Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

I finished this book last night. It's the first in a series by Stephanie Barron that purports to be "edited" by the author from long-lost journal entries and letters written by Jane Austen. This is somewhere between the light "cozy" mysteries and and an actual Jane Austen novel in feel. I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was a bit skeptical of the set-up, which includes some footnotes to fill in things from Jane's life specifically or her time period generally. It was just fun, and I was sucked into the premise quite easily. Barron, I thought, is quite a good writer, and makes it believable that the writing is Jane's. Jane is exactly as clever and witty as you'd expect, so the book isn't in the least dry. The mystery is complicated and the supporting characters well-drawn. It took longer for me to read than a typical cozy mystery, but that's not a bad thing. It was just a bit more dense and with a less modern feel to the writing. I have the next few books in the series as well, and I'm told they just get better. I'd certainly recommend it to mystery lovers and Jane Austen fans. But make sure you have hot chocolate in the house--Jane drinks it with breakfast every morning, and each mention sets off a craving :)

I'm nearly through with Pride and Prescience, the first in a series by Carrie Bebris in which the newlyweds Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy solve mysteries. This is a much lighter and breezier series, but enjoyable nonetheless. Review when I'm done.

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