Book Review: Jane And The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron

Jane And The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor CoverBook: Jane And The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron

Published July 1996 by Bantam|289 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Jane Austen Mysteries #1

Genre: Adult Mystery

Where I Got It: 

For everyone who loves Jane Austen…a marvelously entertaining new series that turns the incomparable author into an extraordinary sleuth!

On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel’s husband,a gentleman of mature years, is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl’s death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. 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 to the worst sort of scandal, Isobel begs Jane for help. And Jane finds herself embroiled in a perilous investigation that will soon have her following a trail of clues that leads all the way to Newgate Prison and the House of Lords’ trail that may well place Jane’s own person in the gravest jeopardy.

What I Thought:

I’m not sure what to think about Jane And The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor.  I am very much intrigued by the idea of fictional Jane Austen mysteries, and I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen, so I definitely wanted to check it out.

What I really liked was how well Barron wrote- all in the style of Jane Austen herself, and there were times where I forgot it was Stephanie Barron writing, and not Jane Austen.  That’s how well she wrote as Jane Austen.  Jane Austen writing and solving mysteries is relatively believable, and I really liked that aspect of it. Granted, Jane Austen solving mysteries doesn’t completely go with the fact that the real life Jane Austen had a relatively quiet life (from what I know), but overall, it worked quite well.

But I couldn’t get completely into it- maybe it’s because I’m not a big mystery person.  But it’s also possible I haven’t found the right mystery, and I don’t think this was the right mystery, even though it involves Jane Austen.  It is very slow-paced, and it seemed to take a good chunk of the book before things really got going.  But I know this is the first of quite a few books in the series, so maybe the other ones are a little bit better paced.

There were also a lot of characters, and I kind of wish I had taken notes to keep track of everyone.  And what was going on, because things seemed really complicated to me.  But it was still an enjoyable read, especially as a Jane Austen fan.

My Rating:

3 stars.  I really liked how much I was reminded of Jane Austen’s writing, and Jane Austen the detective worked really well for me, but I also had a hard time getting completely into it.

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