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Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (Jane Austen Mystery) [Hardcover]

Stephanie Barron
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1996 Jane Austen Mystery (Book 1)
For everyone who loves Jane Austen...a marvelously entertaining new series that turns the incomparable author into an extraordinary sleuth!

On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel's husband—a gentleman of mature years—is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl's death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. Yet the bereaved widow soon finds that it's only the beginning of her misfortune...as she receives a sinister missive accusing her and the Earl's nephew of adultery—and murder. Desperately afraid that the letter will expose her to the worst sort of scandal, Isobel begs Jane for help. And Jane finds herself embroiled in a perilous investigation that will soon have her following a trail of clues that leads all the way to Newgate Prison and the House of Lords—a trail that may well place Jane's own person in the gravest jeopardy.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam USA (31 Dec 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055310196X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553101966
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,216,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Stephanie Barron was born in New York State and studied at the universities of Princeton and Stanford before becoming a journalist. She is now a full-time novelist. She lives in Golden, Colorado, with her husband and their sons. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Good! 24 Oct 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I should start by saying that I am not a fan of the Austen spin-offs that seem to be flooding the market at the moment; I haven't read one so far that didn't seem like a lifeless cardboard cutout of the original style of Jane Austen. So I was extremely sceptical about this series, featuring Jane as sleuth. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. The book is written in the first person 'by' Jane, which is quite a task to attempt, but the author pulls it off beautifully. The writing is believable and even the editorial footnotes are done with a light touch. The mystery is gripping and doesn't stretch the credulity too far. I found myself devouring the book and looking forward to the rest of the series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen fans will either love this or hate it 24 July 2004
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Into the growing sub-genre of mysteries involving real people as fictional detectives Stephanie Barron adds Jane Austen. "Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor," being the first in this series, finds the yet to be famous authoress away from home after having accepted and then rejected the marriage proposal of Harris Bigg-Wither. Jane is visiting the Hertfordshire estate of her friend Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave. However, after Jane's arrival the elderly Earl suddenly suffers a most horrible death due to a mysterious illness, leaving Isobel a widow after only three months of marriage. When a letter arrives accusing Isobel and the Earl's nephew of adultery and murder, Jane becomes involved in the investigation. The suspects are the late Earl's guests, a collection of characters who could easily have been lifted from one of Austen's novels--but then that is exactly the point here.
Barron is not only trying to write in the style of Jane Austen, a daunting enough task to be sure, she is also interested in shedding light on the writer's life and work. After all, the idea that Austen's heroines always found the love in life that was denied their creator is rather depressing. Barron has fun suggesting that the characters in this novel might have served as the model for those in Austen's novels: e.g., that Lord Pitzroy Payne, who catches Jane's eye, is the model for Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice." Obviously Barron is interested in trying to create the great secret love of Austen's life, although our fascination with such an idea is tempered by the fact that Jane would die a spinster.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For unpleasantness read double murder 12 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Stephanie Barron has created a very enjoyable and readable murder mystery. The novel is narrated by the author, Jane Austen. Anyone who enjoys Austen's (the real one) style and characterisation will love this book. Likewise readers of crime fiction. Barron has put the two genres together admirably. Jane is spending a few days over Christmas with her friend Isobel, the Countess of Scargrave when her husband dies in circumstances that look like murder. We are led a merry dance with Jane trying to detect the murderer. Isobel seems to belong to a family of possible suspects. I read nineteenth century classics as well as thrillers so enjoyed this no end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JANE AUSTEN AS A BRILLIANT AMATEUR SLEUTH 11 Aug 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Jane Austen Mystery Series by Stephanie Barron.

In a newly discovered secret journal, Jane Austen documents her adventures as an amateur sleuth. In 1802, twenty-seven year old Jane visits her good friend, Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, in Hertfordshire. Scargrave Manor seems the perfect place for Jane to recover after the embarrassment of accepting and then rejecting the marriage proposal of Mr. Bigg-Wither, and to celebrate the Christmas season with young and beautiful Isobel and her husband of three months, the elderly Earl of Scargrave. However, when the Earl suddenly dies from a mysterious illness and Isobel becomes the main suspect, Jane cannot refuse her friend's plea for help and uses her wit and her brilliant abilities of perception to solve the mystery and clear Isobel's name.

I love mysteries and historical novels, almost as much as I love Jane Austen, but I was afraid that the idea to cast Jane Austen as a detective would be too far-fetched and the book would be like so many disappointing and irritating sequels and rewritings of my favorite authoress. Luckily I couldn't be more wrong, as Stephanie Barron has created a gripping mystery plot, brilliantly set in Austen's time, with a very convincing Jane as its heroine. As the story is narrated by Austen in her journal and her letters to her sister Cassandra, the language is very similar to her existing letters and so realistic that reading it, I would often forget that it is indeed a work of fiction. The atmosphere of both rural Hertfordshire and London is excellent, drawn with beautiful imagery and historical detail. The well developed characters are based on the types of characters created by Austen herself, and thus are very convincing and typical of their time.
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