Monday, April 3, 2023

"Death in Sensible Circumstances" by Riana Everly ~ Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Hello, friends! Today, it's my pleasure to have Riana Everly visiting with us. Her new book, and the 4th in the Miss Mary Investigates Series, Death in Sensible Circumstance, was released on March 1, 2023. Riana is here with a fun word from Elinor Dashwood and an excerpt from the book! Plus, details for a giveaway are at the bottom of this page. 

Elinor Dashwood Speaks

Good day, friends,

It is I, Elinor Dashwood, who am here to talk with you today. My friend, Miss Mary Bennet, had so hoped to join us, but she was called away on a most urgent matter, and begged me to entertain you in her stead. It was unavoidable and was, I believe, the sensible thing to do.

I recently made the acquaintance of Miss Bennet whilst we were both staying in London, she with her aunt and uncle, and I with a relation of sorts, a generous woman named Mrs Jennings. I had expected something of a tedious stay in Town, for my sister Marianne was in very low spirits. We had been invited as a diversion from the small society at home, but had Marianne hoped to find the suitor who had abandoned her there. Alas, when we did discover him, it was to learn that he was engaged to somebody else, and Marianne has been inconsolable since. I had resigned myself to months of tedium listening to my poor sister’s woes, when, to my delight, I happened across Mary Bennet at a bookshop.

What a delightful friend; so interesting and informed, and yet so sensible. I am very pleased to have met her.

How much more unusual still the summer became when, first, tragedy struck in the form of a most tragic death, and later, when I became involved in the pursuit of the killer. This unexpected turn of events was rendered more yet extraordinary when the man suspected of instigating the murder was somebody I… esteem greatly. And that is only the beginning of the how convoluted affairs became!

How clever my friend Mary was, to have solved this baffling mystery. She and her companion, a rather handsome investigator named Alexander Lyons, had all manner of tales to tell me when, at last, the killer was discovered. 

But I shall not tell you that tale at the moment. Instead, here is an account of how all these adventures began, when first I made the acquaintance of Miss Mary Bennet. 

From Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery

March 23, 1814

Mary Bennet could not name how many times she had walked past this particular shop on the corner. From the outside, it was an unassuming establishment, mere steps from the Bond Street Bazaar. Whilst walking down the street, one could see a small display of books in a window, but there was no apparent door, and a passerby might well believe the shop merely to be another of the booths in an arcade near The Exchange. But if one were to take a few strides down that other street—little more than a laneway, really—there one would find the green painted door that said At the Sign of the Phoenix.

Every time in the past, Mary would stare at the door and wonder what was inside, but had never entered. She was always on some errand for her aunt, or expected somewhere, or simply too unsure of herself to walk unescorted into an unknown establishment. She ought, she told herself, to know better. She was Mary Bennet! She had solved—with some help, of course—three murders! She was not some simpering and helpless chit to be scared of a bookshop. And yet she always found some reason not to take that final step and enter the establishment. 

Today, however, was to be different. Aunt Gardiner had told her in no uncertain terms to go and enjoy herself, and had even given her a whole guinea to spend “on matters completely frivolous.” When added to the ten pounds her brother-in-law Darcy had sent her for her stay in London, she felt as rich as the Prince himself. Yes! Today she would enter the Phoenix and buy herself a book!

She turned the corner and reached for the door. It swung open easily in her hand and she stepped through. And then her eyes widened and she gasped. Never had she expected this! 

The room, though not large, was larger than the outside promised, and was stacked from the floor to ceiling with books! More shelves than she could count crossed the floor from the side walls, all filled almost to bursting with every manner of tome. Here and there, scattered with no seeming sense of pattern, a chair leaned near a wall, a few occupied by an avid reader, and in the scant open space between shelves, a handful of small tables supported piles of what looked to be several copies of the same title. As Mary gaped, a ginger cat wound itself about her ankles and drew her forward a few steps, where she could now see, at the far end of the shop, a staircase leading upwards, with a sign that read More Upstairs. It was an emporium of books! 

Heaven, Mary mused, must be exactly like this, and then she chastised herself for having such improper thoughts about the nature of God’s heaven.

The cat rubbed itself up the backs of her shins and she stepped forward again. Now she could see a little desk in one corner, behind which sat a man of indeterminate years, neither young nor old, with thinning hair and spectacles. He peered at her through narrow eyes and gave a brief nod. He must be the bookshop’s proprietor. She nodded in return and hoped she looked friendly and trustworthy enough to be allowed in his establishment. 

“May I help you?” the man asked in hushed tones. 

She swallowed and her face flushed hot. Could she voice her request to this unknown man? He would surely judge her most lacking. A serious, sensible young woman like herself ought to be reading a certain sort of literature. Improving manuals, for example, or sermons on the proper deportment of young ladies, or edifying poetry perhaps. But what Mary really wanted, and what she was going to buy with her small fortune of coins if her courage did not fail her, was a novel. Perhaps something horrid, like Regina Maria Roche’s The Monastery of St. Columb. Or Mary Brunton’s Discipline, perhaps. She had heard this latter had all manner of Highland scenes, which interested her greatly, although it really ought not to do so at all.

There was Mrs. Roche’s book. She picked up a copy and turned to the first page. Was it horrible, like Clermont? Or worse, like The Mysteries of Udolfo? She had never dared to read something as scandalous as Udolfo, but she had heard so much about it… Still, she could not stop herself from reading the first page or two, or perhaps five, oblivious to the rest of the world. 

Perhaps she would do better with Mrs. Brunton’s Discipline. She replaced the copy of The Monastery of St. Columb and reached for Discipline instead, her eyes full of the stacks about her. But rather than her hand alighting upon the cool hard cover of a book, she touched soft flesh instead. She pulled her hand back as if burned, only to see another young woman do exactly the same thing.

“Please forgive me,” Mary blurted out, as the other woman exclaimed, “Oh, I am so sorry!”

Then both of them smiled and both began to laugh, which brought the shopkeeper around to ask them to please be a little quieter.

“Have you read Mrs. Brunton’s book?” Mary asked the other lady, her voice now low.

“No, although I do wish to. But I must hide it from my sister. She thinks me far too serious to read novels! I saw you looking at The Monastery. Do you like the Gothick stories?”

Mary felt herself blush and hoped the red did not go badly with her mustard yellow pelisse. “Oh no! That is, I ought not… I dare not. I am far too sober-minded for that! Although I must confess, I would like to see what it is about…”

The other lady began to laugh again and then quickly quietened down to a delicate titter. “We are much alike then. Which shall you buy?”

Mary pinched her lips together and frowned. “I cannot say! I would like to read both, but really must not spend that amount of money.”

“And I likewise.” Her companion shook her head and sighed.

“Ah, wait! I have a grand idea.” Mary beamed. She felt a great connection with this unknown lady, who seemed so similar to her and who had such excellent taste in books. “Perhaps I can buy the one and you the other, and when we have read them through, we might meet and lend each other our books so we can read both.”

“How very clever! Here, may I introduce myself? It is not quite the thing, and yet there is no one else to do the honours, and we are hardly at a ball or an at-home. It must be excusable. My name is Elinor Dashwood, and I am staying in town with my cousin for some months.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Dashwood. I am Mary Bennet and I am staying with my aunt and uncle. What fun this is!”

Before long, the two ladies had made their purchases and, seeing there was ample time before either needed to return home, they decided to take tea at an elegant tea shop by The Exchange. They talked of this and that and the other, and by the time both had to depart, they had become fast friends.

Death in Sensible Circumstances
A Sense and Sensibility Mystery
Miss Mary Investigates Series 

A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series. 

When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still. 

Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them. 

From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts. 

Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.
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About the Author

Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries. 
Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.

When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.

Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.

Her Miss Mary Investigates series has charmed both Jane Austen fans and serious mystery lovers alike, and readers are always asking when the next story will be available.

Connect with Riana Everly

Website • BlogFacebookTwitter • Amazon

She loves meeting readers!

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

From Riana: I am delighted to be giving away one eBook of Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery at each blog I visit. I will randomly select one person who comments as a winner. I’ll make the draw five days after the date of the blog visit. I will email the book directly to the winners, so please check back on the site, or make sure I have a way to contact you. 

Riana's email is

Good luck!

Thank you so much, Riana, for stopping by today! Also, for generously giving away an eBook to one of my lucky readers! 

Thank you, everyone! I hope you enjoyed Riana's post and that you are as excited to read this series as much as I am! Be sure to leave a comment to enter the giveaway! 


  1. Wow! Amazing teaser and excerpt - looking forward to reading this one. All your books have been great! Congratulations!

  2. For some reason, I'm having trouble replying. Lily, Thanks for your lovely comment, and I hope you enjoy this one as well.

  3. This is a series I really need to get moving on. I've got a couple of the books already. :)

    1. Hello, Sophia Rose! Me too! This series sounds fabulous.


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