Publishing Oct 22, 2021
Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!
Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’
When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.
Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.
With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.
Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.
This was just as charming and engaging as the first. It’s so easy to fall into Jane’s world, and she’s such a plucky, determined heroine that her books are a delight.
This one brought back some familiar faces from the first adventure, as well as introducing many new ones. I love the way the mystery played out, giving just enough hints while still leaving me guessing.
I especially love the way Jane is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about the East India Company’s activities in India, racism, slavery, animal treatment in circuses, etc. They’re handled well and don’t take over the lightness of the storyline while still maintaining an appropriate seriousness.
I look forward to the next Jane Austen Investigates adventure!
*Thanks to NetGalley and Lion Fiction for providing an e-arc for review.