Three years after news of her scandalous husband’s death, Adelaide Fiske is at the altar again, her groom a soldier on the Marquis of Wellington’s staff. The prospects seem bright for one of the most notorious women in Kent—until Jane Austen discovers a corpse on the ancient Pilgrim’s Way that runs through her brother Edward’s estate. As First Magistrate for Canterbury, Edward is forced to investigate, with Jane as his reluctant assistant. But she rises to the challenge and leaves no stone unturned, discovering mysteries deeper than she could have anticipated. It seems that Adelaide’s previous husband has returned for the new couple’s nuptials—only this time, genuinely, profoundly dead. But when a second corpse appears beside the ancient Pilgrim’s Way, Jane has no choice but to confront a murderer, lest the next corpse be her own.
Set in 1813, Barron's excellent 11th Jane Austen mystery (after 2010's Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron) takes Jane to Kent for a lengthy stay with her brother Edward at his estate. When the body of a man, shot in the chest, is found on the Pilgrim's Way that dates to Chaucer's time, Edward, as first magistrate for the area, must investigate. Fortunately, he has his keenly observant sister to assist. As the case progresses, Edward fears that it may be "my duty to hang one of my friends before very long." Janeites will be pleased to see that Barron highlights the Austen family dynamics rather than the peccadilloes of the Regency's most privileged stratum, as she did in the previous two installments. They'll also enjoy tracing the parallels between the many distinctive characters and the inspiration for them in Austen's originals.