[Jane and the Genius of the Place] [by: Stephanie Barron]
In August of 1805, sisters Jane and Cassandra Austen leave Bath to travel to their brother Edward’s estate in Kent in order to enjoy the Canterbury races. All the rich and famous attend, making the area a perfect locale for parties, scandal, and gossip. The most daring of them all is the figure in scarlet, Francoise, the French spouse of a banker, Valentin Grey. However, the gossip about Mrs. Grey turns morbid when she is murdered. Most of the aristocracy assumes that either one of her lovers or her spouse killed her. Jane disagrees that this is a simple murder of passion. Having some previous success with solving crimes, Ms. Austen begins to look for clues that will prove there are more sinister happenings than a deadly lover’s quarrel.
The fourth novel in the Jane Austen Mysteries continues with the same freshness and insight into the early nineteenth century that the previous three novels provided readers. The well-designed story line of Jane and the Genius of the Place provides readers with an intriguing and puzzling mystery. Jane remains interesting, and the support characters add authenticity. However, what makes Stephanie Barron’s novel and for that matter the entire series, so much fun to read are the details of the era with Jane’s life interwoven into it, making for a superb historical mystery.