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Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss…
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Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent (Dido Kent Mysteries) (edition 2010)

by Anna Dean

Series: Dido Kent (1)

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4093060,650 (3.68)46
Visiting Bellfield Hall to comfort her niece, who has been seemingly abandoned by her wealthy fiancé, Miss Dido Kent investigates the possibly related death of a young woman, a situation that is complicated by surprising secrets.
Member:aarti
Title:Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent (Dido Kent Mysteries)
Authors:Anna Dean
Info:Minotaur Books (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:19th Century, England, Georgian/Regency, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Publisher, 2010

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A Moment of Silence by Anna Dean

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» See also 46 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Easy, fast reading. Miss Kent is kind of a re-invented Jane Austen, even down to the details of her life: she's a spinster supported by an allowance from her wealthier brothers, she has a motherless niece that looks to her for a certain amount of advice, and while traveling she corresponds with her sister back home.

The dialogue and vocabulary seem spot-on for the time period. I am pretty impressed by this author's grasp of the Austen-like voice. The rest of the books in this series are good, too; I wish the author would write more! ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
2.5 stars

Meh. The mystery was suitably interesting and Dean has a nice command of Regency language. But I felt at a remove from the characters and as though I was being told, not shown. I didn't really disappear into the story at any point, nor did I think about the book when I wasn't reading it. I love the idea of a Regency spinster solving mysteries by being nice to servants and paying attention to what's going on around her, but the execution was lacking. ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
When her niece Catherine's betrothal hits a strange snag, Dido Kent finds herself among a house party full of secrets. Where has Catherine's fiancé gone? What can explain the curious behavior of certain other members of the party? And who shot the unidentified woman who was found dead in the shrubbery?

There's a lot to like about this historical mystery. The writing is good, with plenty of clues and hints (I figured out at least some of the plot twists a little ahead of our protagonist) and red herrings. And, unlike some historical mysteries I've read recently, Dido reads as an authentic Georgian spinster, not a modern woman inserted into an historical setting. There's one sub-plot where every modern reader knows exactly what's going on, but Dido has no clue -- and yet, she still manages to deal with the situation effectively. Like I said, good writing. I did find Dido a little bit cold and calculating, but that's true of many fictitious detectives. Sherlock Holmes, for instance, is not exactly cuddly. So, if you enjoy historical mysteries, I'd recommend this one. I'll probably continue with the series sooner or later. ( )
  foggidawn | Aug 2, 2018 |
A truly excellent novel which we cannot rate too highly. An entertaining mix of a smidgen of a Georgette Heyer Regency Romance cum complex Georgette Heyer murder mystery BUT with the strong addition of Jane Austen barbed wit and sensibilities.

Having read all four I am sure they are destined to become classics. ( )
  dieseltaylor | May 4, 2018 |
Enjoyable heroine caught within the bounds of her society and class, quietly observing, finally solving a mystery. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Attention Janeites and fans of cozy mysteries: This is going to be good.

In 1805, Miss Dido Kent is summoned to Bellfield Hall to comfort her niece Catherine, whose fiancé has mysteriously disappeared from his own engagement party. Shortly after his disappearance, the body of a young woman is found on the grounds. Coincidence? Catherine is certain her clever aunt can reunite her with her beloved, but as Dido observes his family and their guests and uncovers gossip in the nearby village, she’s increasingly convinced that a reunion is not for the best. As Dido comes closer to the truth, her own safety may be in danger as well.

Bellfield Hall by Anna Dean is rich in period detail, transporting the reader to a different time where a visit to a draper’s shop or a walk down the portrait gallery in a manor house reveals many secrets. The relations between the different social classes are complex and through Dido’s discerning eye we travel upstairs and downstairs, inside the house and out in the village, making the necessary connections to solve the mystery.

 
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Dedication
For Peter, with love.
First words
My dear Eliza,

I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last.
Quotations
[excerpt about Sir Edgar and Lady Montague from Miss Dido Kent's 9/25/1805 letter to her sister, Eliza]

Altogether, I think it is the novelty of the event which distresses him more than anything else; if only his ancestors - those innumerable previous Sir Edgars who stare at one from dark portraits in every conceivable corner of this house - had suffered the shock before him, then dead women in shrubberies would be a family tradition and hold no horrors for him at all. Meanwhile, her ladyship sits upon her sofa and wrings her hands and declares that 'one does not know what to think', hoping, I suppose, that someone will tell her what to think and so save her the trouble of forming an opinion of her own.
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Published in the United States in 2010 as: Bellfield Hall
Originally published in London as: A Moment of Silence (2008).
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Visiting Bellfield Hall to comfort her niece, who has been seemingly abandoned by her wealthy fiancé, Miss Dido Kent investigates the possibly related death of a young woman, a situation that is complicated by surprising secrets.

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