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Jane and the Canterbury Tale: Being A Jane Austen Mystery Paperback – Aug 30 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Original edition (Aug. 30 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553386719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386714
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #97,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Stephanie Barron’s beloved Being A Jane Austen Mystery series is . . . 
“[Stephanie] Barron’s ability to capture Austen’s tone helps make this series one of the more literary and enjoyable.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Wonderful . . . echoing the rhythms of the Austen novels with uncanny ease.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A genteelly jolly series.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Splendid fun!”Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Charming, literate and unequaled.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

STEPHANIE BARRON is Senior Curator and Head of the Department of Modern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stelpanie Barron has produced a small library of Jane Austen Mysteries. I found them very relaxing reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0071a38) out of 5 stars 50 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f2b5d0) out of 5 stars An engaging, rich and dramatic mystery Sept. 8 2011
By Laurel Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There is a trail that winds through the edge of the grand country estate of Godmersham Park in Kent owned by Edward Austen-Knight, elder brother of the authoress Jane Austen. Pilgrims have traversed this foot-path for centuries on their way to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer based his famous narrative, THE CANTERBURY TALES, on pilgrims who travel across this path. Author Stephanie Barron places her eleventh novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series in this rich, historical environment and spins a fascinating murder mystery to rival any story offered by the Knight, the Nun or the Miller in Chaucer's original.

In the fall of 1813, while visiting her wealthy, widowed brother Edward at his grand estate in Kent, Jane attends a wedding at the neighboring Chilham Castle. Joined that day in connubial bliss are the beautiful young widow, Adelaide Fiske, and the dashing Captain Andrew McCallister. Jane's young niece Fanny Austen-Knight is also in attendance being courted by a queue of eager Beaux. While locals John Plumptre, James Wildman and George Finch-Hatton watch her dance the scandalous waltz with visiting dandy Julian Thane, a footman delivers a curious gift to the bride, a silken reticule that she accepts with some trepidation. Inside are dried brown beans. Jane is quick to observe that the bride's reaction must have some hidden meaning.

The following morning a man is found dead upon the pilgrim's path on the Godmersham estate near the ancient parish church dedicated to St Lawrence the Martyr. At first it is thought that he was felled by a stray hunting shot by one of the young local men out for a mornings sport of pheasant, but Jane sees the signs of an entirely different transgression. Her brother Edward, First Magistrate for Canterbury, is called to the scene and concurs that this was no hunting accident. The corner arrives to offer his assessment and soon discoveres that the deceased is none other than Curzon Fiske, the thought to be dead first husband of the recently married Adelaide, who after abandoning his wife in a flight from his creditors, departed for India four years prior and died there. Inside the depths of his coat pocket was a stained note with St Lawrence Church written upon it and one dried brown bean - an ominous tamarind seed.

As the mystery swiftly unfolds we are privy to an interesting collection of characters who each have their own tale to tell: a grieving widower, a young girl experiencing romance and heartbreak, an odious clergyman, a Bond Street Beau, a loose maid, a callous and calculating mother, and our adventurous detective Jane Austen, ever observant, always witty, relaying all of their stories in her journal and cleverly solving the crime.

Each chapter is epigraphed by pertinent quotes from Chaucer's tale and every word of this novel is a treasure. Barron is a Nonpareil in channeling my dear Jane. After eleven novels I never doubt her historical detail or unerring voice. This may be the last in the series, and I am sorely grieved at the loss. JANE AND THE CANTERBURY TALE is engaging, rich and dramatic. The ending is a shock, but not nearly as devastating as the possibility of the demise of this series.

Laurel Ann, Austenprose
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f2b648) out of 5 stars strong amateur sleuth Aug. 30 2011
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In 1813 Jane Austen stays at the estate of her brother First Magistrate Edward in Kent. At the same time, Widow Adelaide Fiske marries Wellington's staff member Captain Andrew MacAllister. However, on Pilgrim's Way in Canterbury, the corpse of Adelaide's first husband Curzson Fiske is found; the problem is he allegedly died several years ago.

Edward leads the investigation into the murder of a "dead man". However, it is Jane who finds clues while pondering why the first spouse came to the wedding of his wife to another man, but said nothing but he left something behind for his widow. While Edward frets one of his friends is the killer, the culprit observes Jane getting close to solving the Canterbury Tale homicide.

The latest Jane Austen mystery (see Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron) is a great entry that combines a strong amateur sleuth with insight into the relationships between the extended Austen family members. Part of the fun in this wonderful series is trying to match up the support characters with the novels. The story line is fast-paced from the moment a stunned bride learns of a strange commoner visiting her nuptials and never slows down until Jane and the killer confront one another.

Harriet Klausner
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f2bd20) out of 5 stars More proof of Barron's own imagination and genius. Nov. 14 2011
By Christina Boyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As this mystery series approaches Jane's last years in "Jane and the Canterbury Tale," this ending left me rather melancholy, knowing what is to come for both. "Fanny has learnt caution, at an age when I should have wished her to study romance ...." and likening dear Jane's narration, I too "...cannot help but be sorry for it." As always, another epic hit on her hands with this Canterbury Tale. The mystery kept me turning pages til the very end. Author Stephanie Barron's gift to write in a very Austenesque manner, her astute understanding of the mores of the times, and her exacting research of the locales and Regency history, authenticates Austen's voice in this fictional work. Yes, fictional. I have to remind myself that this series is simply that... more proof of Barron's own imagination and genius.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f2b6fc) out of 5 stars a fine 11th entry in this series Nov. 9 2011
By audrey frances - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mystery series is 11 books strong with this latest entry, and it is a very nice addition to the canon. Jane is staying with her brother Edward at his estate in Kent, the area near Canterbury and Barron gently ties the narrative to Chaucer's Tales. As Edward is the local magistrate, he is tasked with discovering the truth when a local cad is found dead on the Pilgrim's Way. To add to the drama, the victim was already presumed dead out-of-country and his widow was remarried that day! Yikes! So how lucky is Edward, to have our dear Jane with him, who gently ferrets out the truth from a number of characters, including some old friends of the family. Icing on the cake is the presence of Fanny, Miss Austen's beloved niece and the topic of many passages in the mythic correspondence between Jane and her sister Cassandra. Fanny is a likable character, and the suspect pool is entertaining. The mystery is interesting and the resolution is plausible.

If you're a fan of the series, you should enjoy this. If you haven't read any before, you will be entertained by this, but might benefit from reading the earlier books first, since relationships and characters develop over course of the series.

I'm grateful to Ms. Barron for this terrific series, well written and eminently entertaining.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4f2bec4) out of 5 stars Another Brilliant Entry in the Series July 27 2014
By Sophia Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
"You are a formidable lady, are you not, Aunt Jane?" she asked wistfully. "When I was a child, I was used to think you were like a good faerie- always dropping out of the sky with your delightful stories, and dolls-clothes you embroidered so neatly; playing at cricket regardless of the stains the lawn left on your dress, and teaching the little ones to toss spillikins. It is only now I am grown older- and have been privileged to read your novels, and apprehend the subtlety of your observations-that I know how cold a reason you command."
"I shall chuse to take that as a compliment." p. 55 Fanny Austen-Knight to Jane Austen in Jane and the Canterbury Tale

And this quote is an apt description of the Jane Austen as described by Stephanie Barron in the latest of her brilliant historical mystery series featuring the famous author as sharp-eyed and even sharper witted detective solving ticklish murders that baffle everyone else. The series is written in such a way that it is faithful to the timeline of Jane's life and the real people that moved through it. When fiction meets the authentic, it fits together seamlessly into a cohesive story that is believable. Well...perhaps her penchant for being a magnet for murder might be a bit excessive, but I find myself not minding that at all.

I have been a fan of this series since the beginning and I get so excited when each new installment makes its appearance. This particular segment returns to the home of Jane's brother Edward, Godmersham Park in Kent, as the setting for the story. It is part of a series and would best be read in the series order, but in a pinch it could be read out of order.

Jane is on a visit to her brother and her niece, Fanny. While she's there, they attend the wedding of some people associated with Edward's nearest neighbor. Things get interesting when the bride's ne'er do well dead husband is discovered to have returned from the dead only to be found murdered on The Pilgrim's Way that runs through Edward's property. Edward is the magistrate charged to investigate and he requests Jane's help in untangling this nasty murder that involves people he considers friends and close acquaintance.

The plot was a slow-paced twisty type that laid out the facts, the set of characters/suspects, teased out the character's personalities, and presented just a bit more of Jane's life at the time. It's always interesting how there are several inexplicable little mysteries going on that may or may not have any bearing on the main mystery just like there are so many suspects that its tough to settle on a solution prior to the reveal.

I was impressed with the depth to which the character's were drawn. Even the unlikeable ones or ones that seem almost background are more than 2-D. Many were so sympathetic that I was on pins and needles that one of my favorites would be the culprit.

The historical background is one of the big draws for me to this series. All the little details from the time period from the speech, to the activities, to the description of things like carriages or clothes, household life and social norms. There are nifty footnotes sprinkled through to explain further or show when an actual letter gets quoted.

All in all, this was another sparkling one from this series and I look forward to what comes next. Those who enjoy historical mysteries and particularly those who are Austenesque fans should give this series a try.