Jane and the Canterbury Tale: Being a Jane Austen Mystery

Stephanie Barron (Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron) sends her literary heroine to Kent on an extended visit to her brother, Edward, in her 11th delightful installment of the Jane Austen Mysteries. While attending a reception following the wedding of the widow Adelaide Fiske to Captain Andrew MacAllister, Jane observes the delivery of a pouch of tamarind seeds and the subsequent distress the curious package causes the bride. The next day, a stranger is found dead on the famous Pilgrim's Way of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. When the stranger is discovered to be none other than Adelaide's first husband, the presumably long-dead Curzon Fiske, Adelaide's family and closest friends, and eventually Adelaide herself, fall under the cloud of suspicion. As the local magistrate, Edward must see to the legal proceedings, and he relies heavily on Jane's keen observations and quick mind to uncover the truth.

Jane Austen's famous wit comes through so artfully in Barron's reverent, warm rendering of the author that the reader is likely to mistake it for a lost journal. Barron is as masterful in styling her prose in the mode of Austen's own voice as she is in building a mystery. Barron's own background as an intelligence analyst for the CIA undoubtedly serves her well as every chapter she writes presents a new level of discovery, creating a knot the reader will not easily untangle. All these elements combine to make Jane Austen's latest adventure thoroughly entertaining and impossible to put down. --Sarah Borders, librarian, Houston Public Library

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