdeen – had no such religious requirement, allowing men (only men until 1892, alas) of all faiths to take their degrees there. Anglican, Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Quaker, even (gasp!) atheist – it mattered not, as long as he had the funds to pay his way. In fact, the first known Jewish graduate from the University of Glasgow was Levi Myers, who received his MD in 1787.

The school itself is one of the four ancient universities of Scotland, founded by papal bull in 1451, at the urging of King James II. It is the second oldest university in Scotland, after St. Andrews. The Bull itself was lost in the mid-sixteenth century, but the university has continued to grant degrees even in its absence!

University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
Glasgow is one of the places in my stories I have not visited. I had hopes for last summer, but an illness and then COVID-19 got in the way of my plans. It is high on my list, however, for as soon as leisure travel (RESEARCH – I mean research!) becomes viable again. Until such time, I shall have to let Mr. Lyons explore parts of the UK I do know, and will console myself with Google street tours and photographs.

Here is an excerpt from Death of a Clergyman.

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Excerpt

“My first impression, upon meeting Mr. Lyons, was not positive. He was dressed neatly enough, but in the garb of the working classes, with no taste or fashion, and he sounded like he had just been dragged across the length of Britain from a hovel in the wilds of Scotland. I was about to depart without ever stating my business, but I decided that if I were about to pay the man for his time in taking the appointment, I ought at least to sound him out about one or two smaller matters. Over the course of the conversation, I began to reassess my initial opinion of him.”

“Mr. Darcy!” Lizzy chided, sounding almost like her impertinent self once more, “I cannot believe my ears! Did I not hear you confess, when Jane was ill at Netherfield, that your good opinion, once lost, was lost forever?”

“Yes, well…” Mr. Darcy coughed and turned a rather becoming shade of red, before uttering a sound Mary had never heard from him before. Was that proud and aloof man chuckling? Now this was something for her diary! “What I ought to have said,” he corrected, “was that in matters of character, I am hard pressed to forgive a serious lapse. I will own, with some embarrassment, to having been mistaken on one or two occasions about the nature of that character before having had a chance to truly appreciate it.” He gazed at Lizzy, and to Mary’s astonishment, Lizzy gazed back. Perhaps Lizzy’s dislike of the man was not so vehement after all! It seemed Mr. Darcy might have reason to hope.

Mr. Darcy cleared his throat and led the ladies around the back of the pond, now heading towards the wilderness once more. “What I discovered was that I must not place such importance upon appearances. Mr. Lyons proved himself to be intelligent and observant, and remarkably well educated. By the end of our initial conversation I was no longer surprised to learn he had taken a degree at Glasgow, or to see him possessing the manners of a man of class and breeding. He has the makings of a real gentleman, never mind his Scotch speech and occasional rough ways

“Not to belabour the point, he found my sister. He found her within four days, where we had toiled in futility for three weeks. She was discovered in Ramsgate, where her companion had taken her under a false name, and where she was all but ready to elope with a man in whose character I was not at all deceived. He cared not at all for her, but only for her dowry of thirty thousand pounds. This man you know: He is George Wickham of the militia now stationed in Meryton!”

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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!

You can connect with Riana on Facebook, her website, email and on her Amazon Author Page.  


Book cover: Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly
Buy Links

Death of a Clergyman is available to buy now in Paperback and Kindle.

Amazon USUniversal Link • Universal Amazon Link • Add to Goodreads shelf


The Mystery of the Missing Heiress by Riana EverlyYou may have noticed that Riana has written a prequel to this book, The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, a novella which gives the story referred to in the excerpt, of Georgiana Darcy’s disappearance. This story is available on kindle and at the time of writing, the story is FREE. You should definitely download it if you haven’t already.

Amazon US Amazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf


Giveaway Time!

 

Book cover: Death of a Clergyman by Riana Everly
Riana is giving away one eBook of Death of a Clergyman to one lucky blog visitor today. To enter, just leave a comment on the post and she will randomly select a winner five days after this blog is posted. Please include an email address so that Riana can get in touch with the winner. “Name dot name (at) domain” will do fine if you want to avoid bots! Riana will contact the winner and email the book directly, so there are no concerns about not being able to receive Amazon gift copies, which sometimes happens.

Note about comments:  If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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33 comments:

  1. Love this excerpt! Seems like Darcy has a sense of humour and that Elizabeth appreciates him more! Looking forward to reading this.

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  2. The same university my husband went to (don't enter me into the giveway - already have a copy)

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    1. That's fun! I know people who have gone to Edinburgh or St Andrews, but not Glasgow. Now I do... sort-of!

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  3. I am delighted to hear that finally more attention is paid to Mary. I can hardly wait to read this book.

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    1. I did not take long for me to discover some of Mary's very admirable traits. She just needs a chance to shine. I hope you enjoy the book.

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  4. Ooh, a mystery! I am looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy. Cyndyhenry1@gmail.com

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    1. Mary finally gets to put her thinking cap on. Good luck in the draw!

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  5. Carole in Canada13 October 2020 at 14:07

    Scotland...I would go back in a heartbeat! The closest I came to exploring Glasgow was the airport and the train station at night! The Highlands and the Isle of Skye were spectacular! Looking forward to reading both of these stories! I love a good mystery combined with my favourite Jane Austen novel. To have Mary as the lead is bonus! I can just picture Mary arguing with Mr. Lyons. I am even more impressed with Scotland after this wonderful nugget of research.

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    1. I've spent just a little bit of time in Scotland, but it's high on the list for a return visit. We really loved the parts we saw. And yes, Scottish history is full of these nuggets.
      Did you know that there is an official tartan register , that includes a Jewish tartan, a Sikh tartan, a Jamaican tartan... So cool!

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    2. Carole in Canada14 October 2020 at 00:18

      No I did not! That is definitely very cool!

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  6. I do like mysteries. Thanks for a chance to win this book.

    odara7rox(at)rcn(dot)com

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  7. Patricia Finnegan13 October 2020 at 17:39

    I like mysteries and I love that Mary seems to be getting her time in the spotlight

    patkf2007 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Mary needs some love! I hope you enjoy this. Good luck in the draw.

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  8. Definitely caught my attention with a murder mystery and Elizabeth as the suspect. Interesting about the universities of Scotland not requiring the religious affiliation like those in England at the time. Sounds like a fun detecting pair.

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    1. Poor Lizzy did NOT have a good day. Luckily Mary and Alexander are on the case. And yes, that was something that grabbed me about the Scottish universities too - if you had the money (big IF, because school was not cheap), they were open to everyone.

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  9. Thank you for the chance at the giveaway. I enjoyed that excerpt, and I was thrilled to read that bit of research that you did for that book.

    PaducahTigress (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. There is so much history, so many little nuggets to discover - I'm pleased you found this tidbit interesting. Good luck in the draw.

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  10. What an interesting premise. Thank you very much for the information on universities and faith. I am amazingly (haha) not surprised that, in addition to excluding women, many of them excluded people for other reasons.

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    1. Because so many (if not all) of the early universities started life as educational wings of the Church, it's not surprising that many had religious tests. I was delighted to find the Scottish schools were different.
      One of these days I'll write something about the early years of the University of Toronto. There's also a lovely little scandal in Nova Scotia that led to the founding of Acadia.

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  11. Love this premise. Thanks for the giveaway! jadseah4(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  12. My heartbeat races just thinking about Scotland. My father's people were Scottish, Wallace... you either loved him or hated him. I don't think there is an in between. Funny thing... I live near Glasgow... but in KY. We are a sister city to Glasgow, Scotland. I've always wanted to travel to Scotland... and maybe some day... heavy sigh. My section of the state hosts the Highland Games every year... well not in COVID 2020. I already have Book 0 and will read it with this one should I win. I have it on my wish-list. Blessings on the success of this book. I like seeing Mary come into her own. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

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    1. Jeanne, Bethlehem, PA, near which we live has a Celtic Weekend and some entails highland games. This year it was virtual. You could watch it on Zoom or YouTube.

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    2. My husband's family is part-Scottish and (in normal times) my daughter does Highland dance. It's hard to think of someone related to me being an elegant dancer, but genetics are a strange thing! LOL And I never thought I'd miss hearing bagpipes every Sunday afternoon.
      Be well and healthy, and good luck in the draw.

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  13. Now I am wondering why Elizabeth was accused of murder, when there were others with motive.
    Ginna Say What (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Poor Lizzy had a really rough day! Good luck in the draw.

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  14. THank you for the excerpt. I am assuming FD is not hiding his feelings from them (as well as EB)?
    Thank you for that info... I would have never guessed that such a school would be open to different faiths (even atheism

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    1. Darcy is still hiding his feelings from himself a bit, but he'll come around!

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  15. oooppps sent it before completing... Eanoba@yahoo.com. Thank you for the chance to win a copy

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  16. I recently finished the prologue story which introduced Mr Lyons. I look forward to his further mystery-solving adventures. I am glad to see Mary is the one to find a gentleman she can admire and “spar” with. Thanks for the giveaway.

    maomac16 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. They each find a worthy opponent in the other!

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