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The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen – “Readers Are Buried Too”

March 11, 2014

Austen

The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen 

by Lindsay Ashford

Sourcebooks Landmark; Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Reprint edition (August 6, 2013)

431 pages

Paperback:  11.97, Kindle: 9.99 (for either click: The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen)

This would be an interesting book for real Jane Austen fans. I have read all her classics but was bored, lost and/or confused by most of this. Too many characters. An intriguing, but far-fetched, lesbian narrator and interminable references to real people in Austen’s life who become characters in her novels.

At about 150 pages I became caught up in the story. But that didn’t last long (it returned in the last 20 pages).

I liked the idea that this was to be a fictional mystery, and the research that had to go into it is incredible. The twist at the end is that her death might actually have been from arsenic.

The problem with the book may have been mine, but writing has changed since Jane Austen’s day and the average reader’s expectations have too.

Spit it out. Say what you mean. Give descriptive details that let us experience the subject. Too much talk about the characters, rather than having them interact, makes for a dull play, movie, TV program or…book.

1 out of 5_edited-1

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