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Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent (Dido Kent Mysteries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dean's promising debut, the first in a new historical series, introduces Dido Kent, a single lady of a certain age who's not too old to regret she gave up the business of falling in love some years ago. In September 1805, Dido journeys to Bellfield Hall, the country seat of the Montague family, at the request of her niece, Catherine, who's upset that her fiancé, Richard Montague, has suddenly broken their engagement and taken flight. Soon after arriving at Bellfield Hall, Dido learns of an even more distressing event—the discovery of the body of an unknown young woman in the shrubbery. In the Miss Marple tradition, Dido observes the residents of Bellfield Hall closely, questions the servants, and interviews local shopkeepers. Excerpts from letters the likable Dido writes to her sister further illuminate her sleuthing methods. Several red herrings keep the reader and Dido guessing. Regency fans will look forward to the next installment. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Who better than a discerning maiden aunt to comfort a lovelorn niece and solve a vexing mystery? No sooner has Miss Dido Kent arrived at the Montague family estate of Bellfield Hall in 1805—at the behest of her beloved niece, Catherine, whose fiancé, Richard Montague, has just departed under mysterious circumstances—than a woman is found shot in the shrubbery. Meanwhile, Lady Montague’s two nieces are being wooed by gentlemen whose motives turn out to be less than sterling, a situation about which Miss Kent also offers advice. Her primary quest, however, remains investigating the murder and young Montague’s leave-taking, and determining whether the two events are connected, which leads her to uncover long-buried family secrets. Dean’s prose captures the spirit of nineteenth-century England, and in Dido Kent, whose keen powers of observation are matched by her sharp deductive reasoning, she has created an exemplary investigator. Published in England in 2008 as A Moment of Silence, this is the first in a series and a sure bet for fans of historical mysteries. --Michele Leber
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Product Details

  • Series: Dido Kent Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312562942
  • ASIN: B005DI9HSK
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,048,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A MOMENT OF SILENCE (Hist Mys/Ama. Sleuth-Dido Kent-England-1805) - Ex
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!
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book based on the historical novel website review. It was a very pleasant surprise. The main character, spinster Miss Dido Kent, finds herself acting as detective at the request of her niece Catherine. Although asked to find a missing fiance, Dido ends up looking into murder. Much of the story takes the form of letters written to Dido's sister, Eliza. There is so much dry wit involved, as well as interesting side plots. At times Dido takes time to see things that we as modern readers notice immediately - but this doesn't detract from the story. All in all, this is one for those who enjoy Georgette Heyer. Of course, it can't hope to match the "mistress" of regencies, which aren't really mysteries, but it does have some of the charm, comedic aspects and interesting cast of characters to remind one of her. And, with luck, there will be more featuring Miss Dido Kent.
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Format: Hardcover
Bellfield Hall is an English country home murder mystery set during the Georgian era. Miss Dido Kent arrives at the hall after her niece summons her there- she soon finds out that not only has her beloved niece's fiancee called off their engagement, but also that a woman no one knows has been murdered in the shrubbery. Dido promises to help her niece discover why her fiancee so abruptly called off their marriage, and in the meantime, she does some of her own sleuthing on the murder.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
When I discovered A Moment of Silence a few months ago, I immediately added this book to my wish list since it was described as a mystery novel with a touch of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. I don't think I need to tell you how much I love Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, because if you follow my blog, then I suppose you are already familiar with this fact. Thus, I was eager to read this book because I knew that I would love it. And I must say that I really did love this charming novel and I am looking forward to reading more works by Anna Dean in order to find out more about her main character Miss Dido Kent.

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.
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