The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane AustenLindsay Ashford-

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen
Lindsay Ashford
Sourcebooks, Aug 6 2013, $14.99
ISBN 9781402282126

In 1817 Jane Austen died when she was forty-one years old. The family governess Anne Sharp who loved the author was heartbroken but took some mementos secretly. In 1843, still missing Jane, Anne sends a locket of Austen’s hair to Dr. Zechariah Stillar to test as the former governess refuses to believe her beloved Jane died of natural causes when the entire rest of the family lived many more years. Using a test devised by Mister James Marsh, Dr. Stillar tells Anne that the hair contained fifteen times the normal amount of arsenic. He further says Miss Austen was almost definitely poisoned but bringing the perpetrator to justice twenty-six after the murder occurred is virtually impossible. Anne looks back at the extended family while re-reading Mansfield Park and the other novels for clues as to whom murdered Jane Austen.

Based on the real Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen, Lindsay Ashford provides a wonderful historical mystery and family drama from the perspective of the family governess at the time the author died. The brisk storyline grips the audience, especially Janeites, with the “cold case” used as a means for Jane Austen’s fans to learn more about her relationships while wondering whether one of her family members murdered her.

Harriet Klausner

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