Reviewed by Francine.
Make no mistake, this is a Jane Austen follow-on novel. Subsequently, if you’ve ever wondered what happened to Miss Jane Fairfax, the rather reserved young lady from Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” – then look no further. Jane is now Mrs. Frank Churchill, and finds herself suddenly widowed in strange circumstances. Worse, soon embroiled in the dark seedy world of criminals, she meets and supports a young woman one wouldn’t ordinarily sup tea with whilst in polite company. What is more, with her life seemingly under threat from unknowns, Jane places her life and that of a child in the hands of a decidedly affable Bow Street Runner.
Caleb Armitage is a man well accustomed to the dark netherworld of crime, and duly packs a punch in the name of the law, more so when protecting a true lady from hard-nosed criminals. Needless to say, this novel has the ubiquitous twists and turns one would expect from a crime novel, and of course, the conclusion, although not wholly unexpected, it does shed light on Jane as a woman of inner steel in the face of adversity. Ah, but did we not see a glimmer of that within the novel Emma, when Emma herself looked upon Miss Jane Fairfax as a competitor for Mr. Knightley’s affections? Miss Fairfax smiled sweetly back then, and likewise in this, her own story, she carries on as though nothing untoward had occurred even when all the odds are stacked against a happy conclusion. Death of a Fop is a delightful and entertaining read.