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Death of a Dowager
The Jane Eyre Chronicles #2
Joanna Campbell Slan

Berkley Prime Crime
April 2013 / ISBN-10: 0425253511
Mystery - historical

Reviewed by Cheryl Green

Jane and Edward Rochester are spending time in London with their good friend Lucy Brayton. The home they had been living in, Ferndean Hall, is in disrepair. Edward needs to see a new physician about his failing vision - which will be easier to do in London. In addition, Jane is in possession of a letter that could compromise the reign of King George IV. The coronation is two months away and the people are not thrilled with his extravagant spending.

An evening at the Italian Opera Theatre, which is meant to be a diversion, becomes fodder for everyone there. Lady Ingram (who still feels her daughter Blanche should be married to Edward), proceeds to snub Jane with the cut sublime. This will also reflect on Lucy, who is expecting her newly adopted son Evans to arrive any day. The next afternoon, Jane and Lucy arrive at Lady Grainger's home assured that the Ingram ladies would be on their best behavior. After drinking some coffee, Lady Ingram drops her cup and falls to the floor. Mags, the dog owned by Lady Grainger, drinks the remains of the spilled coffee. Both Lady Ingram and Mags are dead. Looks like Jane will have to work with Bow Street runner, Phineas Waverly to solve this horrible murder.

Things to ponder: Who moved the rose hips? Why didn't Blanche get sick - she had the coffee too? Was Jane the intended victim?

Once again I am instantly transported back into the world of Jane Eyre. Ms. Slan has created a rich tapestry into which she has woven another tale worthy of the original. Who knew a cut sublime could be as deadly as poisoned coffee? Joanna Campbell Slan has done it again - written a novel that picks up where the original novel ends and added a mystery to boot. It was a page turner for me - I needed to find out whodunit. There are lots of red herrings and historical facts to keep you on your toes. I liked Death of A Schoolgirl - the first in this new series, but I loved Death of A Dowager even more. So, if you like your mystery with some beloved characters, then you should read this book.

Reviewed 2013