I so enjoy these books I got behind in my reading and was delighted to sink back into a good mystery which is also a well researched glimpse of Austen s life Don t worry, I know they are fiction, but the footnotes cover actual history I find this a lovely blending of real and fictional. As a genealogist, I very much enjoyed that the solution to this mystery lies in a thorough understanding of very complicated family trees and family histories This is right up my alley, but Stephanie Barron confused me with her everlastingly clever red herrings You see, one family tree reveals the murderer, but all are necessary to understand which ones contain duplicitous branches You need to know the family of Lord Harold s friend Freddy, the history of Lord Harold in India and France, and As a genealogist, I very much enjoyed that the solution to this mystery lies in a thorough understanding of very complicated family trees and family histories This is right up my alley, but Stephanie Barron confused me with her everlastingly clever red herrings You see, one family tree reveals the murderer, but all are necessary to understand which ones contain duplicitous branches You need to know the family of Lord Harold s friend Freddy, the history of Lord Harold in India and France, and of the Austen family s connection to the Knight family view spoiler Freddy Vansittart, second son of the Earl of Holbrook, becomes the Earl after his father and then his older brother both have died Freddy, in India, returns by ship in 1785 to England Also on board are Lord Harold Trowbridge, Freddy s great friend, and a French girl, H l ne de Pont Ravel, the 18 year old daughter of the Comte de Pont Ravel, traveling to England to be married She and Freddy fall in love and have an affair, and she becomes his mistress in Paris She bears him a son within the year When the French Revolution erupts, Freddy cannot get to them, and he sends Harold to rescue them Harold succeeds in rescuing the boy, now age 6, but H l ne de Pont Ravel is sent to the guillotine despite everything Harold tries to do to rescue her.Freddy in the meantime marries a proper English lady, and they have a daughter, Imogen Freddy s wife is actually not all that proper she soon ran off with a Cavalry officer and is out of the picture Imogen grows up as Freddy s spoiled heir.Freddy s son grows up in Europe, has a gentleman s education, and comes to England as a rival heir to Imogen They both want the estate, Stonings, and Freddy is debating what to do for each of them before he reveals to the world that Julian is his bastard heir Freddy s title goes by entail to the grandson of a much older cousin Freddy s cousin twice removed happens to be the steward of Stonings, lame Major Spence, who has tried in vain to woo and win Imogen.Secondarily to Freddy s family tree, we learn a bit of Lord Harold s backstory When he was sent to school at the tender age of 7 1767 , he became Fag to an older student named Benning who treated him abominably In 1782 Harold wounded Benning in a duel The wound became infected, and Benning s father, the Viscount St Eustace, suffered a fit at the news and died, making the hated Benning the new Viscount St Eustace, and thus a social superior to Lord Harold, who as the second son of a duke is actually a commoner Add to that the fact that Harold had fallen in love with Horatia, the girl betrothed to Benning, and they had an affair, making her two months pregnant with Harold s child when she married St Eustace Her husband tortured her, and in the winter of 1783 she died in childbirth along with the baby while Harold was in India When Harold and Freddy meet H l ne de Pont Ravel on the ship to England in 1785, Harold discovers she is betrothed to the widowed Viscount St Eustace because St Eustace, a family friend, is rich enough to bail out the Comte de Pont Ravel Harold at first is happy to take revenge on St Eustace and encourage Freddy But when it comes to the point, Harold empathizes with the girl and writes in his diary that he pities the powerlessness of women like H l ne, and he goes so far as to argue with Freddy against ruining her life after all Harold has been working in India for Warren Hastings Eliza de Feullide s reputed natural father , Governor General of Bengal, and when Edmund Burke and Harold s friend Charles James Fox succeed in having Hastings recalled, Lord Harold returns to England with Hastings and Freddy Vansittart When the French Revolution gets underway in June 1791, Lord Harold is happy to work with Charles Fox to forward its aims, but soon he and the rest of the Whig party are appalled by the bloodthirsty revolutionaries Harold engages Geoffrey Sidmouth to help smuggle nobles and goods out of France Then in the present story, Lord Harold s Bengal chest full of his papers is stolen from Jane Austen, and Jane is not able to read , so the next fifteen years of Harold s life is yet to be learned hide spoiler There are other family histories we need to understand The most difficult is the way Jane Austen s family was related to both the Knight family of Kent that adopted her brother Edward, and to the Hinton family of Chawton that claimed to be the legal heirs of body of the Knight family of Chawton and how those two Knight families were related to one another The Knight family of Kent that adopted Edward Austen consisted of Thomas Knight and his second wife, Catherine Knatchbull Thomas Knight s first wife was Jane Monk she and the Reverend George Austen father of Jane, Edward, and all the other siblings were both great grandchildren of John Austen and Jane Atkins Thomas Knight was born Thomas Brodnax, a son of William Brodnax and Anne May Thomas changed his surname to May when he inherited his grandparents estate Anne May s maternal cousin Frances married a man named Michael Martin Michael s mother was the last of the Chawton Knight family Michael s paternal cousin Joan married a Hinton Michael Martin s mother, Dorothy Knight, had inherited the Chawton estate Michael and Frances s daughter Elizabeth Knight inherited the Chawton estates She married but had no children, so her will set up this very complicated legal labyrinth that allowed her mother s cousin s son Thomas Brodnax May Knight of Kent to inherit the Chawton estates, rather than allowing her father s cousins the Hintons to inherit The Hintons were miffed when they were not the chosen cousin line, but they did nothing until a couple generations passed and the Knight line ended in those two childless marriages that led to Thomas Knight and his second wife, Catherine Knatchbull Knight, adopting Edward Austen Then the Hintons decided that it was not fair for someone not a blood relation to Elizabeth Martin Knight to inherit the Chawton property never mind that neither cousin line technically was a blood relation to the original Chawton Knight family except Elizabeth Martin Knight.The Hintons were in the process of a very complex and long lasting lawsuit against Edward Austen Knight, hoping to prove that he was not the rightful heir to the Chawton estates Fortunately, the Hintons did not eventually win but in 1814 Edward Knight had to pay them some 15,000, of which 10,000 went to Jane Hinton Baverstock and 5,000 to John Knight Hinton Edward paid this money by selling off timber from Chawton Wood Park During the action of this novel, Jack Hinton and his sister Mary were living in Chawton Lodge, opposite the Great House Chawton Manor.Adding to the general confusion of people, we meet and need to keep in mind a number of the inhabitants of Chawton and Alton.The Middleton family rents Chawton Great House the manor from Edward Austen They consist at this time of the father, John Charles, a widower whose wife s sister Maria Beckford lives with the family as hostess the eldest son who is away at sea daughters Susan, Charlotte Maria, Lucy, Charlotte Lydia Elizabeth and the youngest son, Frederick Graeme, age 6.Mr John Rawston Papillon, a clergyman, was given the Chawton Living by Mrs Knight, the stepmother of Edward Austen Mr Papillon and his spinster sister, Elizabeth, who keeps house for him, live in the restored old Rectory Mrs Austen hopes to make a match between this clergyman and one of her daughters.The Prowtings of Chawton consist of the father, William, the county magistrate in Chawton as well as Deputy Lieutenant, his wife, and his daughters, Catherine Ann and Ann Mary When Catherine comes under Jane Austen s suspicions, it develops that this young lady has people and things to hide.Mrs Libby Cuttle of Chawton bakes bread for the village, but she won t sell to the Austens because she is allied to the Hintons, or maybe because she doesn t like the way Edward Austen treated the Widow Seward.Old Phil owns some run down cottages in one of which lives Miss Benn, an impoverished gentlewoman, nearsighted, voluble, and easily distracted The Phils and the Frenches are numerous in the area and are working class Important to our story are Shafto French, the corpse Shafto s wife Bertie Phil, who fought with Shafto and spends most of the story in jail for his murder and Old Phil, Bertie s uncle view spoiler , who with Bertie broke into Chawton Cottage and stole Jane Austen s Bengal chest that Lord Harold bequeathed to her, full of his letters, diaries, and other papers hide spoiler.The Widow Seward is the former inhabitant of Chawton Cottage, and she has gone to live with her daughter, now Mrs James Baverstock, who is related to the whole Hinton Knight mess, in Alton, within walking distance of Chawton The Baverstocks have a brewery.Sally Mitchell, the maid the Prowtings find for the Austens, comes from Alton Her older brother is married to Nell, whose sister Rosie is married to Bertie Phil.Also in Alton are Henry Austen s bank branch, Austen, Gray Vincent, and the house that Frank Austen s wife Mary has rented, Rose Cottage in Lenton Street.I think this novel is excellently constructed, with view spoiler Freddy s identity as Lord Holbrook withheld until the very end, when hide spoiler what Jane has been reading among Lord Harold s papers is crucial to understanding the present mystery It is also entertaining to read the exchange between Freddy and Jane when she reveals to him who she is in relation to his old friend Harry s papers The Earl glanced at me in a startled fashion Thought he left them to some light o love by way of payment for services rendered Heard it from Wilborough myself Poor old fellow expects to be petitioned with blackmail at every moment Dashed odd of Harry, my opinion Must have been devilish smitten with the gel Lord Harold left all his papers to me, I replied with what I thought was commendable command of countenance The Earl s expression of shock was so blatant as to border on the insulting.Poor Jane This is pretty much typical of everybody s reaction to her having inherited Lord Harold s papers All she can do is remain dignified and belie everybody s assumptions, though with her wry and caustic wit, she seems to secretly enjoy the position too It is 1809, a significant year in the life of our esteemed authoress Jane Austen After close to five years of being shuffled about England between relatives, the three unattached Austen ladies widower Mrs Austen and her two unmarried daughters Jane and Cassandra are given permanent refuge by Jane s elder brother Edward Austen Knight in the village of Chawton They will live at Chawton cottage the former residence of the recently deceased steward of Edward s vast estate there Still privately It is 1809, a significant year in the life of our esteemed authoress Jane Austen After close to five years of being shuffled about England between relatives, the three unattached Austen ladies widower Mrs Austen and her two unmarried daughters Jane and Cassandra are given permanent refuge by Jane s elder brother Edward Austen Knight in the village of Chawton They will live at Chawton cottage the former residence of the recently deceased steward of Edward s vast estate there Still privately grieving the tragic death of her dear friend Lord Harold Trowbridge The Gentleman Rogue nine months prior, Jane arrives in the village to find an uneasy welcome to the Squire s family It appears that the villagers are unhappy that the widow of Edward s former steward was asked to vacate the cottage in favor of his family, andseriously, Edward as an absentee Squire has been remiss in his duties since the death of his wife Elizabeth the previous year.Within hours of Jane s arrival at the cottage she receives an unexpected visit from contemptuous Mr Bartholomew Chizzlewit, attorney to the family of His Grace the Duke of Wilborough Performing his duty as family solicitor, he deposits on Jane s dining parlor floor a curiously carved chest announcing that she is listed as a legatee in Lord Harold s Last Will and Testament His bequest should she accept it is that she accept his personal papers and diaries, a lifetime of incident, intrigue, and conspiracy of adventure and scandal of wagers lost and won, and write his life story After the Duke of Wilborough s family contested the legacy in a London court and lost, they are bitter about the arrangement and hold it against Jane Not only is this startling news, the thought of reliving the Gentleman Rogues life, far before she met him, and then through his entire life as a spy for the British government, is both curious and painful to her When the huge chest is removed into the cottage s cellar, another startling discover brings Jane s first day at Chawton to a scandalous close A body of a man lies rotting and rat eaten on the floor.Jane s brother Henry arrives the next day and the inquest into the mysterious death begins by the local authorities with Jane and Henry in assistance After Lord Harold s trunk is stolen, Jane is convinced that it contains information that someone did not want her to discover Could the theft be linked to the Wilborough family trying to cover up their son s notorious life Or, could it be the newcomers to the neighborhood, Julian Thrace, a young London Buck who is rud to be the illegitimate heir apparent to the Earl of Holbrook vast wealth, and his half sister Lady Imogen, the Earl s acknowledged heir Or, is the dead body in the cellar a personal vendetta by the bitter Jack Hinton, eager to make trouble for the Austen family He claims to be the rightful heir to the Knight family estate of Chawton that Jane s brother Edward inherited There are suspects and motives, suppositions and accusations galore for our observant and clever Jane to ponder and detect before she solves the crime.One chapter into the eighth novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series and I am totally convinced that Jane Austen is channeling the actual events of her life through author Stephanie Barron She has so convincingly captured her witty, acerbic and penetrating voice that I am totally mesmerized Like Jane, I am still grieving the tragic death of her secret crush Lord Harold Reading his letters and journals was like bringing him back to life Delightful torture for those Gentleman Rogue fans such as myself Jane and His Lordship s Legacy was a very well plotted and fast paced mystery, but Barron really outshines her own talent with her incredible historical details and the fact that in this discriminating Austen obsessed mind, no one will ever be able to match her unique ability to channel my favorite author s voice so perfectly.Laurel Ann, Austenprose In the older tradition, detectives tended to be never married or widowed Holmes, Marples, Poirot, etc A newer breed often has a series of lovers falling at his or her feet, but the detective hero or heroine always manages to avoid a permanent relationship How much harder then to balance the love life of a historical figure who, we know, never married Things were getting pretty serious, so it was clear our clever author was going to have to do something, and the blow was dealt in the last boo In the older tradition, detectives tended to be never married or widowed Holmes, Marples, Poirot, etc A newer breed often has a series of lovers falling at his or her feet, but the detective hero or heroine always manages to avoid a permanent relationship How much harder then to balance the love life of a historical figure who, we know, never married Things were getting pretty serious, so it was clear our clever author was going to have to do something, and the blow was dealt in the last book, and I was interested to see how Stephanie was going to deal with the situation.In fact, she handles the situation very deftly and gives us yet another entertaining suspense story As always, I have a couple of nitpicks, which don t, I think detract too much from the story I had to google the phrase spotted dog pudding to my surprise, it does exist for a small number of people as a variant of spotted dick Funny how Americans, who frequently come out with foul language in inappropriate situations, can be so coy about childish words like dick I was also suspicious of her note that sweep driveway I couldn t find confirmation of this, but I thought sweep was only used for the grand driveways of great houses where natural contours and landscaping were combined to produce a driveway that seems to sweep away from the house to the horizon Another clever installment in the Jane series, this one has a dash of cold reality thrown in MAJOR PLOT SPOILER ALERT If the you read the book previous to this one, you know that Lord Harold Trowbridge has been killed Poor Jane He may be gone, but he is not forgotten, nor is his impact on her life As a historical point, it s interesting how quickly people jumped to conclusions about the nature of Jane s relationship with Lord Harold indeed, she is nearly a scarlet women However, his ches Another clever installment in the Jane series, this one has a dash of cold reality thrown in MAJOR PLOT SPOILER ALERT If the you read the book previous to this one, you know that Lord Harold Trowbridge has been killed Poor Jane He may be gone, but he is not forgotten, nor is his impact on her life As a historical point, it s interesting how quickly people jumped to conclusions about the nature of Jane s relationship with Lord Harold indeed, she is nearly a scarlet women However, his chest of letters and other writings opens a new mystery Beyond any monetary value, the letters may contain information that is worththan gold And it seems, some people are bent on getting the deceased s papers Jane is trying to heal her heart, protect her legacy and the memory of her beloved, and to keep herself out of harm s way, all the while solving a mystery A good, engaging read as always Will Jane never live down her relationship with The Gentleman Rogue And now he s left her a bequest in the form of all his papers, including letters he wrote to his mum that he either collected from her or copied as a record as some of the extremely important people of the time did And he expects her to biographize him for the edification of posterity Hahaha Many people suspect the writings to contain blackmailable material, so his family was dead against the bequest and some others may w Will Jane never live down her relationship with The Gentleman Rogue And now he s left her a bequest in the form of all his papers, including letters he wrote to his mum that he either collected from her or copied as a record as some of the extremely important people of the time did And he expects her to biographize him for the edification of posterity Hahaha Many people suspect the writings to contain blackmailable material, so his family was dead against the bequest and some others may want to steal it To complicate matters, a body is found in the basement of the Austen ladies new home in Chawton There is a challenger to Edward s inheritance of the Knight family properties and the natives resent the Austens This was a pretty good and quick read Possible illegitmate children of Lord Harold are hinted at Oooo More installments to go She s only got 8years to live From the author of Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, Jane and His Lordship s Legacy is historical suspense writing at its very finest, graced with insight, perception, and uncommon intelligence of its singular heroine, in a mystery that will test the mettle of her mind and heart This entire series is FAB The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time Each mystery could have occurred The research into Jane s personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books Read them ALL and in order I m re This entire series is FAB The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time Each mystery could have occurred The research into Jane s personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books Read them ALL and in order I m re reading them again after a couple of years and it s just as enjoyable almostenjoyable than in the first reading Pull up Google Maps while reading and zoom in on the real landscape, buildings, and cities Much of where she lived and visited is still there again one of the pleasures of the books, fitting into reality of Jane s life and time Jane is up to her neck in murder Stephanie Barron is at her best when she is writing as Jane Austin Jane and her family have just moved to the village of Chawton, and discover in their basement a dead body The neighbors are cold and rude to the Austins making the solving of this murder very difficult, nobody wants to talk Jane also receives a valuable Chinese chest from a love interest who has recently been killed The chest contains all of this man s papers Jane is enjoying reading the let Jane is up to her neck in murder Stephanie Barron is at her best when she is writing as Jane Austin Jane and her family have just moved to the village of Chawton, and discover in their basement a dead body The neighbors are cold and rude to the Austins making the solving of this murder very difficult, nobody wants to talk Jane also receives a valuable Chinese chest from a love interest who has recently been killed The chest contains all of this man s papers Jane is enjoying reading the letters when the chest is stolen Is the theft of this chest involved in the murder Tragically there is another murder Jane is going to have to work fast to solve the murders before someone else is killed I found the rather closed setting of this one, the Austen women closeted away in Chawton, very appealing, especially after the international intrigue of the previous book Barron excels at the country village setting, imo I also liked seeing Jane as the master of her own time Not at the behest of a friend, nor in a busy city, just sort of solitary and directing her own actions in the rural village The plot the stolen chest, the fabled rubies was a bit hokey, though, and I felt the mystery I found the rather closed setting of this one, the Austen women closeted away in Chawton, very appealing, especially after the international intrigue of the previous book Barron excels at the country village setting, imo I also liked seeing Jane as the master of her own time Not at the behest of a friend, nor in a busy city, just sort of solitary and directing her own actions in the rural village The plot the stolen chest, the fabled rubies was a bit hokey, though, and I felt the mystery, when revealed, was kind of a let down I m torn, the experience of reading was definitely 5 5, but in hindsight, thinking about it as a whole, maybe 3 5