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Jane and the stillroom maid
Stephanie Barron
Adult Fiction BARRON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

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. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jane Austen
Age: 31

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