- Virginia Johnson
Enough with the zombies, already! Before the undead purportedly trod the moors of Georgian England, it was a relatively pleasant, safe place—albeit humming with an occasional murder and talk of international intrigue. Certainly that should be quite enough to keep a heroine’s attention. Indeed when Jane Austen’s friend Isobel becomes a friend in need upon the suspicious death of her new though elderly husband, it is up to quick-witted Jane to save her life—and reputation!-- in Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, by Stephanie Barron.
This is the first in Barron’s “Jane Austen Mysteries.” The series manages to maintain the language and Regency setting of the Austen novels while adding a dimension of intrigue to the quietness of that world. The sharp social repartee is still a key part of it, but these books move beyond the drawing rooms to darker destinations, as Jane tries to keep one step ahead of her apparent nemesis, Lord Harold Trowbridge--a sardonic and handsome man who seems to prize Jane’s intelligence at least as much as her appearance.
Jane Austen’s fictional escapades continue for ten more rounds of elegant mystery featuring a dauntless heroine whose investigations take her readers into some fascinating corridors of English history at a time when “the Nightmare of Europe” (aka Napoleon Bonaparte) threatened that green and pleasant land.