.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron. New York: Bantam Books, 1996. ISBN: 0-553-10196-X

In the seemingly endless and ongoing attempts made to capitalize on the perennial success of Jane Austen, here we find Jane herself acting as the unwitting sleuth in an attempt to save her good friend and the man she loves from a charge of murder.

Mysteries, as I've said and written before, are not my first choice in entertainment reading. For me to be hooked, a mystery has to rise above the ordinary. The writing has to really shine, and the plot has to be completely convincing. In other words, all the elements have to come together perfectly, otherwise I'd rather be reading science fiction or something else.

So I'm afraid I hold mysteries up to a higher standard than I might otherwise, and this one doesn't make the cut. The writing is good, perhaps above average, but the plot is lacking, and the development especially so. Jane frankly is not able to solve the mystery! If it weren't for a totally unexpected character development coming right at the end, where a person thought to be a villain throughout suddenly becomes just the opposite, her friends would have been hanged.

I'm sorry, but that just doesn't cut it for me. If Jane Austen is going to be our motive for reading the book, then she needs to solve the mystery on her own, not thorough a last minute plot twist. I won't bother with the many subsequent books, eight in all, with a ninth on the way, according to the author's website. Half-heartedly recommended for mystery fans, and die-hard Jane Austen fans may wish to take a look also. Others, forbear.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home