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BELLFIELD HALL by Anna Dean Kirkus Star

BELLFIELD HALL

By Anna Dean

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-56294-6
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

If Jane Austen had written Miss Marple, she would have been Dido Kent, the inquisitive spinster of Dean’s American debut, first published in England as A Moment of Silence (2008).

When fair young Catherine’s heart is broken by the disappearance of her fiancé, she sends for her dear maiden aunt Dido to console her and find the missing Mr. Richard Montague. Neither Catherine nor Dido can explain why he vanished after their charming time at a ball was interrupted by a brief, silent encounter with an unknown red-haired gentleman. Even more shocking than Mr. Montague’s absence is the discovery of a dead body in the shrubbery. A young woman has been shot, and no one seems to know who she is. Neither the languorous lady of the house, nor the insipid Misses Harris, nor their feckless suitor Tom Lomax is inclined to investigate, and Sir Edgar Montague is more concerned with family honor than justice. So Dido turns her hand to both puzzles, trading the servants’ kindnesses for information and keeping a sharp eye out for the small inconsistencies in the cut of a gown or the placement of a painting that gradually reveal the truth. While some parts of the two puzzles seem obvious at first, the plot is fraught with clever red herrings that are resolved into an unexpected yet tidy and deeply satisfying conclusion.

A classic English country-house whodunit with a Regency setting that will delight Austen fans and mystery connoisseurs alike.