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A Gentleman of Fortune Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 1 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Soundings Audio Books (1 Oct. 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1407913204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407913209
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

More About the Author

I live in the English Lake District with a husband and a cat. I write compulsively. It all started with a mistake. When I was taught to write at the age of five I assumed that I must write books. By the time I realised my mistake and understood that it was not actually compulsory to create stories - the habit was too deeply ingrained to give up.

My other interests include: reading old letters and journals in local archive collections, walking, visiting old houses, watching Star Trek and canoeing on very flat water.

The Dido Kent series of mystery novels has grown out of many things including my enjoyment of puzzles and word-play, my love of the English countryside in which I have always lived, my interest in old houses, my time spent reading eighteenth and nineteenth century documents and my affection for the work of Jane Austen. The books are not in any sense continuations or 'spinoffs' of Austen's work. But they are set in the same period and they tend to focus on '3 or 4 families in a country village' - the setting which Jane Austen once described as 'the delight of my life.'

There are also other influences and references, not only to the novels but also Jane Austen's own life. For example, the visit to Lyme in A Moment of Silence is influenced by Persuasion; there are parallels with Emma in A Gentleman of Fortune; and the ruined abbey in A Woman of Consequence owes much to Northanger Abbey. Readers unfamiliar with Austen's work need not worry about all this. These allusions and references are certainly not essential to understanding the stories. Sometimes though, there are extra clues which avid readers of Jane Austen may be able to pick up; but, beware, the references to her life and work are not always pointing you in the right direction...

Product Description


'Wonderful mystery - rich in suspense, period detail, humour and most of all characters. They come alive, and none more than Miss Dido Kent. A masterpiece of detection, a Miss Marple-esque character both razor-sharp and kindly. A totally enjoyable read' Louise Penny, author of The Murder Stone --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: My Dear Eliza, The great Mrs. Lansdale is no more.

Miss Dido Kent is 35, without fortune and unmarried. Due to her situation, she finds herself `loaned' out to various relatives to act in various unpaid roles. In this instance, she is on holiday at her cousin Flora's home in Richmond and is becoming rather bored and until a neighbor dies. The wealthy elderly woman's doctor announces she died from an overdose of a sleeping opiate. Immediate suspicion falls on the victim's nephew who will inherit. Flora doesn't believe it to be true and implores Miss Dido to find the truth.

The story's opening causes one to lament the lost art of letterwriting. Ms. Dean employs letters from Miss Dido to her sister, Eliza, as the means by which we learn many of Miss Dido's thoughts and investigative activities. Rather than possibly being boring, they are quite delightful.

Miss Dido is a wonderful character. She is a Georgian combination of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, with few dead bodies than the former and much more approachable than the latter. She is smart, literate, highly observant and quite independent. I am happy to say Mr. Lomax, to whom we were introduced in the first book, also appears here.

The story is beautifully written. Ms. Dean paints a vivid picture of, at this time, a somewhat rural England town with its sights, sounds and smells. The people are ones about whom we care and I particularly like that even Miss Dido can come to the wrong conclusion.

The dialogue conveys the period. One of my favorite lines, not even said by Miss Dido, is the observation that "Mrs. longer has a soul...deduce[d] from the fact...that she no longer reads any books at all....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jess of Bowland on 5 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
May 1806 finds Miss Dido Kent staying with her cousin Flora Beaumont, just when rumours begin to circulate about the death of Flora's neighbour, Mrs Lansdale. Dido's curiosity is naturally awakened and when it seems certain that a miscarriage of justice is liable to take place, she embarks on a private investigation of her own. If Mrs Lansdale's was not a natural death, then who hastened her passing? Was it the principal beneficiary, her nephew Mr Henry Lansdale? The strange and slightly sinister companion, Miss Clara Neville? What does Mr Vane, the apothecary know? Or poor old Miss Prentice, whose rooms overlook the comings and goings at Mrs Lansdale's grand house across the road? What happened to Mrs Lansdale's dog - and who were the mysterious visitors on the evening of her death? And just when you are assimilating all those questions, the plot thickens a little more...

This novel is a delight from start to finish, a satisfying mystery, elegantly written, choc a bloc with wit and accurate in its historical detail. Few authors manage to create characters and events which fit so convincingly within the historical framework they have chosen, then produce a satisfying denouement too - but Anna Dean pulls off the hat trick and I can't wait to read the next one in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark".

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, which has a lady, believed by all and sundry to have reached her `spinsterhood', pitting her mind to help her niece, and solve a mystery while staying at a stately home.

In this novel, Miss Dido Kent is staying at her cousin's for a holiday, and the year is 1806. An elderly lady in the neighbourhood has just died, and her young relative has come into a fine fortune; but why does another woman seem determined to implicate him in his aunt's death? Dido can not, of course, bear to have someone slandered, or worse, for something they may have had nothing to do with. So she sets her considerable talents at sleuthing to finding out what is going on, and hopefully setting all to rights.

This is another great novel featuring Miss Kent; she is witty and clever, the characters with whom she interacts are well drawn and suitably `Austen-like' to bring a wry smile to the reader. The action is well-paced, and there are plenty of twists and turns until all is put to rest. And while Miss Kent may consider herself broad-minded, there seem to still be a few things that can bring a blush to her cheeks. Totally recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CJ on 11 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
I am not normally a fan of historical crime novels, but Anna Dean's first novel, A Moment of Silence was so strongly recommended by a friend that I gave it a try. I enjoyed it enough to buy the second in the series and I have to say that A Gentleman of Fortune is even better. If you like your mystery presented in a beautifully written, light, amusing and yet genuinely gripping package, you cannot fail to enjoy this book.
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By J. Mccready on 1 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
I didn't fall instantly in love with this series. A heavy head cold when I started reading the first book made me wonder if it was me or the plot that was a bit lacklustre. I think it was, perhaps, a bit of both. There isn't anything hugely surprising in the plot in either the first or in this - a committed Agatha Christie fan would have got to the solution by the halfway point, and sometimes the narrative is anachronistic, and the letters may hark back to a time when letter writing was important and welcome, but in this narrative I find them irritaing and intrusive and a little bit like tell rather han show - almost the easy way out to get into Dido's head - a fence-sitting approach to point of view. Nevertheless, the writing style is engaging, letters aside, and the characters interesting. It's not writing to set the world on fire, but it has charm and certainly enough engagement to carry you through to the end.

Enjoyable, comfortable, well-written in the most part - you couldn't ask for much more in a gentle thriller of this period. I shall certainly be reading the third and any further installments. Dido is a character that grows on you.
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