counter create hit Jane and the Genius of the Place - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Jane and the Genius of the Place

Availability: Ready to download

For everyone who loves Jane Austen...The fourth engaging mystery in the series that recasts the well-loved author as a sleuth! In the waning days of summer, Jane Austen is off to the Canterbury Races, where the rich and fashionable gamble away their fortunes. It is an atmosphere ripe for scandal--but even Jane is unprepared for the shocking drama that unfolds. A flamboyant For everyone who loves Jane Austen...The fourth engaging mystery in the series that recasts the well-loved author as a sleuth! In the waning days of summer, Jane Austen is off to the Canterbury Races, where the rich and fashionable gamble away their fortunes. It is an atmosphere ripe for scandal--but even Jane is unprepared for the shocking drama that unfolds. A flamboyant French beauty, known for her brazen behavior, is found gruesomely strangled in a shabby chaise. While many urge the arrest of a known scoundrel with eyes for the victim, Jane looks further afield and finds a number of acquaintances behaving oddly. As rumors spread like wildfire that Napoleon's fleet is bound for Kent, Jane suspects that the murder was an act of war rather than a crime of passion. Suddenly the peaceful fields of Kent are a very dangerous place...and Jane's thirst for justice may exact the steepest price of all--her life.


Compare

For everyone who loves Jane Austen...The fourth engaging mystery in the series that recasts the well-loved author as a sleuth! In the waning days of summer, Jane Austen is off to the Canterbury Races, where the rich and fashionable gamble away their fortunes. It is an atmosphere ripe for scandal--but even Jane is unprepared for the shocking drama that unfolds. A flamboyant For everyone who loves Jane Austen...The fourth engaging mystery in the series that recasts the well-loved author as a sleuth! In the waning days of summer, Jane Austen is off to the Canterbury Races, where the rich and fashionable gamble away their fortunes. It is an atmosphere ripe for scandal--but even Jane is unprepared for the shocking drama that unfolds. A flamboyant French beauty, known for her brazen behavior, is found gruesomely strangled in a shabby chaise. While many urge the arrest of a known scoundrel with eyes for the victim, Jane looks further afield and finds a number of acquaintances behaving oddly. As rumors spread like wildfire that Napoleon's fleet is bound for Kent, Jane suspects that the murder was an act of war rather than a crime of passion. Suddenly the peaceful fields of Kent are a very dangerous place...and Jane's thirst for justice may exact the steepest price of all--her life.

30 review for Jane and the Genius of the Place

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kailey (Luminous Libro)

    Jane Austen is visiting her brother and sister-in-law at Godmersham Park, when a mysterious lady is murdered at the Canterbury Races. As Justice of the Peace, Jane's brother, Edward, must investigate the murder, and Jane is all eagerness to help solve the puzzle. I really liked this story and the history behind it. There is quite a lot of real history woven into the story with Jane's family and her acquaintances, but of course the murder mystery and Jane's involvement in the investigation are ent Jane Austen is visiting her brother and sister-in-law at Godmersham Park, when a mysterious lady is murdered at the Canterbury Races. As Justice of the Peace, Jane's brother, Edward, must investigate the murder, and Jane is all eagerness to help solve the puzzle. I really liked this story and the history behind it. There is quite a lot of real history woven into the story with Jane's family and her acquaintances, but of course the murder mystery and Jane's involvement in the investigation are entirely fictional. The best part of this book is the close look at Jane's day to day interactions with her family, her nieces and nephews, and especially her sister Cassandra. It's fun to imagine what their family dynamic might have been like. The murder mystery itself is good, but sometimes a little predictable. I was completely shocked at the ending though! I feel like the mystery could have been solved more satisfactorily. There are still some loose ends hanging around that bother me. I love the formal writing style that mimics the Regency era language. The dialogue is fairly close to what a real conversation might have been like in that time period. It really immerses you in the history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    A fascinating Jane Austen inspired Regency mystery involving horseracing, French spies and the "improvement of the estate" In the summer of 1805, we find Jane Austen visiting her wealthy brother Edward and his large family at their palatial country estate Godmersham Park in Kent, enjoying the comforts of living above “vulgar economy,” and the privileges of ease and splendor. Her father Rev. Austen had passed away the following January, displacing herself, her sister Cassandra and their mother fro A fascinating Jane Austen inspired Regency mystery involving horseracing, French spies and the "improvement of the estate" In the summer of 1805, we find Jane Austen visiting her wealthy brother Edward and his large family at their palatial country estate Godmersham Park in Kent, enjoying the comforts of living above “vulgar economy,” and the privileges of ease and splendor. Her father Rev. Austen had passed away the following January, displacing herself, her sister Cassandra and their mother from their rented residence in Bath. This was the beginning of their wilderness years, when the Austen women would shuffle about from relative to relative, homeless genteel vagabonds, dependent on the generosity of their families for a roof over their heads. While Jane visits in Kent, her sister Cassandra resides nearby Goodnestone with Mrs. Bridges, the mother of Edward’s wife Elizabeth, and Mrs. Austen is in Hampshire. Jane wastes no times in enjoying their opulent society with an outing to the Canterbury Races to picnic on the green and watch her brother Henry’s latest folly with the Sporting Set, his magnificent race horse Commodore, who is set to take his paces against the local favorites. Among the festivities, it is hard not to notice a beautiful young woman in a scarlet riding costume siting in a phaeton near their own carriage. As she lashes out injuring a young man with her driving whip, Jane is shocked by her wild behavior. Her sister-in-law Elizabeth Austen explains that she is the notorious Francoise Lamartine Grey, the spirited young wife of a wealthy local banker who owns the grand neighboring estate The Larches. Besides being a Frenchwomen in England during the height of the “Great Terror,” when many feared Bonaparte’s invasion of the English coast, she is disliked by everyone in the neighborhood because of scandalous behavior. While Henry’s horse loses the race, Mrs. Grey loses her life. Brutally strangled by her hair ribbon and striped of her red riding costume, she is found in the carriage of her former lover Denys Collingworth, a man of “slim means, illiberal temper and general disfavor of the whole neighborhood.” As the local Justice of the Peace, Edward Austen steps forward and takes command of the investigation, aided by the observant eyes of his sister Jane, his wife Elizabeth and their governess Anne Sharpe, they are able to recount the events of the day involving Mrs. Grey’s movements. But something is awry. How could she lie dead in the carriage and then later be seen on horseback recklessly jumping the racecourse rail, chasing after the galloping horses, collecting the winners up, and then promptly departing in her phaeton? All eyes are on Collingworth who feigns absence corroborated by a witness. He points the finger at family friend Captain Woodford and Elizabeth Austen’s brother Rev. Edward Bridges who are both deeply in debt to Mrs. Grey. Later we learn that her husband does not mourn Francoise’s death, nor does he attend her funeral. As the suspects add up, Edward and Jane are uncertain that what appears to be a lovers quarrel gone terribly wrong, in fact involves international espionage and Bonaparte far reaching ambitions. Jane and the Genius of the Place, is the fourth Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron, the very popular series involving British novelist Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth paralleling actual events from her own life. It is told in a first person narrative from Jane’s perspective edited from her personal journals discovered by the author in an outbuilding on an ancient Maryland estate. They blend the factual and the fictional, incorporating known events and facts from Austen’s letters, history, culture and politics with a clever mystery story. This is my fourth of the series and I found it fascinating. The storyline introduces many of the social pursuits that a Regency gentleman would aspire to: horse racing, “improvement of the estate,” cultivation of the manor house and family. In addition to the return of Jane’s favorite brother Henry Austen, we are introduced to her elder brother Edward, his wife Elizabeth, daughter Fanny and the brood of their other eight children. Governess to the two daughters is Anne Sharpe, who Jane will develop a lifelong friendship with. Barron did superb job with Elizabeth “Lizzy” Austen as companion and sounding board to Jane and the investigation. Elegant, intelligent and composed, Lizzy is the kind of mother, sister-in-law or friend that we all should have in our lives, but rarely do. It is understandable how her death in 1808 was such a shock to Jane and her family. I loved the introduction of the Austen’s governess Anne Sharpe, who we know little about other than a few surviving letters, and that Jane valued her friendship enough to give her a presentation copy of Emma when it was published in 1815. In this story she has a flirtation of such with landscape designer Julian Southey, which I wish had been played out more. The aesthetic movement of the “improvement of the estate” is woven into the plot in detail, and as a landscape designer myself for many years, I appreciated the beautiful descriptions of the transformation of English countryside into the picturesque visions made popular by designers Humphrey Repton and Capability Brown. Even though Jane Austen is criticized for not broaching politics in her novels, she did talk about them in her letters and followed the Napoleonic Wars through her two brothers in the Royal Naval. Politics, international espionage and French spies factor heavily into this novel in a clever way. In addition, with the introduction of new characters I did not miss the lack of Cassandra Austen, who seems to be a killjoy in the series, nor Mrs. Austen who is a bit of a downer for “our” Jane. Even thought the mystery drove the plot, I found myself guessing whodunit early on. It really didn’t matter in the least. The writing is so entrancing, the descriptions so mesmerizing and the characters so enjoyable, that nothing was wanting – well, except the shortage of Lord Harold Trowbridge, Rogue, Flirt and personal Infatuation. I patiently await his return. Laurel Ann, Austenprose

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carole (in Canada)

    Rating: 3.5* rounded up to 4* "And where but at the Canterbury Races, in the very midst of August Race Week, might one find all the excess of human folly so conveniently placed to hand?" (quote from the book) But does folly necessarily include murder? Little does Jane realize what she is soon going to witness on an outing to the races with her brothers, Edward and Henry, along with Edward's wife, Lizzie, his eldest daughter, Fanny, and her governess, Miss Sharpe. Jane is staying with Edward and Li Rating: 3.5* rounded up to 4* "And where but at the Canterbury Races, in the very midst of August Race Week, might one find all the excess of human folly so conveniently placed to hand?" (quote from the book) But does folly necessarily include murder? Little does Jane realize what she is soon going to witness on an outing to the races with her brothers, Edward and Henry, along with Edward's wife, Lizzie, his eldest daughter, Fanny, and her governess, Miss Sharpe. Jane is staying with Edward and Lizzie at Godmersham Park, their estate in Kent. Jane's brother, Edward, had been appointed as the Justice of the Peace. And when the body of Mrs. Grey falls out the chaise, dead, he must be the one to investigate. Of course, Jane has already had some experience with solving mysteries, he asks for her help. But that is not their only problem. Rumours of Napoleon invading England are running rampant and orders of evacuation are being issued. "Such a surge of melancholy was unlike my usual spirits, and I detected the effect of the oppressive weather - the lurking, ominous portent of the heat, as though even the air above Kent awaited the thunder of cannon." (quote from the book) Again, I enjoyed how the history of the times and of Jane's life are seamlessly incorporated into these stories. I do learn nuggets of interesting details that I was never aware of before. I will admit though, that this fourth book in the the Jane Austen Mysteries, took longer to engage my interest. I did suspect right from the start one of the 'how's' of the mystery and one of the suspects. I found it a bit plodding until about a third of the way in. By the half-way mark, I was finally very interested and I am glad I persevered. I do recommend this series and I look forward to reading the next one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Jane Austen's father has recently died and Jane is spending time in Kent with her brother Edward and his wife Lizzy. They spend an afternoon at the races, where Jane's other brother, Henry, has a horse in competition. What none of the party expect to encounter is the strangled body of Franciose Gray tumble out of a carriage that is not her own. So begins the fourth Jane Austen Mystery, Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron. I think this installment is, thus far, my favorite of all Jane Austen's father has recently died and Jane is spending time in Kent with her brother Edward and his wife Lizzy. They spend an afternoon at the races, where Jane's other brother, Henry, has a horse in competition. What none of the party expect to encounter is the strangled body of Franciose Gray tumble out of a carriage that is not her own. So begins the fourth Jane Austen Mystery, Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron. I think this installment is, thus far, my favorite of all the books. Perhaps because of the introduction of Lizzy and Neddie into the tales, but I'm not sure. I have really enjoyed the characters of Henry and Eliza in past books, so it was refreshing to see Jane interact and sleuth with more members of her family. Once again, I found myself trying to sniff out the culprit, but never getting it right! There were plenty of well-written suspects, and I love Barron's descriptions of people, places and things. Everything felt so authentic as it was written; it was very easy to find myself slipping into the 19th century Kentish countryside to walk the gardens with Jane. And that, right there, is probably why it is my favorite so far. I'm greatly looking forward to the next book in the series!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    As much as I was not taken by the set up of the third book, I was immediately in love with the set up of this one. Why? It begins at the Canterbury Races and involves regular references to the fear of an invasion by Napoleon, things near and dear to my heart. The introduction of Jane's brother Edward and his wife Elizabeth was quite delightful, and I admit there were more passages here that caused me to outright laugh (in the best way) than in past books. The mystery itself is more complex than As much as I was not taken by the set up of the third book, I was immediately in love with the set up of this one. Why? It begins at the Canterbury Races and involves regular references to the fear of an invasion by Napoleon, things near and dear to my heart. The introduction of Jane's brother Edward and his wife Elizabeth was quite delightful, and I admit there were more passages here that caused me to outright laugh (in the best way) than in past books. The mystery itself is more complex than it seems at first, and though there is one particular point I thought it took far too long for the characters to figure out, ultimately it was quite satisfying.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Finished it at last. It proved to be very tiresome read till the very end. To much niceties in text so meaning drowns in them and can't hold attention of the reader. I wonder if first two read stories had the same issue? I honestly can't remember. I also can't say i remember what they were about. What a pity. Jane just goes with the flow. She does not investigate. And it's what saddens me most. I would like to see more action. And here they just were handled the solution by the responsible party Finished it at last. It proved to be very tiresome read till the very end. To much niceties in text so meaning drowns in them and can't hold attention of the reader. I wonder if first two read stories had the same issue? I honestly can't remember. I also can't say i remember what they were about. What a pity. Jane just goes with the flow. She does not investigate. And it's what saddens me most. I would like to see more action. And here they just were handled the solution by the responsible party. Not very heroic if you ask me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    A very nice surprise. The mystery is almost incidental to the overall Austen pastiche, which is very well done. I have a good friend who shreds "Regency Romances" like a boss because it is her historical period, and she is alive to every mistake authors make. You know, giving people names like "Duchess Tiffany" or "Lord Taren". Stuff like that. Anyway, I was able to recommend this book without fear. People speak and behave pretty much like . . . well, like Austen characters. I suppose if there i A very nice surprise. The mystery is almost incidental to the overall Austen pastiche, which is very well done. I have a good friend who shreds "Regency Romances" like a boss because it is her historical period, and she is alive to every mistake authors make. You know, giving people names like "Duchess Tiffany" or "Lord Taren". Stuff like that. Anyway, I was able to recommend this book without fear. People speak and behave pretty much like . . . well, like Austen characters. I suppose if there is a warning about this book, it is by way of being a backhanded compliment. If you don't like Jane Austen, you won't like this book. I do like Austen, and I am happy to see that there at least twelve other entries in Barron's series, which is enough to give me a lot of reading pleasure. And really, what else do we look for when we pick up a new author?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Another excellent book from Stephanie Barron. I just love the MC, especially since I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen's works. The idea of Jane as an amateur sleuth is awesome. :) The author does an excellent job with making statements similar to Jane. :) This is technically the second time I've read this particular one, but the last time was so long ago, I didn't remember it. I did catch the twist before Jane and her brother did, and that may have been my subconscious remembering the story for me. ; Another excellent book from Stephanie Barron. I just love the MC, especially since I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen's works. The idea of Jane as an amateur sleuth is awesome. :) The author does an excellent job with making statements similar to Jane. :) This is technically the second time I've read this particular one, but the last time was so long ago, I didn't remember it. I did catch the twist before Jane and her brother did, and that may have been my subconscious remembering the story for me. ;) But, I still really enjoy reading this series and recommend it to anyone who likes Jane Austen's writing and mysteries.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Love the series, but the mystery and characters unique to this installment really fell flat for me. The saving grace of three stars is because I enjoy the author's style, the Regency setting, all that set dressing, you know? If this plot has been transposed to modern diction, I never would have finished it. I don't think the relationship between this Jane and Edward captured the impression that I have of it from reading letters/historical info, etc. The mystery was just really tedious, but also Love the series, but the mystery and characters unique to this installment really fell flat for me. The saving grace of three stars is because I enjoy the author's style, the Regency setting, all that set dressing, you know? If this plot has been transposed to modern diction, I never would have finished it. I don't think the relationship between this Jane and Edward captured the impression that I have of it from reading letters/historical info, etc. The mystery was just really tedious, but also busy and hectic. I didn't like it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Taylor - Muse Ignited Reads

    3.5 Stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    In the summer of 1805, Jane Austen finds herself enjoying the comforts of a visit to Godmersham Park, her wealthy brother Edward's estate in Kent. Following the passing of her beloved father some eight months prior, Jane, along with her mother and sister Cassandra, found themselves set adrift in the world, dependent on the generosity of more well-heeled family members to provide them with shelter and sustenance. Jane determines to enjoy all the benefits that come with her brother's place in soci In the summer of 1805, Jane Austen finds herself enjoying the comforts of a visit to Godmersham Park, her wealthy brother Edward's estate in Kent. Following the passing of her beloved father some eight months prior, Jane, along with her mother and sister Cassandra, found themselves set adrift in the world, dependent on the generosity of more well-heeled family members to provide them with shelter and sustenance. Jane determines to enjoy all the benefits that come with her brother's place in society, and is thrilled with a family outing to the Canterbury Races, where her brother Harry hopes to see a horse of his own meet with success. But a thrill of a different kind awaits Jane's keenly observant eye, when the universally disliked Francoise Grey, a flamboyant Frenchwoman, creates a scene and then is later discovered in a shocking state of dishabille, brutally strangled. With Edward serving as the local Justice of the Peace, Jane is privvy to all attempts to bring Mrs. Grey's murderer to justice - but events fail to lend themselves to a straightforward resolution. Was Mrs. Grey the victim of a simple lover's quarrel, or was she playing for deeper stakes - with an eye to Bonaparte invading England's shores? With the nation at stake, Jane's investigations threaten to uncover secrets that the powerful would pay dearly to keep hidden... For her fourth Jane Austen mystery, Barron continues her tradition of deftly incorporating a clever mystery story into actual known events that occurred in Jane's life. While Jane didn't broach political matters in her writing, it's clear from her letters that she was a well-informed woman, and with two brothers serving in the Navy it is no stretch to imagine that she was highly concerned with the course of England's war with Bonaparte. As Barron states in her Editor's Note introducing Genius of the Place, Kent was "ground zero" for Napoleon's invasion plans - and with the indomitable Jane there in the middle of it all, the possibilities for encountering some good old-fashioned espionage are endless. Barron couples her exploration of the political threat to England at the time with a focus on the pasttimes of a Regency gentleman that would have been of interest to a man occupying Edward's social position. From horse racing to the desire to "improve the landscape" with a re-routed stream or a well-placed ruin, Barron deftly incorporates rich period detail that brings Jane's world to vibrant life. Along with her brother Edward, we are introduced to a new coterie of Jane's family and acquaintance. While I desperately missed old favorites like the enigmatic Lord Harold Trowbridge and Henry's vivacious wife Eliza, I loved the introduction of Edward's wife Elizabeth - Lizzy - who serves as Jane's primary companion, and I can't imagine a classier, more intelligent foil and sounding board for Jane and her investigations. Barron also introduces us to Anne Sharp, the Austens' governess, with whom Jane would form a life-long friendship and later present her with a presentation copy of her novel Emma. I loved how Barron imagines Anne's storyline to parallel that of Jane Fairfax's relationship with Frank Churchill in Emma. She has a gift for subtly echoing characters or themes found within Jane's published works that make this series an Austen fan's dream come true. The storyline would, I think, benefit from tighter plotting and an earlier, and more in-depth, focus on the espionage element so integral to the storyline. But nevertheless, Genius of the Place is another thoroughly enjoyable entry in the series, replete with Barron's delightful interpretation of Jane's style, wit, and insight.

  12. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Jane is on the move again. This time she is at the Canterbury Races in Kent with her brother Edward and his family. Also at the races is the scandalous Mrs. Grey, a Frenchwoman who has captured the interest of many of the men in Kent but not many of the ladies. Scandalous Mrs. Grey is rumored to have had numerous affairs while her husband was occupied with business in London. Mrs. Grey gives rise to the rumors when she is seen hitting a gentleman with her riding crop. Later she is seen entering Jane is on the move again. This time she is at the Canterbury Races in Kent with her brother Edward and his family. Also at the races is the scandalous Mrs. Grey, a Frenchwoman who has captured the interest of many of the men in Kent but not many of the ladies. Scandalous Mrs. Grey is rumored to have had numerous affairs while her husband was occupied with business in London. Mrs. Grey gives rise to the rumors when she is seen hitting a gentleman with her riding crop. Later she is seen entering a neighbor's carriage and then following the horses as they race. Finally, she is discovered dead in the neighbor's carriage, strangled to death with her own hair ribbon and wearing only her shift. As Justice of the Peace, Neddie Austen is charged with finding the murderer and bringing them to justice. He immediately suspects the neighbor in whose carriage Mrs. Grey was found, but isn't positive. Neddie needs Jane's help to solve the mystery of the murdered woman. Among the other suspects are Mr. Grey who is said to have had little affection for his wife, Neddie's impecunious brother-in-law Edward, Edward's military friend, a timid governess, a dashing French count and a genius of a landscape architect. This mystery can probably be figured out in part by those who have read any number of novels, include Miss Austen's own. Some situations and conversations appear in her novels, a joke which I really wish the author would abandon. It makes the mystery way too obvious. I figured out the what but not the why or who. The why was a bit confusing and seemed to be summarized far too quickly and wrap up too neatly. As usual there's a bit too much history tossed in and some pointless conversations between characters that seem to go nowhere though actually lead to clues. I'm not a big fan of the footnotes and usually the reader can figure out the context just by reading the story. An author's note would better explain the history behind the story but as Barron is writing as an editor of Austen's journals, I see why she chooses to add footnotes. I like Jane the character a lot. She's intelligent and witty and she refuses to be pressured into being someone she's not. The mysteries are a lot of fun and I look forward to reading the rest.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    The fourth Jane Austen Mystery was a bit of a let-down after the third one. That is not to say that it wasn't still a good read, but it was much less tightly plotted and had a much less satisfying resolution. I wish this author did not constantly let the murderers escape after a full explanation and fail to punish them directly. A posting in India is not the equivalent of an arrest and a public trial.  The depictions of Godmersham and Jane's brother and his family there were charming, but that al The fourth Jane Austen Mystery was a bit of a let-down after the third one. That is not to say that it wasn't still a good read, but it was much less tightly plotted and had a much less satisfying resolution. I wish this author did not constantly let the murderers escape after a full explanation and fail to punish them directly. A posting in India is not the equivalent of an arrest and a public trial.  The depictions of Godmersham and Jane's brother and his family there were charming, but that alone is not enough to support the plot. That Mrs. Grey had been murdered before the race and replaced by someone in her dress wearing a veil was incredibly obvious, and the fact that Jane did not realize rather hurts her characterisation as an extremely intelligent amateur sleigh. I sincerely hope that the quality of the series will return to the level of the third instalment in the next book. 

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carey Bligard

    I enjoyed a lot of things about this book, but the mystery was only so-so. I knew as soon as the victim was found how the murderer managed it and spent the entire book wondering why Jane did not see it too. There was also a big hint part way through and she still didn't get it. I don't think this showed much cleverness by our dear Jane. I enjoyed a lot of things about this book, but the mystery was only so-so. I knew as soon as the victim was found how the murderer managed it and spent the entire book wondering why Jane did not see it too. There was also a big hint part way through and she still didn't get it. I don't think this showed much cleverness by our dear Jane.

  15. 5 out of 5

    MaiaB113

    It's not Austen's writing, though the fake is pretty convincing, but it's fine. The mystery is quite good, and though I do have a hard time fitting Austen into amateur sleuthing, I can believe it enough that it's not a struggle. It's a very summery book, and evokes the heat and dust and 19th century very well. I'd recommend it if you're not an Austen purist, but you like Jane Austen. It's not Austen's writing, though the fake is pretty convincing, but it's fine. The mystery is quite good, and though I do have a hard time fitting Austen into amateur sleuthing, I can believe it enough that it's not a struggle. It's a very summery book, and evokes the heat and dust and 19th century very well. I'd recommend it if you're not an Austen purist, but you like Jane Austen.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This one stood up to a third reading for me. I really enjoyed it and always begin to love Lord Harold in this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    In the fourth mystery involving Jane Austen, Stephanie Barron has written a novel of manners interspersed with episodes of murder mystery and detection efforts. The book has a lot to say about how to behave in polite society, with Françoise Grey, the murder victim, exhibiting outrageous behavior at the Canterbury Race meeting, to the entertainment of the party of Austen ladies. They discuss her behavior inside and out through the rest of the novel, with plenty of commentary on propriety and the In the fourth mystery involving Jane Austen, Stephanie Barron has written a novel of manners interspersed with episodes of murder mystery and detection efforts. The book has a lot to say about how to behave in polite society, with Françoise Grey, the murder victim, exhibiting outrageous behavior at the Canterbury Race meeting, to the entertainment of the party of Austen ladies. They discuss her behavior inside and out through the rest of the novel, with plenty of commentary on propriety and the lack thereof, and what it might mean about her life, and the implications for the younger Austens. (view spoiler)[ That opening scene constitutes all the clues the reader gets until more than halfway through the book. If the reader did not pick up on the clues at the outset, put them together with the title, and come up with the solution right then, well, the reader would be out of luck until chapter 11, when the culprit reappears and is given a name at last, but he’s been away so long you probably have forgotten all about him and don’t connect him with the mysterious man at that opening scene. The murder mystery is a tricky problem, the solution involving the Napoleonic wars, the money financing the war and specifically the proposed invasion of England, as well as gambling, blackmail, and the role of gossip in wartime in an area likely to be invaded by the enemy. This allows the author to unfold a few twists at the end, just to keep the inattentive reader guessing who actually did the foul murder. Before the landscape designer suggested by the title comes back into the action of the book, the red herrings make their appearance. You should know the murderer cannot be Collingwood, because he’s been accused at the outset. Then he gets himself murdered as well, so he moves into the category of Plot Twist Device. The French Comte makes a good suspect. He hates the murdered woman’s husband, possibly was her lover before she agreed to marry Mr. Grey, and he has mysterious business in enemy territory. Mr Grey, the husband, is an obvious suspect. The marriage appeared to be a troubled one. He was away a lot on business, and his wife’s behavior was suspiciously scandalous. Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Elizabeth’s younger brother Edward Bridges is a suspect as well. His actions bear looking at, but can we seriously consider someone who was a real person? No, he did not commit a murder. He may, however, have been mixed up with the notorious lady. Captain Woodford, who is attracted to Elizabeth’s sister Harriet, is also somehow mixed up in the plot. As a military man, he allows far too much gossip about the movements of the defending troops. This makes him a bit suspicious, but not overly so. But his rifling of Mrs Grey’s desk, along with Edward Bridges, makes them both murder suspects for a time. Finally, at Eastwell halfway through the book, just after we’ve officially met Mr Sothey, we meet Mr Emilius Finch-Hatton, and his telling Jane that he is an intimate friend of Lord Harold Trowbridge is suspicious right off. Lord Harold doesn’t have intimate friends. Jane feels uneasy, and rightly so. Something about Mr Emilius Finch-Hatton is not right. Jane stops talking about her unease without resolving it, and that is a major clue. Plot holes: How thick was that veil? How could Henry Austen discern the color of the eyes of the wearer of the veil, and yet not realize it wasn’t a lady wearing it? How closely did the murderer resemble his victim? She was supposed to be beautiful. Very few men in a wig without makeup would be beautiful like a woman. Think of the pictures you’ve seen of Jackie Kennedy at the funeral of the late President. That’s what a beautiful woman looks like wearing a black veil. You could see her features pretty clearly. And this veil that the murderer wore was described as black illusion net, which makes seeing the features, even eye color, possible. Had it been a thicker kind to disguise his features, nobody could have see the eye color. How could he have passed his form off as that of a shapely woman? Simply donning her riding habit over his own clothes does not change his shape to hers, and he was described as slender. He should have had to wear some padding to make the disguise effective. And a thicker veil. After the race, he returns to Mrs Grey’s phaeton, which is nearly next to the Austens’ barouche, and they watch all the action, yet none of them realize this not Mrs Grey. In a Shakespeare play where you suspend disbelief for all the conventions of men and women disguising themselves as one another, this all works. But here it does not. Not for me. Having the governess recognize his riding posture from a long distance when he was only a spot of red color seemed a reach, especially when later he was next to them, dismounting and climbing into Mrs Grey’s phaeton and driving away. That’s when the author should have had the governess recognize his disguise. And then she should have made a noise and fainted, or something. And then he could have murdered her next to keep her quiet. No, we can’t have that, because the historical Anne Sharpe wasn’t a murder victim. At the very least, she should have been looking carefully at him to make sure that her long-distance recognition was true. Maybe she did that; we don’t get a lot of information about her actions at this point, we only know that she faints when the dead body spills out of Collingforth’s carriage. I’m not sure I believe the characterization of the governess, Anne Sharpe. It doesn’t seem consistent. Because Anne Sharpe had felt all the force of an intimate betrayal by Julian Sothey at the point when Mrs Grey hit him with her whip before the race, I’d have expected her to be unable to continue to attend to the needs of Fanny Austen just minutes later, as if nothing had happened. Anne Sharpe seems to have extraordinary strength of mind in her ability to act, based on the next few pieces of information about her. But when the race begins and the governess recognizes Sothey in disguise as Mrs Grey, she begins to go to pieces. Why should she, if she was able to exercise such self-command at the point of the betrayal? She doesn’t know yet that he’s done anything but have a relationship with Mrs Grey. His wearing the riding habit and riding her horse would be a puzzle, but not a further shock. Having Anne faint when the dead body of Mrs Grey appears is fitting, as then the shock of murder is added in her mind to the betrayal. But a few minutes later than this, she is back to behaving with extraordinary self-control, suggesting to Fanny that they read riddles together while waiting for the gentlemen to process the murder scene. Then she again goes to pieces, pleading headache and illness. Through the rest of the novel, she behaves as a weak sort of woman, under considerable strain and not holding up well. Jane is forever suggesting she rest more, until Anne Sharpe’s behavior finally suggests suspicion to Jane’s mind. The history of the romance between Anne Sharpe and Julian Sothey would have been better had the author not introduced that scene at the end when he bursts upon them near the front door of the house at 2 a.m., and exclaims, “You see before you, Anne, a heart now more your own than when you nearly broke it a few days ago!” Really? I can barely forgive author Stephanie Barron for stealing and adapting this line from Jane Austen’s Persuasion character Captain Frederick Wentworth, whose use was both heartfelt and accurate, since the time period he and his beloved had been parted was more than eight years, and thus there was logic to acknowledging the strengthening of his feeling despite his initial heartbreak, whereas Sothey neither suffers heartbreak nor endures pain for any significant length of time. It’s farcical, and I hate the imputation that such a bitterly laughable scene led to such an elevated scene in Jane Austen’s mind. Jane Austen as sleuth suffers from lack of insight in this story. She sees right through Emilius Finch-Hatton, but she completely believes everything Julian Sothey says. This is not like our Jane. But perhaps we have to give her some latitude. Finch-Hatton betrayed himself with an incongruous statement right off. Sothey was a superb actor and we can allow Jane to be human enough not to be able to see through everybody. (hide spoiler)] I was disappointed through much of the novel that we were not to see and enjoy the company of Lord Harold Trowbridge. But he appears at the very end, climbing the hill to the little temple where Jane has been writing. Jane had gone to Goodnestone Farm at the close of the climactic scene where all was revealed, and she is back at Godmersham after a week. Jane writes that she has refused the expected proposal from Edward Bridges, as did Cassandra before her, and thus we assume that like Cassandra, Jane had to leave Goodnestone as soon as that proposal was refused. Anyway, Lord Harold comes. He and Jane exchange two speeches and walk off arm in arm. Not totally satisfying, but it will have to do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I enjoyed it but I have to admit that the HOW was very evident from the get-go. Granted the WHO, WHAT, and WHY were yet to be discovered. These reads are a bit taxing in that Barron writes in the style of Jane Austin in the early 1800s. These are historical novels that include many relatives and locations and circumstances that Jane was experiencing at the time. It is unfortunate that of the 1000s of letters Jane wrote during her lifetime, only 191 remain. Most were destroyed by her sister Casan I enjoyed it but I have to admit that the HOW was very evident from the get-go. Granted the WHO, WHAT, and WHY were yet to be discovered. These reads are a bit taxing in that Barron writes in the style of Jane Austin in the early 1800s. These are historical novels that include many relatives and locations and circumstances that Jane was experiencing at the time. It is unfortunate that of the 1000s of letters Jane wrote during her lifetime, only 191 remain. Most were destroyed by her sister Casandra (spoken of often in this book) in an attempt to keep her "image clean" after her death at 41! It seems that Jane did not hold her tongue and had plenty to say about family members (of which there were many!) and was a avid gossip. Also at the time, women were allowed few liberties and all her books were published anonymously in their first printings. I do not think that even her own family had any idea of the impact on modern literature that would be achieved by old-maid Aunt Jane.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marfita

    The Monster Buonoparte is on the verge of invasion of England's green and pleasant land, but the locals in Kent, while their bags might be packed, are still up for horse-racing, balls, and a little light murder. Jane's brother Neddie is the local Justice and as he knows how Jane loves a good mystery he calls on her for help. I liked this a bit better than the previous installment although I could see the solution pretty easily. At least part of it. It's a wonder the characters couldn't - but the The Monster Buonoparte is on the verge of invasion of England's green and pleasant land, but the locals in Kent, while their bags might be packed, are still up for horse-racing, balls, and a little light murder. Jane's brother Neddie is the local Justice and as he knows how Jane loves a good mystery he calls on her for help. I liked this a bit better than the previous installment although I could see the solution pretty easily. At least part of it. It's a wonder the characters couldn't - but then it wouldn't be much of a story, would it? Barron fills the narrative with wonderful imagery of landscaping and historical detail. Of course we all know Bonaparte never did invade (so, no spoiler there), but we are still concerned with the characters and whether they will have to abandon their property and burn their crops ... unnecessarily.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This entire series is FAB! The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history. Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time. Each mystery 'could' have occurred. The research into Jane's personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable. Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books. Read them ALL--and in order!!! I'm re- This entire series is FAB! The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history. Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time. Each mystery 'could' have occurred. The research into Jane's personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable. Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books. Read them ALL--and in order!!! I'm re-reading them again after a couple of years and it's just as enjoyable--almost more enjoyable than in the first reading. Pull up Google Maps while reading and zoom in on the real landscape, buildings, and cities. Much of where she lived and visited is still there--again one of the pleasures of the books, fitting into reality of Jane's life and time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna Mcfarland

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (Book Review) Who could have murdered the woman in the riding habit? Jane is on the case. This time her brother Edward and his wife Elizabeth are involved and I must say, they are rivaling Henry and Eliza as my favorite relatives, Cassandra is sadly bringing up the rear with her mother. I like that Barron added unique jobs to this novel, such as the Gentleman Improver and spies. However, I felt that the way the murder was carried out suspended reality, as Jane might say. (Series review) After rea (Book Review) Who could have murdered the woman in the riding habit? Jane is on the case. This time her brother Edward and his wife Elizabeth are involved and I must say, they are rivaling Henry and Eliza as my favorite relatives, Cassandra is sadly bringing up the rear with her mother. I like that Barron added unique jobs to this novel, such as the Gentleman Improver and spies. However, I felt that the way the murder was carried out suspended reality, as Jane might say. (Series review) After reading four of Barron’s mysteries, I’ve been so pleased with how clean and clever the series has been. The dialogue is of the period and it is fun to see Jane cast in the role of detective. Every time, I get a little better at guessing whodunnit.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    A Pleasant surprise A fan of Jane Austen, I have been hesitant to try one of these Austen mysteries. To my delight, I'm hooked. It is like living aside Miss Austen with her family and friends, while a murderer must take be revealed. This is my fourth one and am looking forward to more. I thank Stephanie Barron for this trip with the Austin's. In this novel, the reader will be living among the Edward Austin's in Kent with many developed characters to add to one's knowledge of this time in England A Pleasant surprise A fan of Jane Austen, I have been hesitant to try one of these Austen mysteries. To my delight, I'm hooked. It is like living aside Miss Austen with her family and friends, while a murderer must take be revealed. This is my fourth one and am looking forward to more. I thank Stephanie Barron for this trip with the Austin's. In this novel, the reader will be living among the Edward Austin's in Kent with many developed characters to add to one's knowledge of this time in England.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    This one has horses in it. Actually, they all have horses, because that is the way that people got around in the early 19th century. But these are not only carriage horses, but race horses and, therefore, the vehicles for men making or losing fortunes. And the making and losing of fortunes — through horse-racing or marriage — is the subtext of each of these novels. It's a different world, and yet it is the same in so many ways. People think they have individual freedoms, but those freedoms so of This one has horses in it. Actually, they all have horses, because that is the way that people got around in the early 19th century. But these are not only carriage horses, but race horses and, therefore, the vehicles for men making or losing fortunes. And the making and losing of fortunes — through horse-racing or marriage — is the subtext of each of these novels. It's a different world, and yet it is the same in so many ways. People think they have individual freedoms, but those freedoms so often come up against social practice and prejudice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    This book was a very pleasant surprise! Stephanie Barron has written a fascinating novel in the style of Jane Austin and using Austin as the main character. This is first rate historical fiction, well researched and well written. It is also a mystery that may be too easy for some, but had me thoroughly confused. I also enjoyed the occasional laugh out loud moments! It is a slow mover so sit back and enjoy the beauty of the English countryside and the Regency time period. I think you will like it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Victoria M

    I have enjoyed the series so far, but this one fell a bit short. Barron’s writing is solid, but the mystery was a snooze, both far too easy to guess and too convoluted to understand. An info dump of withheld information in the final pages gave illumination to the why, but the murder was ultimately not the point, the red herrings were undiverting, and the villain was easily guessed from the beginning. Crossing my fingers for an improvement in the next, as I do plan to continue the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meri-Lyn

    This is another fun read in the series. I was able to accurately predict how the murder actually happened fairly early in the story and who the murderer was before it was revealed. Several of the story details were a surprise so the book was not overly predictable which made it a good read. I look forward to the next in the series when I get to reading it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I am sad to give this book such a low rating, but I simply couldn’t get into this one unlike the first three books. It dragged too much for me. I had attempted once before and failed to get into it. I forced myself to read to the end for the second time picking it up. Hopefully the next one is amazing though!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    One of the things I love about these mysteries is all the history that I learn in them. This one deals with French intrigue along the Kentish coast, while Napoleon threatens to invade. It is so interesting and well written. I love the characters and the conversation.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I spotted the answer right away, which probably means I've read too many mysteries. But the pleasure in this series is in the way Barron captures Austen's voice in carrying out her fictional sleuthing. I spotted the answer right away, which probably means I've read too many mysteries. But the pleasure in this series is in the way Barron captures Austen's voice in carrying out her fictional sleuthing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Ok this series is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Something about Jane Austen as a crime-solving sleuth makes me giddy and I can’t wait to read all 13 (!) of her (unfortunately fictional) forays into solving murders in the most Georgian/regency style possible.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.