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Charlotte Collins Mystery #2

The Darcy Ring: A Pride and Prejudice Sequel

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Charlotte Collins is reunited with Mr and Mrs Darcy in this mystery novella, but a theft at Rosings casts a shadow over the occasion.

Blame soon falls on an obvious suspect, but is the allegation true? Needless to say, it's left to Charlotte to discover the truth, helped by her childhood friend and the local villagers.

Once again, Mark Brownlow brings Jane Austen's Hunsford and Rosings Park to life in this Pride and Prejudice sequel. Spend some time with Charlotte and the Darcys, the indomitable Lady Catherine, the inimitable Mr Collins, a troubled Colonel Fitzwilliam, an unpleasant newcomer, concerned servants, and curious villagers.

The Darcy Ring is a quick and enjoyable Regency read, best consumed with a cup of tea or a glass of wine, a packet of biscuits, and a comfy armchair.

(This is a standalone story and also Book 2 of the ongoing Charlotte Collins Mysteries.)

98 pages, Kindle Edition

Published July 28, 2018

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About the author

Mark Brownlow

5 books30 followers
Mark is a British-born writer and travel journalist now living in Vienna, Austria.

Coming early 2023: a new Charlotte Collins mystery...

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5 stars
22 (31%)
4 stars
21 (30%)
3 stars
15 (21%)
2 stars
9 (12%)
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3 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Debbie.
1,487 reviews29 followers
August 2, 2018
This is another delightful mystery at Rosings. Charlotte Collins continues to be the voice of reason dealing with her husband and his patroness, Lady Catherine, who are usually the opposite. Fortunately, this time Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are at Rosings, as is Colonel Fitzwilliam, so she's got a bit of extra support.

The Darcy ring is an exquisite family heirloom that Elizabeth was given as Mistress of Pemberley, and Lady C. is ticked that it didn't stay in the family (which means, of course, HER family). Elizabeth doesn't wear it daily, saving it for special occasions. It goes missing from her room after having been briefly displayed during a Rosings dinner party.

Convincing evidence points to Anne de Bourgh's lady's maid, Miss Inglis. Mr. Dryden, a widower and prominent estate owner (Lady C's next choice as a desirable match for Anne now that Darcy's off the market), is certain of Miss Inglis's guilt, as is Lady C.

Charlotte thinks there's more going on because all the servants vouch for Miss Inglis's integrity. It's interesting to follow her investigation through all the apparent dead ends. The Darcys and the colonel do their best to assist. I love the way all four manage to distract and/or redirect Mr. Collins and Lady C. When the truth is uncovered, it makes sense but isn't obvious.

I especially enjoy the continuing thread of Anne's desires and her mother's regarding her eventual marriage. Is she really starting to see things Lady Catherine's way?

This is shaping up to be an entertaining, well-written P&P-centered mystery series. Go, Charlotte!
Profile Image for wosedwew.
1,142 reviews98 followers
March 30, 2021
These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of. ~ George Eliot

Elizabeth Darcy’s wedding ring is a simple gold – but the ring Darcy presented as her wedding gift is a marvel of history.

Quote from the book: Gemstones glittered as Mrs. Darcy twisted outstretched fingers. An oval setting encased a large cut diamond flanked by trefoils, each holding a ruby and two emeralds. Traces of black enamel encircled the gold of the ring itself.

How much art and science, and what attention, what care is necessary to render the sun-beams which are imprisoned in a tiny polyhedron of pure carbon, brilliant and sparkling! ~ Charles Blanc

Lady Catherine always coveted her sister’s ring – the famous ring that traveled down through the Darcy family. Since it had never belonged to her, of course, it should belong to her daughter! Such an offense to see it worn by the country upstart!

Elizabeth wears the ring only on the most special of occasions but she has included it with the jewelry she brought to Rosings for the first visit since the Darcys marriage. The ring is discussed at dinner one evening and Anne’s maid is sent to bring the ring to be admired.

The following morning, Anne and her maid leave for a few days in London. Then, the ring is discovered to be missing. Mr. Dryden, a visitor to Rosings and a possible suitor for Anne, immediately casts suspicion on the maid. But what is Dryden’s connection to the maid?

The emerald condenses the green of the meadows and certain aspects of the ocean. ~ Charles Blanc

Charlotte Collins must again step out of her confining role as a simple parson’s wife and uncover the truth before Anne and her maid return to Rosings. Skillful handling of her husband opens the path to detection.

Did you ever wonder why Dr. Watson was such a dullard? Because the comparison made Sherlock Holmes look all that much smarter!

Mark Brownlow uses a similar method to make Charlotte Collins’ detective skills shine. Not only Collins is simple-minded but so must Elizabeth and Darcy be a little slow. We also wonder about Colonel Fitzwilliam. Why is he so broody on this visit? A person might mistake him for Darcy.

This is an enjoyable, clean short story. Some questions are left open at the end but we can look forward to the third in this series when Charlotte and William Collins travel to Pemberley.

The ruby encloses the brilliant red of the clouds of evening... ~ Charles Blanc
Profile Image for Mark Brownlow.
Author 5 books30 followers
July 30, 2018
I feel a special connection to this author - the words all seem so familiar to me as I read them, almost as if he's looked inside my mind and captured my own thoughts.

Well, as always, I refuse to rate my own book, but think it's plausible to concede that I've read it. More than once.

Mr and Mrs Darcy are in town, which brings pain and pleasure for Charlotte. A theft, an unpleasant guest and a (not quite so unpleasant) newcomer all pose their own problems. Not to mention the ongoing challenge of living with Mr Collins.

A tiny bit longer and a tick darker than Charlotte's first adventure, but still plenty of regency flavour, a dash of humour, a good helping of mystery, and Lady Catherine doing what Lady Catherine does so well. She is not pleased.

(Now I'm off to see if this author has written any other books.)
Profile Image for Leslie.
2,716 reviews2 followers
August 31, 2018
“What are women for, if not to remind men of their fallibility and turn them to our purposes?”

This is another cozy mystery set in the P&P universe where Charlotte Collins is a Regency Miss Marple seamlessly moving between the gentry and the servants in her role as the wife of a cleric to solve a mystery.

Unlike the first book Lizzy, Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam are visiting Rosings and are active characters in the book. And truth be told I liked the first one better because they weren't there. I think Charlotte is better outside of Lizzy's shadow. Yes the book is called The Darcy Ring so I guess they were necessary but I think I would prefer not to have more P&P characters popping by. I think Hunsford and Rosings could offer plenty of excitement and intrigue.

It was still a good, surprising mystery.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books330 followers
September 3, 2018
Just after the events of book one, The Love Sick Maid, the Darcy Ring picks up with the people at Rosings welcoming The Darcys for a visit along with a suitor for Anne and a troubled Colonel Fitzwilliam. It isn't long before Mrs. Collins has a new mystery to solve and not just a theft. The mysteries of people's hearts require her understanding as well.

I enjoyed this one and the ongoing tale of Charlotte Collins as a keen observer and a woman of good sense who finds herself in the midst of troubles that need solving. If justice is to be done, Charlotte is the one well-placed. As the wife of the bumbling, nonsensical vicar and living in the shadow of self-important great lady of Rosings, Charlotte walks alone and she never feels it more than when seeing her best friend Lizzy so happy with a doting Mr. Darcy. Exploring Charlotte's thoughts and feelings as much as being along as she solves the mysteries engages me and makes me like her very much.

This is novella-length so it establishes the characters, situation, and then the hunt for truth quickly and paces off swiftly, but not so fast that development is neglected. This was written well and I like that there are layers to it and series arcs that carry through each book leading me to want the next one swiftly.

Historical Mystery fans and Austenesque lovers alike should give this delightful, sparkly series a try.
Profile Image for Racheli Zusiman.
1,413 reviews47 followers
February 13, 2022
ספר ההמשך של The Lovesick Maid.
מר וגברת דארסי מבקרים ברוזינגס. הטבעת היקרה של גברת דארסי נעלמת, והחשד נופל על הדמות הכי מתבקשת... אבל שרלוט קולינס מתקשה להאמין שהיא אשמה ומנסה לפענח את התעלומה. ספר כיפי ביותר ולא צפוי. אני מקווה שיהיה עוד המשכים לסדרה הזו!
Profile Image for Lona Manning.
Author 7 books30 followers
September 3, 2018
Charlotte Collins is back with another cozy mystery! Pour out the Earl Grey, slice the sponge cake and curl up for a trip back to Rosings where once again we meet with Charlotte and her husband, and the imperious Lady Catherine and her daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, still radiantly in love, are visiting from Pemberley. Colonel Fitzwilliam is on hand, but he is feeling out of sorts, and we also meet a new character; a returned Rosings resident whose interest in Charlotte appears to be more than neighbourly.
This time, Charlotte investigates the apparent theft of a valuable ring. A culprit is found and blamed, but Charlotte has her doubts that things are what they seem. To solve the mystery, she has to carefully negotiate the stratified social realm in which she lives, with Elizabeth Darcy's assistance. (I was amused that Elizabeth confidently "volunteered" her husband as well; it seems that I'm not the only wife who sometimes does this.)
I have decided that this cozy mystery series would make a fantastic TV series. Wouldn't it be great to have a TV detective series set in Rosings? There is a new mystery to solve but it is the inter-relationships of the characters which draws you in and makes you want to read the next installment in the series. Its delightful to read how adroitly Charlotte handles her husband, for example. The village is practically a character in the series in its own right; Mark Brownlow is especially deft at describing the surroundings. Charlotte is a highly sympathetic protagonist.
219 reviews7 followers
October 4, 2021
I initially thought to give this 4* then decided to bump it up to 5* because I really like Brownlow's writing, the overall premise of this series, and this story itself too. But then I took away a star because of the things I really didn't like.

The Darcy Ring being the second book in the Charlotte Collins Mysteries, could easily stand alone but in my opinion more enjoyable if you read the series in order starting with book #1. There are only a few references in book #2 that would give you insight to some continuing characters and their previous struggles or actions. But they do belong to the story arc of this series. Plus, I really liked book #1.

Obviously based on the title, the story surrounds a ring and in this case a stolen ring belonging to the Darcy family (not the Fitzwilliam family.) But there are those who seemingly covet the ring, or at least resent it's loss to the de Bourgh family through a marriage that didn't happen.

There are some obvious suspects and whether they are guilty or not they play an important part in the plot (not giving away any spoilers here, read the book and see.) Charlotte Collins is becoming stronger in her own self worth, although still humbled by lingering memories of her treatment by everyone in her past who thought she was plain and unmarriageable, permanently on the shelf. We admire her for being able to see and be seen and trusted among the servants, laborers, shopkeepers, etc., of Rosings and Hunsford. I really liked this building relationship with people she sees as her equal, that are deserving of respect and having brains, familial needs, lives lived outside their official class of servant or shopkeeper. This is really the best part of these books. I also loved her ability to maneuver, correct and guide Mr. Collins and still promote him in his profession and patronage from Lady C.

What I didn't like about this particular book was this: I thought it dragged a little bit in the beginning, I thought the set-up took too long. I'm sure that's just me, where I was at in my head and goings on in life in general. The other thing I didn't like was the portrayal of Elizabeth Darcy. Nope, not at all, sorry Mr. Brownlow. I think you may have sacrificed a beloved character in order to elevate the quality of another. It took away from your chief protagonist some, IMHO, not promoting her as we are supposed to believe such good about her. I also thought it was tiring to listen to a couple of characters repeatedly display (aloud) very jealous behavior against Mr. Darcy, and not only that but portraying our Dear Mr Darcy as rather stupid at times. Bleeeaah! Not sorry. We're told in the beginning that the Darcys are visiting to begin to mend a breach in the Darcy/de Bourgh relationship. Not yet a beloved family get together. No 'Happy happy Joy' here. The Darcys have left their estate, young son, and ongoing responsibilities that don't go away just because they are visiting some place. Mrs Darcy necessarily has changed, obviously needing to take on the responsibility under her purview back at Pemberley. Would they have given her obvious confidence and maturity? Of course, but we don't see this. Only Charlotte's attitude and jealousy toward her oldest friend. It didn't make sense to me. Just because Elizabeth now has scores of servants to deal with back home doesn't mean she would now dismiss the lives of servants in general.

Other things I DID like were the great build up of tension in the plot, the feeling that the timing of conviction of guilt and punishment was drawing ever nearer. Another thing was that I was completely surprised at the end of the story, the reasons, the who and why. Great!

I recommend this to JAFF lovers
818 reviews16 followers
November 13, 2019
Charlotte to the rescue

The second book in the series is much like the first in that Charlotte takes an idea into her head and then investigates it to the exclusion of all else. Elizabeth and Darcy are visiting Rosings, and a fancy ring owned by her disappears, only to be found in the room of Anne DeBourgh 's lady's maid. Charlotte believes there must be an explanation for this circumstance, other than simple theft, because the maid is well regarded by everyone.

I like this author. He is a talented writer and knows how to craft a good story. He is also good at preserving the characters created originally by Jane Austen, giving them the same quirks and personalities. Lady Catherine and Mr Collins are very familiar. Only Charlotte seems a little different, more of a busybody, more willing to assert herself and be pushy. She wants to prove the innocence of the maid and runs rough shod over everyone to do it. Then, she gives a stern opinion to Elizabeth that the new Mrs. Darcy is getting somewhat uppity and forgetting her roots. Not exactly the Charlotte we know.

The story is a drama, and is written in a serious tone, unlike Mr. Brownlow 's comic work in "Cake and Courtship." There are references to the first book in the series, " The Lovesick Maid, " so it would help to read that book first. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Charlotte.
Profile Image for Barbara Klaser.
538 reviews11 followers
February 10, 2021
This is a novella-length sequel to Pride and Prejudice that is a mystery rather than a romance. A theft takes place while the Darcys, now two years married, are visiting Rosings. The stolen item is a priceless ring that has been in the Darcy family for generations, and which Lady Catherine once hoped would become her daughter's, had she married Mr. Darcy, but now belongs to Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennet).

The assumption that a servant stole the ring leads to a search of their quarters, and it is indeed found in a servant's room. Charlotte Collins (nee Lucas) finds this solution of the crime too easy, too cynically presumptive that servants can't be trusted, and not believable considering the accounts by others of the character of the servant in question. There are other guests staying at Rosings, as well as many workmen doing some work on outbuildings on the grounds. Charlotte persuades Elizabeth to allow her to inquire further into the matter.

I like this clever mystery, and it's another beautifully written story by this author whom I'm coming to respect. I wonder if one of the characters, a naval captain, is likely to appear in future stories.
Profile Image for Nikii.
219 reviews11 followers
April 15, 2019
The second installment in the Charlotte Collins mystery series is as delightful as the first, if not more so. As the Darcys visit Rosings for the first time since their marriage (now two years past), a valuable family heirloom goes missing only to appear in a place that strikes the clever Mrs. Collins as suspicious.

Speaking of suspicions, the addition of a former naval captain to the nearby village has me wondering if a future tale will have Mrs. Collins solving the mystery of her own husband's death...
690 reviews6 followers
July 15, 2019
Avid Reader

Charlotte and Elizabeth finally see each other after two years. Elizabeth and Darcy have a son, but Charlotte and Mr. Collins have no children. A lady 's maid is accused of stealing the Darcy ring, a ring that Lady Catherine wanted for her daughter, but couldn't have because Darcy married Elizabeth. The ring came down through the Darcy line, so Darcy 's mother gave it to him before she died. Only a Darcy wife of the heir could wear the ring. Charlotte with the help of Captain Hayward, Elizabeth, and Darcy resolve the issue.
September 4, 2018
The Darcy Ring

Loved it! Better than "Lovesick maid!" Highly original and if you like Charlotte Collins, you'll love reading about her and the ever bumbling Mr Collins! Mr Brownlow please.... Keep them coming!!
Profile Image for Anne.
38 reviews1 follower
May 25, 2020
Charlotte finds a way to prevent scandal

A missing ring ... it appears all clear who took it, but Charlotte Collins will not accept the obvious. She goes digging for the truth and finds a way to prevent a scandal at Rosings with the help of Lizzy, Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,387 reviews47 followers
June 5, 2020
In this P&P sequel the Darcy's are visiting Rosings. Soon after Elizabeth's ring has been shown to the company it disappears. Although the ring is discovered in a servant's room, is that servant guilty of theft. Charlotte Collins thinks not and aims to prove it.
An enjoyable cozy mystery.
696 reviews
June 11, 2020
Another enjoyable read. Mrs. Collins is quite the investigator and seems to figure things out when the facts elude others. I would definitely recommend this book.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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