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Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (Jane Austen Mysteries #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  4,380 Ratings  ·  532 Reviews
For everyone who loves Jane Austen...a marvelously entertaining new series that turns the incomparable author into an extraordinary sleuth!

On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel's husband—a gentleman of mature years—is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 1st 1996 by Crimeline (first published 1996)
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Jan 29, 2014 kris rated it it was ok
Jane Austen, having recently refused Mr. Biggs-Whiter (24 hours after accepting him), goes to visit a "dearest friend", the Countess of Scargrave. While celebrating her friend's marriage, the Earl of Scargrave DIES. Followed a few days later by the Countess's maid. And everyone knows what that means: JANE AUSTEN, ON THE CASE.

1. omg wtf this book.

2. There's an intro chapter that tries to introduce the idea that in a locked trunk in someone's attic are all the missing papers of Jane Austen's lif
Mar 21, 2007 Cathy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: girl-lit geeks
This series of fictional mysteries solved by Jane Austen are charming and witty and a whole lot of fun for people who can't get enough Jane Austen. You need a healthy dose of girl-geekness to love these, but luckily I have plenty to spare. Usually I dislike mysteries, but these have enough Austen flair to gloss over the fact that they're all whodunnits.
Dec 21, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor- Jane Austen Mysteries # 1 by Stephanie Barron is a 1996 Crimeline publication.

Although I am a big fan of Jane Austen, I have steadfastly avoided all novels that feature the author as a sleuth or any other sort of fictional character. However, I picked one of these mysteries up at a library sale, thinking that for fifty cents I could at least give it a try.

As fate would have it, the book I picked up was the third book in the series. Hoping against
Linda Aull
Nov 16, 2008 Linda Aull rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteryormurder
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was well-written and fast-paced, with lots of lovely Georgian detail about dress, manners, and events. The footnotes explain some of the more arcane terms. I will probably end up reading all of these novels in which Jane Austen herself turns sleuth.

So, why the 3-star review?

In short, the character of Jane does not ring true with what is known of the real Jane's relatively quiet life. In one scene, the reader is told that an assembly of the Lords was a once
Jan 13, 2017 Catsalive rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-tbr, 2017
Ponderous, cumbersome, slow-witted. This is not Miss Austen. Barron has given it a go but, like most others, she has failed. There were a couple of passages that almost showed an Austen-like crispness & amusement, but they were few & far between. The Jane Austen in these pages showed very little in the way of wit & perspicacity. None of the characters showed much merit, particularly Isobel - ugh!

I have to agree with Kris' review, except for the wanting to read the next one. I'll have
Jul 13, 2013 QNPoohBear rated it really liked it
Miss Jane Austen, spinster, of Bath is visiting her dear friend Isobel, the new Countess of Scargrave during the holiday season. Jane looks forward to enjoying a holiday house party celebrating her friend's recent nuptials to the older Earl of Scargrave, only something is amiss. Isobel seems unhappy. She is being pestered to sell her land in the West Indies to Lord Harold Towbridge, a disreputable seeming character. Lord Scargrave's haughty heir, Lord Fitzroy Payne, looks at Isobel in a very un- ...more
Jan 15, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, regency
Jane Austen solves mysteries! The first half is very stilted and badly written. The author is clearly nervous and uncomfortable writing Regency-era dialog. The characters are boring cliches. Everyone compliments Austen on her wit, but she never said anything remotely clever. In the second half, Austen races around London trying to solve a murder mystery. Unfortunately, it's a stupid murder and an even stupider murderer (upon being caught, the person actually rants about how they'd have gotten aw ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Alison rated it did not like it
Definitely not my favorite book at all. I think it's ridiculous the author takes Jane Austen and turns her into the character of a mystery novel, all the while trying to write as if she was Jane Austen. The effort falls flat on its face - it would have been better if she would have created her own character, instead of suffocating the book in I-wish-I-could-write-like-Austen prose. It should be illegal to take anything from Jane Austen - whether it be her characters or herself - and turn it in t ...more
Jan 18, 2009 Kristen rated it liked it
I think the later volumes are of a slightly higher quality than the first two (this one being the first). There is not as much depth to Jane here, which does make sense considering her acquaintance with mystery and violent death only begins with this book. But it is delightful to see her encounter Lord Harold first as an antagonist here (since I read later volumes first, it was quite entertaining).
Sep 25, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, mystery
Romanzo davvero gustoso, il primo di una serie che vede Jane Austen protagonista di vari "gialli". Non posso dire che la trama gialla mi abbia appassionato in particolar modo, ma qualsiasi pecca è stata riscattata dall'ambientazione e dalla splendida scrittura di questo romanzo. Ora non rimane che recuperare il successivo!
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Good mystery element - but attempting to write in the voice of Jane Austen is ... ambitious.
Ana T.
Jul 08, 2008 Ana T. rated it liked it
On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel's husband—a gentleman of mature years—is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl's death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. Yet the bereaved widow soon finds that it's only the beginning of her she receives a sinister missive accusing her and the Earl's nephew of adultery—and murder. Desperately afraid th ...more
Carole (in Canada)
Feb 03, 2017 Carole (in Canada) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: JAFF, Mystery
Shelves: favorites, mystery
This is the first of the Jane Austen Mystery series and I was very much entertained and delighted with it. I do love a good historical mystery series and I do love Jane Austen, so for me it was a match made in book heaven. Why it has taken me so long to start this series is beyond me!

The basic premise of the book is well explained in the description, however, there is an interesting tidbit not explained. Namely, Jane has accepted and then refused the offer of marriage from Mr. Bigg-Wither of Ma
Nov 28, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a good Jane Austen book, or a good mystery
I must admit that I began Miss Barron’s book feeling a little silly. I’ve been on quite the Jane Austen kick lately, and thought this would be a cute, if not quite satisfying, diversion to patch me through the hours between reading aloud “Pride and Prejudice” with my husband.
I was very pleasantly surprised, then, to find Miss Barron’s book supremely enjoyable. She captures Austen’s voice quite well, and refrains from indulging a modern reimagining of Austen and her contemporaries – there is no
Feb 06, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor is the first in a series of novels that purports to be based on "long lost" Austen journals -- journals where, shockingly enough, Jane is revealed to have an aptitude for solving crimes. Perhaps even more shocking is how well the concept works in Barron's execution of the story. Through novels like Pride and Prejudice and Emma, Austen revealed herself possess a masterful understanding of human nature and all its foibles, and this skill lends itself well to c ...more
Kokila Gupta
Jul 06, 2014 Kokila Gupta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
I would rather spend an hour among the notorious than two minutes with the dull. " -Stephanie Baron from the mouth of Jane Austen.

The quote sets the pace of the book.

The book is a rare one (at the time of buying I was not aware of a full series) as in it the author Jane Austen is the protagonist and her formidable powers of wits, observation,quick analysis and deduction are put to better(?) use then writing Novels of Manners.
Here she is the accidental spy caught in a plot of some one else and s
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Feb 26, 2009 Meredith (Austenesque Reviews) rated it really liked it
Shelves: jane-austen
Stephanie Barron has created a series where Jane Austen, our heroine, gets caught up in continuous mayhem, murder, and mystery. Tthis first book of the series takes place right after Jane accepted and then the next day rejected a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither. And so she leaves their home and instead visits her dear friend of 18 months Countess Isobel Payne at Scargrave Manor. Isobel is newly married and her husband is hosting a ball in her honor. Jane comes to be of support to Isobe ...more
Jul 05, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
I must admit, when I first heard that someone had written a mystery series with Jane Austen as the sleuth, I thought, "How stupid!" I've come across other mysteries with celebrities as sleuths, and had not liked any of them. However, I came across "Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor" and since it was a good price, I bought it. I was surprised by how well written the book was, and how it managed to keep my attention. Usually, if a book doesn't catch my attention right away, I get bore ...more
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
I'm not sure what to think about Jane And The Unpleasantness At Scargrave Manor. I am very much intrigued by the idea of fictional Jane Austen mysteries, and I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, so I definitely wanted to check it out.

What I really liked was how well Barron wrote- all in the style of Jane Austen herself, and there were times where I forgot it was Stephanie Barron writing, and not Jane Austen. That's how well she wrote as Jane Austen. Jane Austen writing and solving mysteries is relati
It is an entertaining read, and the second (middle) part of the book is really exciting, but sometimes Barron tries too hard to imitate the style of Jane Austen, and though the words like 'probity', 'perspicacity', 'equanimity' are truly words of the early nineteenth century fiction discourse, their usage in the Barons novel is a bit too far-fetched, repetitive and slightly artificial.
If anyone is looking at Barron's books as a wonderful example of stylization, my advice is to look elsewhere.
Apr 17, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
My goodness, I enjoyed this book. Though this is the first in the series, it is (due to availability) the third which I have read and I openly admit that I expected to comment about how you can see that these books get better as you get deeper into the series, but that is not necessary- the quality here is just as high as in, for example, book twelve. The only thing I will say changes (for people who may be considering not continuing) is that the connections made between these fictional events a ...more
Jan 08, 2016 ♔Ƙƴℓιє♔ rated it really liked it
Any author who is willing to take on such a challenge as to try to write in the voice and style of another famous author is very brave. I thought that Stephanie did a remarkable job of writing in Jane's tone. She clearly did a whole lot of research when writing the book. At the end of each chapter there are footnotes that explain some of the references she's made throughout the chapter. As I know more than an average person about Jane Austen I felt some of them were a bit obvious. I had mixed f ...more
May 15, 2011 Pylgrym rated it really liked it
In keeping with my current "no gore, guts or getting it on" campaign, I decided to try this series. Enjoyable. I dislike the "found manuscript" ploy. As a recovering scholar unable to ignore footnotes, I found them disrupting and unnecessary. No one picks up anything with Jane's name on it without having been immersed in the period. Most readers have gained sufficient background from her "stepdaughters", Heyer, Veryan and the entire Regency ouevre. The author did an excellant job of imitating Au ...more
Becky Morrette
May 03, 2010 Becky Morrette rated it really liked it
I had this book in my "to read" pile for several months and pulled it out when I saw the group would be reading it. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure what to think at first. And once I let go of all my Ï don't know if Jane would do that" issues, I found it to be well written and had a hard time putting it down (which lead to some late night reading and not so perky next morning at work). She also kept me guessing as to who was th ...more
Laura Hartness
Aug 20, 2014 Laura Hartness rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-i-own
Excellent! It doesn't get much better than this, and is worthy a rare 5-star review from myself. I wanted to read Book 1 in the Being Jane mystery series before continuing with Book 13, and I'm so glad that I did. Stephanie Barron's work is virtually flawless, and has captured the essence of Jane Austen incredibly well. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of this series and eagerly anticipate reading the entire 13-volume set. I only wish I had the time to read 11 titles between now and my review ...more
Oct 01, 2007 Beth rated it it was ok
I was excited by the premise behind this novel - but the telling didn't match the idea. The theory is that some of Jane Austen's personal diaries and letters have been recovered and in them she goes about her normal life but is interrupted by mysteries. Sounds fun - but it was pretty boring. The real author does not create exciting and engaging characters and the mystery is formulaic. I won't be reading anymore in the series.
Mar 29, 2011 Jeni rated it liked it
Shelves: series
Ah, it's almost as if Jane were alive again. I truly enjoyed this Austen-esque mystery set in the early 1800's. The premise of Jane herself getting tangled up in a murder mystery while visiting a friend was quite fun. I would say the mystery itself was not terribly hard to figure out, but the writing was wonderful. Oh, Jane, I miss you! I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. A fairly light, but enjoyable read that Austen fans would probably have fun with.
Sep 05, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it
I found this book on vacation, and am always glad with a new series find; but, while I did somewhat enjoy this book, it is not a series I plan to continue. Just didn't hit the mark for me, and don't really know why. Perhaps it is as one reviewer states, the character is attributed with great wit and there is nothing in the dialogue to prove it. I think I'll stick to Sharon McCrumb, she never fails me. Don't let that stop you though, cause maybe it was just my mood at the time.
Nov 09, 2012 Janell rated it it was ok
My rating wavered back and forth through most of this book. I had a hard time getting past the idea of the main character being Jane Austen. She really seemed out of place in this setting. Plus, for me the "language of Austen" didn't mesh well with the "cozy mystery" concept. It was frustrating to read which made it hard to stay interested in the story.
Aug 14, 2008 Marit rated it it was amazing
I am not a fan usually of murder mysteries and I am always dubious about Jane Austen-esque literature because it's normally quite bad and nowhere rivals Jane Austen. However, these books are exceptional. You believe the books are truly written during the period (even if you disagree, for whatever reason, of Austen's fictional characterization) and the plots are well-spun and not at all hokey.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Stephanie Barron was born Francine Stephanie Barron in Binghamton, NY in 1963, the last of six girls. Her father was a retired general in the Air Force, her mother a beautiful woman who loved to dance. The family spent their summers on Cape Cod, where two of the Barron girls
More about Stephanie Barron...

Other Books in the Series

Jane Austen Mysteries (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Jane and the Man of the Cloth (Jane Austen Mysteries, #2)
  • Jane and the Wandering Eye (Jane Austen Mysteries, #3)
  • Jane and the Genius of the Place (Jane Austen Mysteries, #4)
  • Jane and the Stillroom Maid (Jane Austen Mysteries, #5)
  • Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House (Jane Austen Mysteries, #6)
  • Jane and the Ghosts of Netley (Jane Austen Mysteries, #7)
  • Jane and His Lordship's Legacy (Jane Austen Mysteries, #8)
  • Jane and the Barque of Frailty (Jane Austen Mysteries, #9)
  • Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron (Jane Austen Mysteries, #10)
  • Jane and the Canterbury Tale (Jane Austen Mysteries, #11)

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“There is something so INEVITABLE about seven-and-twenty; it is decidedly on the wrong side of the decade for a lady, particularly an unmarried one.” 15 likes
“...the long blue shadows of afternoon advanced before me like cheerful ghosts of last summer's growth, dancing past the withered flower borders and the stiff hedges to fall at the feet of a stone nymph, her cascade of water frozen in her urn.” 2 likes
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