Author: Stephanie Barron
Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.
Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.
Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane’s fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?
Bluestocking’s Opinion: One of the things that I really liked about this book, is the whole 12 days of Christmas concept. I mean there is a song, but I really never thought about why there were 12 days of Christmas. The author does give some background information about the fact that the 12 days of Christmas stems from the pagan feast Saturnalia. Pagan-ness aside, I think we should totally go back to celebrating 12 days of Christmas. In this country, at least, all people do is work and more work. I think we need to get back to the good old days of actually taking time off. Some of the role playing games sound really fun!
In this book, we got to meet Jane’s curate brother James and his wife Mary who definitely seems (according to the author’s perspective) to be the template for Mary Elliot Musgrove. We also get to see Jane’s childhood home at Steventon. From the description given, this wasn’t some little clap-trap house. I’ve seen a couple of sketches online as to what the house used to look like. It was quite sizeable!! It’s too bad the house isn’t in existence now.
Well, the mystery itself was as good as ever. The author did her usual job. As usual, solving the mystery involved exploring the characters of the characters. There were a few riddles that I got a kick out of trying to solve. I didn’t figure out who had done it. Not that this is suprising. Another excellent read by Stephanie Barron.
Oh! you can download a reader’s guide in to creating a Jane Austen Christmas. I wish I had purchased the book a couple of days before Christmas so that I could have tried some of the ideas. Ah well! There is next year!