So I am already deep into my Christmas Pon Farr, where I can really only see and understand Christmas and all those lights and all that sparkliness. And where I can only read mysteries about Christmas.
Luckily, my first Christmas mystery this year is brand new – a Jane Austen mystery (I hadn’t found this series before) called Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, by Stephanie Barron.
An excellent book on so many levels! Just thinking about reading Jane Austen’s writing makes me feel claustrophobic, hemmed in by the conventions of the time. This book, while very faithful to that work, seems to have more movement in it, and more ways that folk have learned to live with and within those conventions.
It is also a terrific mystery, set in the holiday season at ‘the gorgeous ancestral home’ of a prominent English family. Great characters, great descriptions, talk of large matters (Napoleon’s first defeat, John Quincy Adams signing a treaty with the British to end the War of 1812) and small (Jane and her sister going all out for the doll and outfits for their niece).
And the mystery involves all of these facts in various ways – the importance of delaying the treaty’s appearance, the social mores against a ‘natural son’. And that fact that no one could google a last name to find out more about a particular character.
Delicious in a very prim and proper way. And perfect for the Yuletide.