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Jane And The Wandering Eye by Stephanie…
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Jane And The Wandering Eye (edition 1998)

by Stephanie Barron

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487921,072 (3.77)9
Member:lothiriel2003
Title:Jane And The Wandering Eye
Authors:Stephanie Barron
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:historical mystery, Jane Austen, Bath, series, Jane Austen mystery, read2012

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Jane and the Wandering Eye by Stephanie Barron

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3rd book in an interesting series in which Jane Austen herself is the protagonist, solving riddles of intrigue. Made even more amusing by the statement that the series is based on secret writings kept by Jane and supplemented with actual letters, etc. that she did indeed write. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
This is book 3 in the series, and I'm getting a bit tired of the device (Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth). ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 14, 2016 |
Jane Austen, still living in Bath, is invited to a costume ball (our words, it's a rout and fancy dress) with her brother and his wife where a theatre manager is stabbed offstage while an actor is performing a Shakespearean monologue.Found with the murder weapon in hand, the grandson of the dowager whose home and rout this is is arrested and convicted of murder; this is from the prefingerprint and forensic science days when a suspect arrested with evidence was assumed guilty unless proven innocent. Austen once again teams up with her Gentleman Rogue, Lord Harold Trowbridge, from the previous novel in this series, in order to find out who actually committed the murder.

This is still the only Jane Austen spin-off I enjoy enough to read more than once as Stephanie Barron does a good job of voice, style, era, etc. Naturally, the entire Jane-Austen-solves-mysteries is a bit off the wall, but for this Jane Austen puriist, at least it's been fairly well thought out, we don't suddenly have sex every other chapter (not in keeping with Austen's style or the era), there's nothing paranormal, etc. She does push the envelope a bit at times, and it's getting rather formulaic, although genre mysteries often are. I'm not likely to read the next one for some time, and most likely to fill some challenge. However, if you enjoy historical mysteries and haven't read any of these, I quite enjoyed the first one when it was all new to me, and you might like them all. ( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
I had a harder time getting into this book in the series. I feel like the motivation for Jane's involvement with the crime was thin. I was also confused as to the real motivation for the murder because there were too many people involved with the crime. ( )
  annertan | Jul 31, 2014 |
This was the first of the series that I felt was less-solidly built. I think it had a lot to do with its locale. While the first mystery takes place at a manor and the second in a small sea-side community (both mean a small cast of characters and easy-to-follow plots), Jane and the Wandering Eye takes place in Bath (this means a large cast of characters, constantly shifting in and out of town). Well-versed Janeites will know, of course, that Austen hated living in Bath, a trait that she gave her final heroine, Anne Elliot. She missed the country, and it shows in Barron's version of her.

But the cast of this novel is too large. In its scope, it's more like "Law & Order" and less like "Columbo"...not that I don't love "Law & Order," but you know how sometimes they introduce characters at minute 10 and minute 25 (right around introducing the person who actually did it) and by the time you get to their testimony in minute 51, you can't remember who the hell they are? That's how this plot felt. Though the story did deal quite a bit with actors and the theatre, which is something that always makes me perk up a bit (especially on "Law & Order"!) Lord Harold, who appears in the previous two books, is present yet again, but as it is his direction that leads to Austen's involvement in the plot-thickening, as it were, the whole thing seems a little convoluted.

As for the wandering eye of the title, I was kind of hoping it would be about those paintings where the eyes follow you around the room? You know, like the Mona Lisa or those paintings in the Haunted Mansion. But actually it's about eye portraits of the eighteenth century - instead of miniatures of a lover's face or torso (think Wickham's/Darcy's miniatures in Pride & Prejudice), artists would do portraits of just someone's eye in the same size, and then the painting would be set in a locket or a watch or a brooch....seriously, how creepy can we get here?

That's like the eighteenth-century version of creepy Skype-ing. Very digital get down. "Oh, Lord so-and-so I'm so very erotically to always have this painting of your eye close to my heart." Gross. No wonder none Austen's books have crap like that - it's disturbing! I mean, Captain Benwick's miniature likeness being drawn up for Fanny Harville is one thing. That's like keeping a photo of a loved one in your wallet (so I guess his then having the painting re-set and engraved for Louisa Musgrove...that'd be like stealing from someone's wallet...?), but just an eye? Creepy. Barron handles the creepiness tolerably and assigns the owners of such tokens with a decent amount of both validity and eccentricity.

But while she succeeds there, she seems to fail in Lord Harold. Maybe it's the romantic in me, but the stop-and-start of his emotions is too much. Isn't Bath busy enough without the added ruckus? I'm hoping the next novel (Jane and the Genius of the Place is a little less crowded (based on the fact that we're moving chronologically, and the fact that I know Austen lived in Bath until 1805, and on the fact that Wandering Eye takes place in December 1804, I have reason to hope that we may be granted a reprieve from that awful city). ( )
  laurscartelli | Oct 31, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated with love to my sister,
Liz Ferretti-
she of the truest eye
First words
A rout-party, when depicted by a pen more accomplished than my own, is invariably a stupid affair of some two or three hundred souls pressed elbow-to-elbow in the drawing-rooms of the great.
Quotations
"More lives have been ruined — more spirits broken — from a fear of idle gossip and report, than are numbered on Napoleon's battlefields, Miss Austen."
The precarious ground of Camden Place might readily serve as metaphor, for all in mankind that prefer false grandeur to a more stable propriety.
For any man may possess a heart, and the most wounded sensibility, though he parade like a peacock and grin like a monkey.
"I do confess, Lord Harold, that with so much of sorrow to be found in the everyday — tragedies, perhaps, of a smaller scale — I can but wonder that we pay so often for the privilege of enduring it. When I exert my energies towards the theatre, I hope to be transported — to leave such griefs and disappointments behind."
(From Jane and the Wandering Eye p 24)

"when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly. If th' assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease, success; that but this blow-"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553578170, Mass Market Paperback)

It's evident from the opening lines of Jane and the Wandering Eye that author Stephanie Barron knows both her Regency-period England and her Jane Austen. In this novel, the famous author takes center stage and finds herself embroiled in nefarious doings--in this case, the murder of a theater manager. As in the series' other books, Jane herself tells the story through a series of journal entries, and it is in her heroine's voice that Barron's genius comes to light: the same sharp eye for detail and ironic understanding of human character that informed Miss Austen's novels are hard at work in this fictional account of her sideline occupation as a sleuth. Though the mystery at the heart of Jane and the Wandering Eye is hardly a nail-biter, the wonderful mix of fictional and historical characters--all rendered up with Austenian wit--that inhabit this murderous comedy of manners are what will keep readers going to the very last page--and coming back for more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:39 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In 1804 Bath, an eye portrait helps sleuth Jane Austen solve a murder at a masked ball. The miniature--a painting of the eye of a loved one--provides the clue in finding the real killer, thus saving the life of a falsely accused suspect.

(summary from another edition)

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