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Jane and the Stillroom Maid: Being the Fifth Jane Austen Mystery (Being A Jane Austen Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Stephanie Barron
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Jane Austen as sleuth continues to delight in her latest adventure (after Jane and the Genius of the Place), which sheds new light on the author's travels in 1806. While enjoying a ramble in the Derbyshire hills near Bakewell (a town Eliza Bennett visits in Pride and Prejudice), Jane discovers the mutilated body of a young man. Jane's suspicions are roused when her escort, Mr. George Hemming, prefers to remove the unidentified corpse to Buxton, rather than Bakewell, and they increase when the body proves to be that of a woman dressed in men's clothing. Moreover, the corpse is identified as Tess Arnold, a servant at one of the area's great houses, whom Mr. Hemming should have recognized. As the compounder of stillroom remedies, Tess had a reputation as a healer, until accused of witchcraft. Rumors of ritual murder by Freemasons-who include most of the neighboring gentry-excite the local populace and jeopardize the investigation of the justice of the peace, himself a Mason. When Mr. Hemming disappears before the inquest, Jane and the justice turn for help to Lord Harold Trowbridge, a guest at the nearby ducal house of Chatsworth. Barron catches Austen's tone amazingly well. Details of early 19th-century country life of all classes ring true, while the story line is clear, yet full of surprises. The "editor's notes" that punctuate the text and old cures for various ills that open each chapter add to the charm. (Aug.)


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jane Austen as sleuth continues to delight in her latest adventure (after Jane and the Genius of the Place), which sheds new light on the author's travels in 1806. While enjoying a ramble in the Derbyshire hills near Bakewell (a town Eliza Bennett visits in Pride and Prejudice), Jane discovers the mutilated body of a young man. Jane's suspicions are roused when her escort, Mr. George Hemming, prefers to remove the unidentified corpse to Buxton, rather than Bakewell, and they increase when the body proves to be that of a woman dressed in men's clothing. Moreover, the corpse is identified as Tess Arnold, a servant at one of the area's great houses, whom Mr. Hemming should have recognized. As the compounder of stillroom remedies, Tess had a reputation as a healer, until accused of witchcraft. Rumors of ritual murder by FreemasonsAwho include most of the neighboring gentryAexcite the local populace and jeopardize the investigation of the justice of the peace, himself a Mason. When Mr. Hemming disappears before the inquest, Jane and the justice turn for help to Lord Harold Trowbridge, a guest at the nearby ducal house of Chatsworth. Barron catches Austen's tone amazingly well. Details of early 19th-century country life of all classes ring true, while the story line is clear, yet full of surprises. The "editor's notes" that punctuate the text and old cures for various ills that open each chapter add to the charm. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-In this fifth Jane Austen mystery, Jane's cousin, Mr. Edward Cooper, rector of Hamstall Ridware, Staffordshire, takes her, her mother, and sister to the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire. He is an avid fisher-man and Jane is an avid walker. The bucolic English countryside and bubbling streams seem to be a perfect fit for them-until Jane finds a body in the hills. The victim has been shot in the head and mutilated and, although dressed as a man, is actually a beautiful still-room maid, Tess Arnold. The story is com-plex and another death follows. Lord Harold Trowbridge is staying in the area and per-suades Jane to accompany him to various so-cial functions and use her investigative skills and interest in the case. The protagonist is at her analytical best, and her fans will love this story. Twists and turns abound and the killer is so evil that readers will never suspect who and why it is until the very end. Austen makes a fine sleuth even if she is quite smitten with the debonair Lord Trowbridge.-Linda A. Vretos, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1300 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B009I8MZLM
  • Publisher: Bantam (August 26, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002MHOCRG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,769 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful concoction -- February 17, 2001
Format:Hardcover
In the great houses of England, many of which were somewhat isolated and therefore at least somewhat self-contained, the Stillroom maid was a sort of combination lay-apothecary and general medical practitioner. According to the medical rules of the time, that is. Her strength was in the knowledge and use of herbs and other assorted items that could be blended together to cure--or at least treat--nearly every ailment known to man. If the medicaments as put forth at the beginning of each chapter of this book are as factual as stated by the author, I confess to surprise that not more of the Stillroom maids were cruelly murdered. Many of them were accused--rightly or wrongly--of witchcraft.
Of course, Tess Arnold was a bit more than just Stillroom maid to the household in which she was employed. Just how much more, became the problem facing Jane Austen in this, her fifth crime to solve. Jane, after all, had come across the mutilated body of the young person, dressed in gentleman's evening clothes, and with a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. Imagine the surprise of everyone--including Jane--when the local coroner identified the corpse as not a young man, but--the Stillroom maid from Penfolds Hall.
Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother, in the company of Edwin Cooper, the nephew of Mrs. Austen, and a vicar (who was clearly the model for Mr. Collins) visit Derbyshire in company with George Hemming, a gentleman friend of Edwin. The two gentlemen and Jane had gone trout fishing in the dales, providing the opportunity for Jane to have a little commune with nature, but resulting instead in the horrid discovery of the body.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent and satisfying adventure with Jane August 2, 2000
Format:Hardcover
I eagerly anticipated this latest volume from Stephanie Barron and I was not disappointed. Barron has created a very believable Jane - and in this case her mother and sister as well. The premise of the story is not strained and set in context of what is known of Jane Austen's life by the 'Editor's Note' at the beginning of the story. Derbyshire, the setting of the story, is described by Elizabeth Bennet in 'Pride and Prejudice'. I love the way Barron has included charaters that could easily be part of an Austen novel, for example, Jane's singing clergyman cousin, Mr. Cooper, who continually talks of his patron. We meet Lord Harold Towbridge again, as well as the Duke of Devonshire and his family, in mourning over the death of the famous Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The local characters Jane meets while trying to solve the murder of the stillroom maid, Tess Arnold, are described well and fit the town of Bakewell very well. All in all, an excellent book for both mystery lovers and Jane Austen fans. In some ways it is better than any of the 'sequels' that have been written to Austen's novels, I guess because it fits with my ideas about what Jane Austen must have been like. One further point, I would suggest these books to teenagers who might be reluctant to read Jane Austen. The mystery will draw them in and they will quickly learn to enjoy the characters and wit of the story, which as I said, are very much like an Austen novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Darker Tone Than the Earlier Books September 2, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I continue to be very impressed with this series of mysteries. This one took me a little bit more time to get into, perhaps more because of busyness in my own life than actually having trouble getting into the story, but, as in the past with these books, I ended up being very satisfied. There is a slightly larger cast of supporting characters here than in the past books, and this one is a little less overtly political (not so much worry about Napoleonic France here) but there are certainly class and social issues. Jane is more socially anxious than in the earlier books, as she heads off to the opulant home of her Whig friends. Some of this is a class and political consciousness, and some of this comes from the growing sense that she is older, without money, and without some of the prospects for happiness that she has to admit she yearns for. This is stronger here than in any of th earlier books. Jane's relationship with Sir Harold Trowbridge brings her both great joy and terrible pain, as she confronts the abyss between their social positions and knows that she can never home to cross the divide between them, no matter how beautifully their minds work together and they appreciate each other.
The actual plot here is as clear and direct as the plot of the ealier books as well--solving the mystery is not the ultimate satisfaction here. It is coming to that solution with the very satisfying characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By shannu
Format:Hardcover
This is the first novel in the series that I have read and I must admit that I was not disappointed. Barron accomplishes the difficult task of depicting the period in a tone very similar to that used by Austen as novelist. Austen enthusiasts will be pleased with this accomplished tribute to the novelist. In the "Stillroom Maid" (as in the other four novels in the series) Jane has become a sleuth, using the eloquent language and mental acuity that harkens back to many of Jane Austen's most beloved literary heroines. While I am a great admirer of Austen, I have never been partial to the mystery genre. I found the mystery intriguing and the list of characters beguiling (especially Jane's love interest, Lord Harold). Even so, I found the identity of the killer a bit obvious even though the actual motive was a bit surprising. All in all, I would recommend this novel to both Austen fans and mystery buffs. I would imagine both parties will be pleased with this literary escapade and I certainly intend to read the other four novels that precede this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this whole series!
This is a great edition of the Jane Austen series from Stephanie Barron. It has all the favorite characters and a few surprises. I love the rhythm of these mysteries.
Published 2 months ago by Curl Girl - "C"
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen, super sleuth!
This series of historical fiction/murder mysteries is terrific. Great characters, wonderful detail, & very clever Jane Austen references throughout. Clever and sneaky plot.
Published 5 months ago by ADowning
5.0 out of 5 stars My wife really loves it
These books were bought for my wife and she cannot get enough of the series. I will continue to buy all available.
Published 18 months ago by Craig L. Marquis
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine Austen-inspired mystery set in the Peak District of...
Touring the Derbyshire countryside in the summer of 1806, Jane Austen, her mother, sister Cassandra and cousin Rev. Read more
Published on May 21, 2011 by Laurel Ann
3.0 out of 5 stars I do love this series!
But I found this one altogether too predictable. I had the murderer figured out about 1/3 of the way through the book. I still enjoy Ms. Read more
Published on February 14, 2009 by S. Schwartz
4.0 out of 5 stars Jane and the maid: good, but still room for improvement.
A 2008 summer reading list mini review.

When I began reading Stephanie Barron's fifth installment in her Jane Austen series, I was very much impressed. Read more
Published on June 10, 2008 by David C. Roller
4.0 out of 5 stars fine recovery
Jane and the Stillroom Maid is a nice comeback from the disappointment of the fourth installment in this otherwise spritely series. Read more
Published on September 4, 2005 by Miss Ivonne
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifth Time's a Charm
Having read the previous mysteries in this series, I've admired the way that Stephanie Barron has brought Jane Austen back to life. Read more
Published on July 17, 2005 by RCM
4.0 out of 5 stars fine mystery
I've enjoyed the previous books in Barron's series about Jane Austen as sleuth, and I will proceed to read the rest of the series, though I was slightly disappointed in the details... Read more
Published on November 29, 2004 by audrey
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable
Altogether too predictable, making it a huge yawn. An excellent idea going to waste under this author.
Published on July 8, 2004 by m-lee
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More About the Author

STEPHANIE BARRON

Stephanie Barron is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford, where she studied history. THE WHITE GARDEN is her twentieth novel, but she is perhaps best known for the critically-acclaimed Jane Austen Mystery Series, in which the intrepid and witty author of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE details her secret detective career in Regency England. JANE AND THE MADNESS OF LORD BYRON, the tenth Austen mystery, is forthcoming from Bantam in October 2010. A former intelligence analyst for the CIA, Stephanie--who also writes under the name Francine Mathews--drew on her experience in the field of espionage for such novels as THE ALIBI CLUB, which Publishers Weekly named as one of the fifteen best novels of 2006. She lives and works in Denver, CO.

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