Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

Being the First Jane Austen Mystery

Book - 1996
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Baker & Taylor
Visiting the estate of her friend Isobel, the newly married Countess of Scargrave, Jane Austen is drawn into a mystery when Isobel's husband dies suspiciously and the bereaved young bride is implicated in the murder

Blackwell North Amer
"I would rather spend an hour among the notorious than two minutes with the dull." To Jane Austen's surprise, her visit to the snowy Hertfordshire estate of young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, will be far from dull. She has scarcely arrived when the Earl - a gentleman of mature years - is felled by a mysterious ailment too agonizing and violent to credit to a fondness for claret and pudding. Scargrave's death seems a cruel blow of fate for Isobel, married but three months. 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 and Viscount Fitzroy Payne, for whom she bears a secret tendresse, to the worst sort of scandal, Isobel begs her friend Jane for help. Which is how Jane finds herself embroiled in an investigation that hinges on the motives of Scargrave Manor's guests.
Still, Jane is troubled by memories of the Earl's tragic demise. And when the menacing letter writer is found bloodily dispatched, in circumstances that overwhelmingly incriminate Isobel and Lord Payne, Jane knows that there is no time to waste in discovering the truth. A missing locket, a monogrammed handkerchief, an ancestral ghost, and the deadly fruit of a tropical tree are among the markers of a trail that will lead all the way to the House of Lords and Newgate Prison - and may well place Jane's own person in the gravest jeopardy.

& Taylor

Visiting the estate of her friend Isobel, the newly married Countess of Scargrave, Jane Austen is drawn into a mystery when Isobel's husband dies suspiciously and the bereaved young bride is implicated in the murder. 30,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.

Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1996
ISBN: 9780553101966
Branch Call Number: M BARRON
Characteristics: 289 p


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Jul 31, 2016

Sadly I got stuck on the fact that the main character "Jane" does not come anywhere close to resembling the sharp-witted language of the real Jane Austen. The flowery-worded narration does resemble Regency-style writing close enough to be enjoyable, and the mystery might have been a good one, but Jane Austen was no mild-mannered, self-effacing miss, at least not in her private correspondence. The imaginary Jane Austen in this novel more closely resembles a JA character than herself--so I couldn't finish it. I hope others are not so picky and can enjoy it more. I had high hopes for this series, and perhaps in a different mood I can come back to it and be less demanding.

Jun 25, 2015

In honor of Austen in August, I read Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, a Regency-era murder mystery that sets Jane Austen herself as an amateur sleuth.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this book was, both as a mystery novel (I had inklings of whodunit, but it truly kept me guessing until the last), and as an historical fiction. The premise is that this book is edited from a lost set of letters by Jane Austen, maintaining throughout that we're truly seeing things from Austen's perspective. The author includes educational footnotes about some Regency terms and legal restrictions, and I do love me some educational footnotes.

Overall, the narrative tone felt very Austen-esque to me, with Jane's personality being something of a blend between Elizabeth Bennet and Fanny Price. She's inquisitive, tenacious and highly logical/analytical. She's also got zero patience for vanity, silliness, flirtatiousness and wastefulness. And the number of personalities that, in context of the book, "inform future characters" are highly entertaining. For instance, there's a character she interacts with whose haughtiness and impeccable manners are very, very Mr. Darcy.

I greatly enjoyed both the tone and the mystery, and will be continuing the series. I highly recommend it for fans of Jane Austen, Regency historical fiction, good (especially historical) mystery novels, and strong female protagonists.

ilovemylibrary9 Feb 23, 2015

Great mystery series!

WVMLStaffPicks Nov 13, 2014

A classic cozy murder mystery which will delight Jane Austen fans.

Feb 20, 2012

A wee bit melodramatic, but most of the writing is nicely within Austen's style.

Dec 07, 2010

Author Stephanie Barron sets her fictionalized Jane Austen in the seemingly mild-mannered world of 18th century polite society, with manor houses, horse-drawn carriages, and formal visits galore?and then gives her heroine lots of adventures and mysteries to solve. In the series opener, Jane has just caused a scandal by accepting a marriage proposal only to change her mind the next morning. Seeking refuge from wagging tongues, Jane goes to visit an old friend, Isobel Payne, who has just married the wealthy?and much older?Earl of Scargrave. When the Earl suddenly dies and anonymous notes accuse his young bride of murder, Jane determines to stay on and help her dear friend through this dark hour. There?s a tangle of suspects and motives to unravel?greedy nephews, airhead aunts, scoundrels, and ne?er-do-wells?not to mention a dashing Lord with a decided interest in Jane the detective. Janeites will recognize names and characters from the author?s life and novels and will surely get a kick out of seeing the prim-and-proper Miss Austen (1775-1817) turn snoop. It will come as no surprise that with her reputed wit and critical eye, Jane makes a formidable detective indeed.


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