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DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL by Joanna Campbell Slan

DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-425-24774-7
Publisher: Berkley

A cry of distress from a schoolgirl takes Jane Eyre Rochester far from her sheltered life.

Edward Rochester is still suffering health problems from the fire that destroyed Thornfield Hall. In the meantime, Edward and Jane have married, have recently had a son, and are living in the family hunting lodge until a new home can be built. When a letter arrives from Edward’s ward, Adèle Varens, covertly asking for help, Jane goes to London to see what is amiss at Alderton House, Adèle’s boarding school. During the trip, Jane is attacked and the Rochester diamonds stolen. Once in London, Jane stays with Lucy Brayton, a fashionable family friend who plans to improve Jane’s timid image. Arriving at Adèle’s school, Jane finds that a girl has been murdered, and the hysterical Adèle, who found the body, has been drugged. Mistaken for the new German teacher, Jane decides to stay when Nan Miller, an old friend who teaches at Alderton House and remembers Jane as an orphan waif, asks for her help. The young woman who was murdered was a beauty with a nasty disposition who was cordially disliked by all. In the course of a Bow Street Runner’s investigation, Jane learns that there are connections to royalty that must be suppressed. Although Jane may seem meek, the formidable intelligence behind her demure exterior stands her in good stead as she attempts to uncover a murderer.

In a radical departure from her scrapbooking series (Ready, Scrap, Shoot, 2012, etc.), Slan refashions a beloved heroine as a surprisingly canny detective. Her stylistic imitation of Charlotte Brontë is seasoned with a dash of social commentary and plenty of suspects to mull over.