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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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First Sentence: My dear Eliza, I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last.

Catherine Kent is engaged to Richard Montague. During a special ball at Betsfield Hall, Richard reacts strongly to a red-headed man and then disappears.

Catherine's father sends for his spinster sister, Miss Dido Kent. The same day Dido arrives, the body of a murdered woman is found under a hedge on the property and Dido decides it's up to her to discover the killer.

Ms. Dean's writing is literate, intelligent, funny and completely captivating. I give her top marks for sense of time and place, as well as dialogue, which is delightfully appropriate to the period. Her observations on women, marriage and inheritance are done with a light, but informative, touch.

Dido Kent is a wonderful protagonist. She is smart and clever without being malicious; something of a Miss Marple of 1805, but better. I particularly enjoyed the letters to Dido's sister, which convey Dido's internal questions, observations and explorations. All the characters come to life under Ms. Dean's deft hand.

The story is very well plotted. Ms. Dean provides her readers all the clues as Dido uncovers them but, as one who let's the protagonist solve the crime, I was delighted watching the solution unfold.

Those who are fans of Jane Austin, traditional mysteries, and/or historical mysteries, should enjoy this book. Personally, I loved it!
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This is an utterly delightful novel sure to engage fans of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie's spinster detective, or anyone who enjoys good writing.

Set in 1805, it takes a Jane Austen-alike plot (particularly, perhaps, Mansfield Park) and mixes it up with a murder mystery in a country house, complete with assortment of diverse characters. Why has Catherine's recent fiance, Richard Montague, suddenly broken off their engagement and disappeared? Who is the mysterious woman found shot in the shrubbery? What is the secret of the odd household in a nearby village?

The author cites Jane Austen as a favourite of hers, and the 'detective', Catherine's spinster Aunt (improbably named Dido!), bears more than a passing resemblance to Jane herself as she appears in her letters. In fact, the narrative alternates between a 3rd person and Dido's own letters to her sister Eliza, a reference to JA's own letters to her sister Cassandra.

My only quibble with this book (and it's a small one, but hence 4 stars) is that the relationship between the classes is all wrong: Dido mingles easily with the servants and they, too, are at home with her. Any reader of Jane Austen will know that servants were beneath even her upper-middle class notice (apart from the housekeeper of Pemberley, and even she couldn't ever be imagined sitting down and having a cosy chat with Elizabeth).

But small quibble aside, this is a delightful, amusing, vastly entertaining read, with some very sly humour (Colonel Walborough and his pursuit of the handsome servant Jack is priceless!). Highly recommended.
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on 13 April 2016
This is the most skilful, authentic and interesting Regency series I've read in a long time. Characters are well drawn and believable, whilst the plot is well paced and the manners and attitudes of the period are accurately portrayed. I'm looking forward to reading more.
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on 11 June 2012
I really enjoyed this book - I like a good Agatha Christie and have enjoyed Jane Austen and this is kind of a good mix of both. The relationship building between the heroine and the brooding male to one side of the picture reminds me of Bruce and Maddy in Moonlighting - will they/won't they! There is nothing twee or 'Agatha Raisin' about this book. It is the first in a series of three and I read them in quick succession, wanting a fourth! I have also bought copies for my friend's as birthday presents as this little book is just what you need when you want to hide away in a book for a couple of days. You do need to read them in order though, this being the first:A Moment of Silence This being the second:A Gentleman of Fortune] and this being the third[[ASIN:0749009179 A Woman of Consequence (Dido Kent Mysteries)
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on 10 September 2008
I loved every word of this. It's clever, funny, poetic... beautifully phrased and cunningly plotted. Anna Dean seems to be having great fun exploring the concerns and language of Jane Austen's world. But for me the affinity went deeper than that. In Austen's books, great sadness is faced with pragmatism, bravery, humour, sensitivity and curiosity. Dido is just such a heroine. This is a book which you can curl up with, as a friend, a comfort and a bracing restoration of your faith in life!
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on 14 July 2008
An excellent read,beautifully, delicately written, with the right amount of clues cunningly placed. This ticks all the boxes. At a guess I'd say the author is an outdoors person; her descriptions of the natural world are fresh and vivid and quite beautifully written.A clever plot and Dido is a charming detective. More please.
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2010
A Moment of Silence is an entertaining murder mystery set in the early 19th century. It's the first in a series of novels featuring the wonderful Miss Dido Kent.

The story begins when Dido is summoned to Belsfield Hall, the country estate of the Montague family. Her niece Catherine is engaged to Sir Montague's son Richard - who has mysteriously disappeared during their engagement party. Dido agrees to help Catherine solve the mystery behind Richard's disappearance, but events soon take a more sinister turn when a dead body is found in the shrubbery...

This was a light, easy read which should appeal to fans of Jane Austen due to the setting and the elegant, witty writing style - although I'm not a huge Austen fan and I still loved it! A Moment of Silence has all the elements of a classic English country house mystery: clues, red herrings and lots of possible suspects, with almost every one of the guests and family members concealing a secret of some kind. Although some of the clues were quite obvious, there were others that I didn't figure out and the mystery was interesting enough to hold my attention right to the end.

But rather than the mystery itself, the main reason I loved this book was because of Miss Dido Kent, who is a wonderfully engaging character. She's intelligent, observant and always speaks her mind, though usually in a good-natured way. Although we're not told exactly how old she is (unless I missed it) she's unmarried and her 'spinster' status gives her the freedom to investigate and to wander around the estate asking questions and interfering - always with the best intentions of course! I loved reading Dido's letters updating her sister Eliza on the progress of her investigations (we never actually meet Eliza, but the letters are intended to allow us some insights into Dido's private thoughts and musings).

I can't wait to read more Dido Kent mysteries. This was a great start to the series and I'm looking forward to reading the second, A Gentleman of Fortune.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 23 April 2013
This is one of a series featuring Miss Dido Kent, a "spinster aunt" who heads off to help her niece when she appears to have been abandoned by her fiance. Staying at Belsfield Hall in 1805 are a strange mix of guests, all with their own quirks and secrets. And when a mysterious young lady is found dead in the Hall grounds, Miss Kent cannot help but wonder who she was and what her story was. And how is she to help her niece Catherine find happiness?

This is a great story, with wit and humour and written in a very engaging way. The reader is drawn quickly into the story and the empathy and compassion with which Miss Kent faces the world are very soon evident. I found the story raced along wonderfully, and the writing style itself really brought the early nineteenth century alive to the reader. I shall most certainly be looking out for more books in this series; this was thoroughly enjoyable and is totally recommended.
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Dido Kent is 29 years old and unmarried. She is the maiden aunt, always on call and relient upon her brothers for her allowance. So, when her niece Catherine has a problem and calls for her to come, she sets off at once for Belsfield Hall to be of assistance. It is 1805 and Catherine has made a good engagment with Mr Richard Montague, the son of Sir Edgar and Lady Montague. At a ball to celebrate, a tall, red haired man appears and approaches Richard. Afterwards, he tells Catherine it is best if they part and disappears. Sir Edgar tells her it is nothing and that everything will be sorted out, but Catherine's parents are concerned and she is confused and upset. Then the under-gardener finds a woman dead in the shrubbery. Nobody knows who she is or why she is there, but she has been shot and there is no doubt it is murder.

Dido is a very engaging heroine, who immediately sets out to discover the truth. Other reviews have already mentioned her similarity to Miss Marple and, in many ways, this is true. Dido's skill lies in drawing out information from people - she listens in, befriends the servants, lurks outside doors and questions everyone and everything. Like Marple, Dido is also very reliant on others. She has to wait until someone goes to a place she wishes to visit and then ask to be taken with them - we are always aware that she is of little consequence herself and cannot command a carriage of her own.

There are many interesting visitors at Belsfield Hall and most of them have secrets. Young men with gambling debts, servants who have been rather too friendly with members of the family, Colonels who has vices dear Miss Kent cannot even dream of. In her quiet way though, she gets to the truth and solves the mystery. Who was the young lady found dead and how could the red haired man cause Mr Montague to call off his engagement when he said nothing to him - what happened during that moment of silence that was so important? This is a wonderful first outing for Dido Kent and I look forward to reading more in this series.
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on 23 October 2009
I began reading this book with some trepidation, having been disappointed with others written in the same idiom. I soon realised that it was quite safe to continue. The book is very well written, the language readably authentic, and the characters well drawn and interesting. The mystery itself is well presented and does not strain the reader's credulity. I feel certain that this is a book I shall enjoy re-reading, and I look forward to reading more books in this series.
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