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Jane and the Stillroom Maid


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About the Author

Stephanie Barron is the author of eight previous Jane Austen mysteries. She lives in Colorado, where she is at work on the next Jane Austen mystery.


Adult/High School-In this fifth Jane Austen mystery, Jane's cousin, Mr. Edward Cooper, rector of Hamstall Ridware, Staffordshire, takes her, her mother, and sister to the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire. He is an avid fisher-man and Jane is an avid walker. The bucolic English countryside and bubbling streams seem to be a perfect fit for them-until Jane finds a body in the hills. The victim has been shot in the head and mutilated and, although dressed as a man, is actually a beautiful still-room maid, Tess Arnold. The story is com-plex and another death follows. Lord Harold Trowbridge is staying in the area and per-suades Jane to accompany him to various so-cial functions and use her investigative skills and interest in the case. The protagonist is at her analytical best, and her fans will love this story. Twists and turns abound and the killer is so evil that readers will never suspect who and why it is until the very end. Austen makes a fine sleuth even if she is quite smitten with the debonair Lord Trowbridge.-Linda A. Vretos, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Fifth in Barron's Jane Austen mystery series, this work bears all the wonderful trademarks of the earlier titles, including period detail, measured but often sardonic wit, and authenticity. More blatantly here than in the previous novels, readers can see Jane's mother as the source of oh-so-silly Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice; and Pemberley, Darcy's home, emerges from Chatsworth, seat of the Dukes of Devonshire. Once again, Jane's friend (would that he were more) Lord Harold is on the scene as suspicion is cast on old friends when a stillroom maid (a young woman who concocted and sold remedies) is murdered. There are numerous red herrings and cliffhangers, though the denouement is unsurprising, but the pacing and tenor make this enjoyable. For fans of Austen and carefully paced historical mysteries. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Jane Austen as sleuth continues to delight in her latest adventure (after Jane and the Genius of the Place), which sheds new light on the author's travels in 1806. While enjoying a ramble in the Derbyshire hills near Bakewell (a town Eliza Bennett visits in Pride and Prejudice), Jane discovers the mutilated body of a young man. Jane's suspicions are roused when her escort, Mr. George Hemming, prefers to remove the unidentified corpse to Buxton, rather than Bakewell, and they increase when the body proves to be that of a woman dressed in men's clothing. Moreover, the corpse is identified as Tess Arnold, a servant at one of the area's great houses, whom Mr. Hemming should have recognized. As the compounder of stillroom remedies, Tess had a reputation as a healer, until accused of witchcraft. Rumors of ritual murder by FreemasonsÄwho include most of the neighboring gentryÄexcite the local populace and jeopardize the investigation of the justice of the peace, himself a Mason. When Mr. Hemming disappears before the inquest, Jane and the justice turn for help to Lord Harold Trowbridge, a guest at the nearby ducal house of Chatsworth. Barron catches Austen's tone amazingly well. Details of early 19th-century country life of all classes ring true, while the story line is clear, yet full of surprises. The "editor's notes" that punctuate the text and old cures for various ills that open each chapter add to the charm. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Jane Austen as sleuth continues to delight."--Publishers Weekly

"This fifth Jane Austen detection gets ... my Best in Series vote."--Booknews from The Poisoned Pen "Another first-rate addition to the series."--Christian Science Monitor "Barron does a wonderful job of evoking the great British estates and the woes of spinsters living in that era ... often echoing the rhythms of the Austen novels with uncanny ease."--Entertainment Weekly

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