#5 - Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron
"Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor" is the first of nine novels that portray Jane Austen as a sleuth. The novel is written as if Jane is writing a journal about events surrounding the suspicious death of an Earl. Stephanie Barron superbly mimics Austen's style, and also includes wonderful footnotes that give background information on English titles and estates, the culture and etiquette of the time, and information on Austen herself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was a bit hesitant to try it at first, having read some lame attempts by other authors at continuing "Pride and Prejudice.'' But, I was pleasantly surprised.
There are a few lines recycled from Austen's works such as "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'' Barron uses well-known quotes sparingly to add a flavor of authenticity to the book, but the story is not bogged down with excessive recycled wit.
After reading this first book in the series, I will definitely be reading the other 8. The other books in the series are:
Jane and the Man of the Cloth
Jane and the Wandering Eye
Jane and the Genius of the Place
Jane and the Stillroom Maid
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley
Jane and the Lordship's Legacy
Jane and the Barque of Frailty (Coming out in Nov 2006)
More information on the book series can be found at www.stephaniebarron.com