Mass Market Paperback
384 pages (May 1, 2001)
Bantam Books; ISBN: 0553578375
Well like so many a reader here, I very much enjoyed the first mystery and also the next three to varying degrees. However, I cannot say the same for this one at all. Perhaps I am just becoming tired of Miss Austen as a mystery solver, it is almost as if her presence in the neighbourhood is enough to induce a murder. Alas all too soon every parish in England will soon be barring the toll roads to Miss Austen if this goes on long enough. I shall try not to reveal too much to those of you who wish to read the book.
Still I could not like the story. There was a slightly sickly tone to
it that dragged it down woefully. I was in the end simply enduring it,
instead of wanting to hurry through it out of impatient enjoyment of the
mystery. There was too much suddenly being revealed at various points (especially
the ends of chapters) to enhance the mystery. Rather the revelations seemed
serve the purpose of trying to induce tension - they did not, they merely exasperated me. There was a good deal too much about the family of the Duke of Devonshire in the story and so involved in the murder. Including real historical persons is an acceptable plot device, but to so discuss motives and indeed offer suppositions about the family (e.g. why the young Duke did not marry) is just extraneous. Then of course there is Lord Harold once again to the fore and very much under Miss Austen's gaze. Well it was becoming obvious from the second book that a romantic interest in between the two would prove irresistible. I wish it was resistible. It almost seems slightly insulting to Austen that a love interest must be invented for her.
I think the idea of Jane Austen as an intrepid detective is just wearing