I have never been remotely interested in reading one of the "hilarious" (not, probably) mash-ups of well-known novel with horror (or other) genre. The irreverent Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was the first one I noticed, but I've regularly shuddered at the sight of imitators such as Queen Victoria – Demon Hunter, and flinch at the prospect of Android Karenina, Henry VIII- Wolf Man, or the Beatles-inspired Paul is Undead. Therefore it was amusing to read Alison Flood's piece in last week's (2 April) Bookseller in which she says the joke has worn thin, having been initially enthusiastic:
"Enough, though. A clever independent publisher did something quirky and unique, which worked because it felt irreverent and original. Flooding the market with quick-turnaround copycats is none of those things. This particular seam has been mined: it's time for something new."
Quite. And I thought the same when an amusing post at Euro Crime blog flagged up three covers for three editions US, UK and Australian) of Murder in Mansfield Park in a post last week. The covers are interestingly different (worth a look), none of them the one I have reproduced here, but the book itself? As noted at Euro Crime blog, I said I'd never be tempted to read it. But…..Michelle Peckham's review, out yesterday at Euro Crime, has almost persuaded me. The review is particularly insightful as Michelle is clearly a (possibly quite unusual) person who is an enthusiast for Jane Austen and crime fiction. Hence, the review both appreciates the plays on the original novel, and enjoys the crime aspects. In fact, it seems as if the author, Lynn Shepherd, may have missed an opportunity, as Michelle writes that it is the prospect of married professional investigators of the time which is the strength of the book, rather than the Austen parody. I have to admit, on the basis of her review, I am a little bit tempted…. See what you think.