This is the ninth 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 the spring of 1811, Jane is staying with her brother Henry in London to watch over the printing of her first novel, "Sense and Sensibility". In London, in the company of her brother and his fashionable wife Eliza, Jane finds herself amidst the ton and all the cultural diversions the city has to offer. However, when Henry's neighbour, the beautiful Russian Princess Evgenia Tscholikova is found murdered and Jane is implicated in the murder, she has no choice but to find the killer herself. Once again, Jane is determined to solve the mystery, so with the help of her sister in law Eliza, she begins to investigate the case.
This series is excellent and this ninth novel is one of the best so far. 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 descriptions of regency London are beautiful and the atmosphere of the high society parties, theatres, and parks is fantastic. As in all the novels of the series, 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, especially the frivolous and charming Eliza. Jane with her wit and her brilliant abilities of perception is very convincing as an amateur sleuth and as the series progresses her character evolves and becomes more complex. The story is narrated by Austen in her journal and the language is very similar to her existing letters, thus very realistic.
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.
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.