Jane and the Wandering Eye by Stephanie Barron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read several books in this series a few years ago, but didn't remember them in any detail. During my recent Jane Austen Festival frenzy, I decided to try a re-read. Unfortunately, my library did not have #1 or #2 available, and though I am loathe to (re-)start a series in the middle, I turned to Jane and the Wandering Eye. Jane is in Bath near Christmastime. Her Gentleman Rogue has dispatched her to keep an eye on his niece Lady Desdemona, who has decamped from London, after rejecting the Earl of Swithin's proposal. At a masquerade rout, a knife is plunged into the heart of one of the guests, and Jane is off on another sleuthing adventure. An intriguing clue found at the scene of the crime is an eye portrait. The author's website has a fascinating discussion of these portraits, if you get all Art Historical Geeky about this kind of thing like I do.
The Art and Drama of Bath: Jane and the Wandering Eye
I seem to recall thinking that the idea of Jane Austen as an intrepid sleuth was a bit much the first time I read these books. After all the subsequent vampyre, zombie, and semi-pornographic interpretations of her works, I have revised my first impressions. Jane and the Wandering Eye is just right in its tone and touch.
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