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5.0 out of 5 stars A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE FOR JANE AUSTEN, 8 Oct. 2012
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Eleni - See all my reviews
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This is the third 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 1804, the Austen family is about to celebrate Jane's twenty-ninth birthday and the Christmas season in their home in Bath, when Jane gets an unusual request by her friend Lord Harold Trowbridge, to befriend and look after his niece, Lady Desdemona, who is visiting Bath. However, when a theatre manager is found murdered in a masquerade and everything points to Lady Desdemona's brother, Simon, Lord Kinsfell, Jane and Lord Harold begin to investigate the case in order to clear Lord Kinsfell's name and bring the murderer to justice. Even with the brave Gentleman Rogue on her side, Jane has to employ all her wit, her brilliant abilities of perception and her understanding of human nature, in order to solve this dangerous case.

This series is excellent and although this third novel is not the best in the series, I really enjoyed reading it. Stephanie Barron has, once again, created a gripping mystery plot, brilliantly set in Austen's time, with a very convincing Jane as its heroine. The atmosphere of the Christmas Season in Bath and of the everyday life of the time 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. The story is narrated by Austen in her journal and the language is very similar to her existing letters, however this time the journal entries were not as realistic, as in the previous books.

In addition, the book includes excellent and very useful footnotes by Stephanie Barron, explaining some references to Austen's life and providing valuable information on the customs of the time, in the form of "editor's notes".

The novel can stand on its own, but as it makes many references to the previous novels in the series, I think it is best to start from the beginning.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Festive Murder Mystery, 29 Sept. 2010
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December in Bath, 1804, and the Austen family are preparing to spend their third festive season amidst the wintry splendour of the spa town. Jane feels the onset of boredom, especially with her friend Madam Lefroy departing for Hampshire, but the infamous Lord Harold Trowbridge provides a welcome diversion in asking her to keep an eye on his niece, the beautiful heiress Lady Desdemona. Little did he know that at a family masquerade, murder would be done...
And so starts the wonderful third installment of Jane Austen mysteries, written in a remarkably similar prose to the late great author by writer Stephanie Barron. She cleverly weaves real life events and characters from Austen's actual past into each of the stories (adding a lovely authenticity), and this is no exception, though the setting of a snow-blanketed Regency Bath at Christmastime does add to this story's atmosphere.
The enigmatic Gentleman Rogue reappears again, as a main 'sleuth' this time, and together, he and Jane join forces to unravel the mystery of the murdered harlequin actor and the striking 'wandering eye' pendant left at the scene.
It's a well-written, detailed, interesting and nicely paced story, one of the best of the series I've read so far, and I'd definitely recommend it for a good read, especially if you're a fan of Austen's work or indeed, Regency fiction in general.
One word of warning - the author does have an irritating habit of inserting footnotes, where she explains references to people or places of the period used in the story (I'm guessing for her American audience). But don't let that deter you from enjoying these tales!
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Jane and the Wandering Eye (A Jane Austen mystery)
Jane and the Wandering Eye (A Jane Austen mystery) by Stephanie Barron (Hardcover - 7 May 1998)
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