Death Of A Schoolgirl
Joanna Campbell Slan
Berkley Prime Crime, Aug 7 2012, $15.00
In 1829 in Ferndean Manor in Yorkshire, Jane nee Eyre and Edward Rochester are married and raising their baby Ned. However, Jane and Edward become concerned when Rochester’s ward Adele Varens sends a letter begging for help in French that also includes a note threatening the child. Because of his eye injury flaring up (caused by his late first wife’s arson of Thornfield Hall), Rochester will travel in a few days but Jane immediately heads to London.
She has never been to the big city before and has doubts leaving behind her spouse and their six months old infant, but Jane needs to know the child, whom she was governess to, is safe. On the way she is robbed but makes it to family friend Lucy Brayton. At the school, Jane learns that another student Selina Biltmore recently died. Deciding to investigate the suspicious death by taking advantage of the superintendent’s belief she is a teacher, Jane obtains a teaching position, but her efforts to find the motive leads to much of the school wanting obnoxious Selina dead.
The first Jane Eyre Chronicles captures the essences of Jane and Rochester as Charlotte Bronte had written though changes have occurred to their lives with the arrival of Ned. Jane remains diligent as she protects those she loves like Adele. The mystery is entertaining fun, but it is what happened to Jane and Rochester since the classic ended that sub-genre fans will enjoy.