Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
by Stephanie Barron
Although I've read all of the series published to date, and know how everything turns out, it's wonderful to reread and catch things I never noticed before. When I first read the book many years ago I had no idea how it would turn out and coming back after a period and reading up to the most recent, I find that I'd forgotten some plot points or clues to the murderer's identity.
Stephanie Barron gives the reader such a clear picture of each person, even minor ones, that they seem almost real. Each one has such a deeply developed character that makes me long for just a bit more information about them. In particular, I'd like to know more about the histories of Jenny Barlow or Mr. Cranley.
Everyone is a suspect until the end, which makes for a really great mystery. The ending builds up to the eleventh hour revelation of the murderer. I can see Jane getting into all the situations and scrapes that she does, and even though her suspicions are not always correct, she finally figures it out in the end.
Going back and reading how Jane meets Lord Harold Trowbridge is a great treat. The "dark angel" is the perfect man to match wits with Jane Austen. As one of my favorite characters in the series (how can he not be?), I can't wait until they meet again.
I like the way the book wraps up the loose ends as Jane Austen would have at the end of any of her novels. 'This person did so and so, this person married this one, etc.'