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Not sure I particularly liked this Austen/Heyer/Christie pastiche
on 2 July 2013
Tasteful and clever, this is an Agatha Christie-type whodunnit which most reviewers say could have been written by Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer. It's certainly set in Austen and Heyer territory, but I found it to be more of a pastiche, well observed, but a too obvious and sometimes inaccurate imitation. The manners are far too modern and free for Austen, and no Regency gent would say the word 'damned' in front of a lady in a Heyer novel!
Depending on how you like your murder mysteries, you might also be irritated by the vast number of red herrings (at some point, every single member of this country house party comes under suspicion), and the endless twists and turns (every time something new is about to be revealed, there's a diversion while the author describes a rippling stream, or summer foliage). It was all a bit too superficial and clunky for me.
I didn't find that I was much of a fan of Miss Dido Kent, either: unlike a Heyer heroine, I couldn't manage to picture her clearly, and I found her love story to be unconvincing (again, not something I have any trouble with in Austen or Heyer).
And finally, though this is a bit nitpicking, I loathe that twee cover, trying very hard to look like a novel published in the Austen era. More fake than charming in my eyes - a bit like the book itself.
All at matter of taste, of course. I didn't hate it, and will probably read more books by 'Miss Anna Dean' if I come across them in the library.