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Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent (Dido Kent Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Dean, Anna - 1st book
Allison & Busby, 2008, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 9780749079109
First Sentence: My dear Eliza, I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last.
Catherine Kent is engaged to Richard Montague. During their engagement ball at Betsfield Hall, Richard reacts strongly to a red-headed man and then disappears after leaving Catherine a note urging her to break off their engagement. Catherine's father sends for his spinster sister, Miss Dido Kent. The same day Dido arrives, the body of a murdered woman is found under a hedge on the property and Dido decides it's up to her to discover the killer.
Ms. Dean's writing is literate, intelligent, funny and completely captivating. I give her top marks for sense of time and place, as well as dialogue, which is delightfully appropriate to the period. Her observations on women, marriage and inheritance are done with a light, but informative, touch.
Dido Kent is a wonderful protagonist. She is smart and clever without being malicious; something of a Miss Marple of 1805, but better. I particularly enjoyed the letters to Dido's sister, which convey Dido's internal questions, observations and explorations. All the characters come to life under Ms. Dean's deft hand.
The story is very well plotted. Ms. Dean provides her readers all the clues as Dido uncovers them but, as one who let's the protagonist solve the crime, I was delighted watching the solution unfold.
Those who are fans of Jane Austin, traditional mysteries, historical mysteries, should enjoy this book. Personally, I loved it!
I enjoyed this story. I don't think it was amazing, but I think there is certainly room for the series to grow and strengthen if the author continues with it. Dido Kent is an intelligent and witty sleuth- she's not quite in the upper class, but she's also not in the working class. Thus, she can speak to people at multiple levels of society with ease. She also is often ignored because she is a spinster (we don't know how old she is, but I can't imagine she is over 30). In that way, I can see the comparisons to Miss Marple's kind and diminutive presence in Agatha Christie's novels.
While I liked Dido, I didn't think the story itself was all that great. There were some clues Dido didn't figure out for quite some time, even though there were clues that *I* picked up on (and I generally am quite dense for mysteries, sadly). As Dido is so intelligent, it was hard to believe she didn't pick up on those clues more quickly.
Also, there was an entire storyline involving a Colonel and a footman that either could have been completely left out or reconciled in a better manner. I didn't like this storyline or what it implied on multiple levels, and I don't think it was necessary for the story's success at all.Read more ›
But now let's have a look at the plot:
In 1805, Miss Dido Kent arrives at Belsfield Hall, the country estate of the Montague family, in order to help her niece, Catherine, deal with the fact that her finacé, Richard Montague, has suddenly broken their engagement and disappeared. Miss Dido learns that at Catherine's engagement ball, a peculiar thing had taken place: a stranger had appeared at Richard's shoulder and had looked at him without saying a word. Afterwards, Richard had immediately broken off his engagement to Catherine and left Belsfield Hall, never to be seen again. Therefore, heartbroken Catherine seeks the help of her spinster aunt Dido in order to discover the motive for Richard's strange behavior and disappearance. But it seems that Miss Dido will have to solve yet another mystery, since after her arrival at Belsfield Hall, the discovery of a body in the shrubbery is made. However, Catherine's aunt enjoys solving mysteries, thus she is eager to shed light on the strange and shocking events that have taken place at Belsfield Hall.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel was brilliantly written! Every time I thought I had it figured out, a plot twist had me stymied. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Alice
Character introductions are confusing at the beginning and some are not clarified by the end. As a retired English prof, I have spent much of my time analyzing lit with pen in... Read morePublished 17 months ago by R. T. Watson
Would this fall into the British cosy mystery genre? There's nothing lurid about the story, so if you like more genteel murders, this may be your cup of Earl Grey. Read morePublished on July 10, 2014 by L. M. Keefer
I like historical mysteries. I also tend to gravitate toward book titles that sound like the names of stately homes. Read morePublished on September 14, 2013 by Cathy G. Cole
Set in the year 1805, Miss Dido Kent is a bright satirical spinster who has come to assist her niece whose fiancé has mysteriously disappeared during the ball to announce... Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by little lady blue
This book succeeds in its aim - to be a pleasant, beautifully written homage to Jane Austen.
The mystery itself is engrossing, and the solution is not one many will spot... Read more
This is a good series as I am always interested in the way people lived during this period. The alternate titles are somewhat confusing as they are published under different... Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Cora
Fun first entry in a new series; I really like Dido Kent, our heroine, and the style, characters, mystery and humor put me very much in mind of Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen... Read morePublished on May 19, 2012 by NC Reader
Dido Kent is 29 years old and unmarried. She is the maiden aunt, always on call and relient upon her brothers for her allowance. Read morePublished on April 11, 2012 by S Riaz