The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen
By Lindsay Ashford
Miss Anne Sharp holds the position of governess at the Godmersham home of Edward Austen. She becomes friendly with his literary sister, Jane, when the latter arrives for an extended stay. Also a frequent visitor is a younger Austen brother, the maverick Henry. Anne becomes convinced that Henry is having an illicit affair with her employer's wife and Jane too has her suspicions on this account.
When Jane Austen dies at the age of just 41, Anne is devastated. She begins to suspect that someone wanted Jane out of the way because she knew too much. Anne's fears are heightened by the death of yet another family member soon after.
The story opens with two letters establishing that Anne has sought to confirm her suspicions, now that medical science has progressed sufficiently to assess the evidence presented by a tainted lock of Jane Austen's hair. Natural causes or murder? Even after more than twenty years, Miss Sharp is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious death of the acclaimed Miss Austen ...
Lindsay Ashford is an established crime writer who lived and working at the heart of the Jane Austen heritage movement - Chawton House in Hampshire - during the writing of this novel. She is the author of the acclaimed Megan Rhys crime series; shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculiar Award.
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Welsh Books Council Book of the Month November 2011
"Ashford borrows the "mischievous spirit" of Austen herself in this thoroughly entertaining mingling of fact and fiction."
Anna Scott, Guardian
"It is a long time since I have read a novel that I absolutely could not put down - but this one had me riveted from start to finish. I love Jane Austen's novels, have read just about everything ever written about her and I live near Chawton - and this novel has turned my comfortable beliefs about her life - and especially about her death - upside down" Amazon Review
"an intriguing and compelling variation on the theory of the death of Jane Austen.
"I actually couldn't put it down... beautifully written and wholly believable..."
Jane Odiwe, janeaustensequels.blogspot.com
"Austen herself who leaps from the pages with warmth and humour; a character we all wish was our best friend and who is testament to Ashford's admiration of her subject... I am sure that lovers of a good conspiracy theory will be engrossed"
Laura Stowe, New Welsh Review
Categories: Crime / Mystery / Thriller, Fiction, Historical fiction, Novels
First Published by Honno: 20th May 2011