Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bellfield Hall (A Dido Kent Mystery, #1)” as Want to Read:
Bellfield Hall (A Dido Kent Mystery, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bellfield Hall (Dido Kent #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  1,876 Ratings  ·  320 Reviews

1805. An engagement party is taking place for Mr Richard Montague, son of wealthy landowner Sir Edgar Montague, and his fiancee Catherine. During a dance with his beloved, a strange thing happens: a man appears at Richard's shoulder and appears to communicate something to him without saying a word. Instantly breaking off the engagement, he rushes off to speak to his fathe
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published August 5th 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bellfield Hall, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bellfield Hall

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star
This was on my paperbackswap wishlist (I don't remember why); it became available, and I pounced. While still in a sort of "I don't care, there's too much crap going on for me to not just read what I want to read" mood I firmly ignored all the Netgalley books clamoring on the sidelines, picked this off the upper slopes of Mount TBR, and settled in.

I loved it from the start. I was a little afraid at first – the Regency period spinster aunt swooping in to Detect felt like a mish-mash of various s
First Sentence: My dear Eliza, I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last.

Catherine Kent is engaged to Richard Montague. During a special ball at Betsfield Hall, Richard reacts strongly to a red-headed man and then disappears. Catherine’s father sends for his spinster sister, Miss Dido Kent. The same day Dido arrives, the body of a murdered woman is found under a hedge on the property and Dido decides it’s up to her to discover the killer.

Ms. Dean’s wri
Jan 04, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
It was a quick, easy read, but I cannot rate it higher for a few reasons--which I will get to later in the review.

Dido Kent, spinster, is called upon by her brother to aid her niece whose fiance has had an abrupt change of heart about their upcoming nuptials, and has fled. On the day Dido arrives, a woman is found murdered in the shrubbery of the house. Are the two events connected? Dido is determined to find out.

I actually liked the author's writing style, and the mystery, while easy to figure
Ana T.
May 05, 2010 Ana T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Dido Kent is a spinster, she never married but she comes from a big family and her brothers occasionally ask for her help when dealing with their children. She has a special fondness for her niece Catherine who lived with her for a while when she was a young child and when she asks for her help Dido runs to her side.

Catherine had just become engaged when, during the celebratory ball at his parent’s estate, Bellfield Hall, the fiancé is approached by a mysterious man who, without a word bei
Jul 13, 2016 bookme4life rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Charles Finch and Tasha Alexander; Fans of cozy mysteries

Reflecting back on this book, I would hold to my earlier assertion that it's a bit like Miss Marple in Jane Austen's world. Her curiosity and propensity to gently meddle are worthy of Miss Marple. Her niece describes her as casting a satirical eye on others -- I rather wished for a bit more of that from her, but I supposed what I was really craving was Jane Austen's wit.

Anna Dean spreads out the clues such that an attentive reader will have the satisfaction of guessing much of the myst
Miss Dido Kent, respectable spinster, has been asked to Bellfield Hall by her niece Catherine, who wants her aunt to figure out a few things. Mainly, where her fiance Richard Montague has disappeared to and why he broke their engagement after a wordless exchange with a mysterious man. Dido also wants to figure out who the dead woman in the shrubbery is. So she begins to ask questions and unravels the secrets of the guests and inhabitants of Bellfield Hall one by one.

The author seems to have bas
1.5 stars
Meh. This book is a strange combination of irritating historical prejudices and modern references. Dido (merely a woman and a spinster at that!) throws herself around bemoaning her own denseness (well...she is quite dense) and lack of accomplishments (alas, she is a spinster aunt, sharp tongued and bad at math!) Yet at the same time she is kind to the servants and somehow able to wiggle out information from everyone. She's nosy and although that is a proper attribute for a detective, it
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
How refreshing to find an Austenite writer who can actually handle the Regency idiom properly! I thoroughly enjoyed this Austen-meets-Marple mystery, in which the murder is not the main puzzle. Who is the mystery corpse? Where did she come from, and how on earth did she end up in Sir Edgar's shrubbery? Why, when and how was she killed? More important (to Miss Kent and her niece)--did Richard Montague have anything to do with her death? And if not, why did he leave the house on the very evening o ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency
This novel was brilliantly written! Every time I thought I had it figured out, a plot twist had me stymied. I didn't figure everything out until Dido herself explained it all in full, starting about 10 pages from the end of the book.
I loved that the story began after the major events mentioned in the synopsis have already transpired, so that- after a brief explanation of what has happened- you jump right into the mysterious search for answers right from the get-go.
I've read many reviews that me
Jul 22, 2015 Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, mystery
I hadn't heard anything about this book series until Goodreads showed it to me (that's beginning to be the story of my reading life, haha) but, while it was a "secular" adult book- something I usually avoid simply because I don't like a lot of "content" in my novels- there wasn't anything in the reviews I saw to raise any red flags, so I decided to try it.

What a delightfully written book! It was interesting- with a solid mystery I didn't solve beforehand- and while there were many of the topics
Eustacia Tan
Jun 26, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I actually finished this book quite a long time ago, but for some reason, I forgot to review it (._.)" But anyway, here it is~

Bellfield hall (subtitle: Or, The Deductions of Miss Dido Kent) reminds me of Jane Austen. Or at least, Miss Dido reminds me of Jane Austen - an "old" intelligent spinster. The world the novel inhabits is very much like a Jane Austen novel, which means it's "gentle".

Well, except for the murder. The murder sounds gruesome, although there isn't any violence. Even the descri
Jan 13, 2011 Maya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pros: Really liked the main character, written in first person, her strengths (scary smart and acting with best of intentions) and weaknesses (at times not only judgemental but feeling justified in acting upon that judgement, at times being just as patronizing to younger women as she feels and is irritated by men acting patronizing toward her as a spinster woman) were believable and made her seem genuine. I wasn't able to predict the outcome, and the author does a good job of keeping the reader ...more
I enjoyed this first novel with Miss Dido Kent investigating the goings on at Bellfield Hall where her young niece has been left by her fiancé with nothing more than a cryptic excuse for his departure.

I liked the clever narration that incorporated Miss Kent's letters to her sister so that we could have her first person perspective alternating with the third person narration. There are some very heavy issues that are addressed in this mystery but they are dealt with in a fairly light way so that
ilovebakedgoods (Teresa)
Apr 28, 2010 ilovebakedgoods (Teresa) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of mysteries, regency lovers
I read this book in one night. I really enjoyed the fast pace and the characters. It was fun to read a mystery that takes place in 1805, solved by a 'spinster' whose intelligence is apparently a turn-off to most men.

Not going into detail in this review, just wanted to make a short notation of my enjoyment of the book.
This has nothing to do with the mystery but I was transfixed with the mode of communication that was dealt with in the delivery of the story. This was before typewriters and computers so the mc and others would laboriously write letters with ink, sand, blotters in great detail. And I'm talking about lengthy letters that would probably take hours on end to complete. And forget about erasers! This detail alone should warrant a star of its own.

Now for the actual novel. Miss Dido Kent (mc) was a mix
May 05, 2012 Marfita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: period-mystery
Dido, run, do not walk, run from this guy with the grasping, spendthrift son. The apple falls not far from the treeeee! And even if the dad is okay, you're still stuck with the son coming home, harassed by creditors, shamed by society, and probably scheming to get what little money is left.
This is a book for Jane Austin fans, a story set in a big manor house with secrets(tm) and engagements gone awry.
Miss Dido is invited to stay with her niece, who is upset by the disappearance of her fiance,
Barb in Maryland
I am of two minds about this book. One one side, the writing was good, the style of the book (first person letters and third person narrative)was interesting. However, the mystery was very thin.
Our heroine, Dido Kent, joins a house party at Bellfield Hall to comfort her niece, whose fiance Richard ,a son of the house, has rather abruptly severed their engagement. The morning after Dido's arrival the body of a young woman is found on the grounds of the estate. Hmmm, what did Richard's disappeara
Talulah Mankiller
Apr 22, 2010 Talulah Mankiller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miss Dido Kent, spinster and aunt extraordinaire, rushes to her niece Catherine’s side when Catherine’s fiance abruptly breaks off their engagement in the middle of their engagement ball. Catherine refuses to accept that her man is gone, and begs Dido to figure out what the eff is up. Shenanigans ensue.

I liked this. I think the first half dragged a bit–as evidenced by the fact that I was able to summarily abandon it in favor of The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patr
Aug 30, 2013 Alyssa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
I think this delightful Regency-era novel was the first mystery novel that I have read, at least that I can recall. And it was a very pleasant treat. :) The storyline definitely drew you in to the book as the mystery developed. However, there were a few faults I found with the book - for instance, for some reason, the Regency-era references felt a bit forced, as if the author were trying too hard to make the book feel "authentic." Maybe I'm just being nit-picky, but I did feel that parts of the ...more
Mar 04, 2010 Aarti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bellfield Hall is an English country home murder mystery set during the Georgian era. Miss Dido Kent arrives at the hall after her niece summons her there- she soon finds out that not only has her beloved niece's fiancee called off their engagement, but also that a woman no one knows has been murdered in the shrubbery. Dido promises to help her niece discover why her fiancee so abruptly called off their marriage, and in the meantime, she does some of her own sleuthing on the murder.

I enjoyed thi
A MOMENT OF SILENCE (Hist Mys/Ama. Sleuth-Dido Kent-England-1805) - Ex
Dean, Anna – 1st book
Allison & Busby, 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780749079109

First Sentence: My dear Eliza, I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last.

Catherine Kent is engaged to Richard Montague. During a special ball at Betsfield Hall, Richard reacts strongly to a red-headed man and then disappears.

Catherine’s father sends for his spinster sister, Miss Dido Kent. The same day
Feb 22, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2010 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Moment of Silence is an entertaining murder mystery set in the early 19th century. It's the first in a series of novels featuring the wonderful Miss Dido Kent.

The story begins when Dido is summoned to Belsfield Hall, the country estate of the Montague family. Her niece Catherine is engaged to Sir Montague's son Richard - who has mysteriously disappeared during their engagement party. Dido agrees to help Catherine solve the mystery behind Richard's disappearance, but events soon take a more sin
A very light regency mystery (not like Julian Kestrel or the Jane Austen Mysteries, but a nice complement) starring Miss Dido Kent. Dido is summoned to the country house of the future parents of her niece, who fears her engagement is falling apart. The mystery involves a young woman found dead as well as the strange behavior of the besotted fiance. Lots of regency detail, especially some interesting bits about clothing (which sucked ME right in) and an okay solution, although a few more early cl ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Laurel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Something about this book missed the mark for me. For one thing, there were way too many characters to keep track of. Dean jumps into the story and the character's lives without giving much of an explanation. I felt like I was reading book #2 of a series, not book 1, and should already know who I was reading about. It was confusing. Besides all the characters, there was just way too much going on. The main mystery was mildly entertaining, nothing earth shattering, and all the other side stories ...more
Deborah Swift
Oct 21, 2010 Deborah Swift rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Also published in the US as "Belfield Hall",this is a very clever and entertaining book which starts with a body in the shrubbery and then piles on layers of mystery for the reader to solve. Or rather, the reader follows breathlessly behind the delightfully astute Dido Kent, a Regency lady sleuth, who gently teases the truth from the clues. An excellently-crafted novel with all the atmosphere and wit of classic Jane Austen,I loved the wickedly observant Dido Kent and will be over to the bookstor ...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 09, 2016 Roman Clodia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an utterly delightful novel sure to engage fans of Jane Austen, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, or anyone who enjoys good writing.

Set in 1805, it takes a Jane Austen-alike plot (particularly, perhaps, Mansfield Park) and mixes it up with a murder mystery in a country house, complete with assortment of diverse characters. Why has Catherine's recent fiance, Richard Montague, suddenly broken off their engagement and disappeared? Who is the mysterious woman found shot in the shrubbery? What i
Juniper Shore
This is about as cozy a mystery as you can get without tea and crumpets. Dido Kent's world is so upper-crust it's practically toast. These people not only extend their pinkies when drinking, they hire servants to hold up all ten fingers at the same time.

And therein lies the problem with this book. The plot is reasonable enough, if a bit predictable, but the characters have no fire. Everything is utterly genteel. Much of Kent's reasoning turns on the fact that various gentlemen vouch for one anot
Miss Dido Kent arrives at Bellfield Hall to find her niece's engagement possibly broken and the house in a tizzy because her niece's fiance, the heir to the house, has left abruptly. Oh, and there's a dead lady in the shrubbery. Dido sets out to solve both mysteries.

Kinda eh, to be honest. The mystery was good, and I genuinely did not see the twist coming, but I'm not sure if that's because the author didn't set it up well enough or because I was thinking about something else, the way that Dido
Jun 17, 2015 Eimear rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a link to my blog, An Abundance of Novels , for more reviews.

A Moment of Silence is a murder mystery in the vein of a Jane Austen novel, following Miss Dido Kent , a ‘spinster’ detective.

In this novel, Dean answers the question of what would happen if Jane Austen had turned her hand to solving murders instead of writing novels. It turns out, that if she had been anything like Dido Kent, she would have been quite good at it. I feel that it’s a safe bet to make that Dido, a remarkably cl
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
possible error 1 8 Sep 16, 2014 09:58AM  
  • The Gilded Shroud (A Lady Fan Mystery #1)
  • Cut to the Quick (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #1)
  • Death Comes to the Village (Kurland St. Mary Mystery, #1)
  • A Dissection of Murder (Dr Dody McCleland, #1)
  • The Companion (Lizzie Martin, #1)
  • Million Dollar Baby (A Marjorie McClelland Mystery, #1)
  • Murder at Longbourn (An Elizabeth Parker Mystery, #1)
  • After the Armistice Ball (Dandy Gilver, #1)
  • A Grave Matter (Lady Darby, #3)
  • The Rhetoric of Death
  • Indiscretion
  • Miss Dimple Disappears (Miss Dimple Kilpatrick #1)
  • India Black (Madam of Espionage, #1)
  • Sweet Revenge (A Lady Arianna Regency Mystery, #1)
  • Dying In the Wool (Kate Shackleton, #1)
  • What Remains of Heaven (Sebastian St. Cyr, #5)
  • Murder on the Lusitania (George Porter Dillman & Genevieve Masefield, #1)
  • Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)
Anna Dean was born in Cumberland (now part of Cumbria) in England in 1956. She moved to the Midlands as a child but as she grew older she became determined to return to the Lake District and, after a few years living in Wales, she moved back to Cumbria in 1984. She lives near Ambleside with her husband.

Dean has worked as an assistant to a psychologist; she has worked for the National Trust; she ha
More about Anna Dean...

Other Books in the Series

Dido Kent (4 books)
  • A Gentleman of Fortune (A Dido Kent Mystery #2)
  • A Woman of Consequence (A Dido Kent Mystery, #3)
  • A Place of Confinement (A Dido Kent Mystery, #4)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“It was, of course, a great failure in a woman's life - to never have achieved even a doomed and unsuccessful love. But she was not quite sure whether she had failed or not.

When she was young there had been moments, of course. But those moments had never amounted to much more than a little fever of admiration - a little flutter and agitation in a ballroom - so slight a feeling that the cautious Dido had never considered it a secure foundation for a lifetime of living together. And then, sooner or later, she had always made and odd remark, or laughed at the wrong moment, and the young men became alarmed or angry - and the flutter and the agitation all turned to irritation.

Dido could laugh and gossip about love as well as any woman but, deep down, she suspected that she had not the knack of falling into it.”
More quotes…