Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day / Tuesday, November 27, 2012 / “Death of a Schoolgirl” by Joanna Campbell Slan / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan.

"Death of a Schoolgirl" by Joanna Campbell Slan

Who would have thought Jane Eyre was such an excellent detective?

Why Clay Stafford chose this book:

Joanna Campbell Slan’s new historical series stars Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

“Death of a Schoolgirl,” the first in this historical cozy series, picks up where the classic leaves off. I’m not big on coming-of-age stories (which the original was) and found this definitely more interesting. However, it does pick up where the original story stops, so fans of Jane Eyre will happily devour this, especially since Slan has captured the original voice of Bronte. From the first page, this story quickly pulls you in and Slan wastes no time getting into the meat. I never thought I would read about Jane Eyre getting beaten by thugs, but it does happen. (Beats her fainting on the doorstep of the River’s in the original.)

Jane’s former pupil Adele Varens sends a plea to Jane to come and help. What is at first believed to be a natural death becomes a murder investigation. Slan, best known for her Kiki Lowenstein books, plays fair, dropping clues throughout the novel as to the identity of the killer, but is successful in concealing them until the very end. She’s done an incredible job with the plotting within, what I would consider, to be a character driven novel. One book, the best of both worlds, led by a strong proactive heroine.

It’s always tough to take on an established literary figure. There is always going to be fall-out from devotees. However, I think Slan has done a great job in not only capturing Bronte’s voice, but “Death of a Schoolgirl” is also an excellent example of how to effectively and successfully take on a beloved literary figure.

Whether you’ve read the original or not (whether you like the original or not), if you like historical cozies and light murder, you will enjoy this book. This is a great new series in the making and an incredibly fresh story.

From Amazon:

“In her classic tale, Charlotte Bronte introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Bronte left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…

Jane can’t help but fret when a letter arrives from Adele Varens – Rochester’s ward, currently at boarding school – warning that the girl’s life is in jeopardy. Although it means leaving her young son and invalid husband, and despite never having been to a city of any size, Jane feels strongly compelled to go to London to ensure Adele’s safety.

But almost from the beginning, Jane’s travels don’t go as planned – she is knocked about and robbed, and no one believes that the plain, unassuming Jane could indeed be the wife of a gentleman; even the school superintendent takes her for an errant new teacher. But most shocking to Jane is the discovery that Adele’s schoolmate has recently passed away under very suspicious circumstances, yet no one appears overly concerned. Taking advantage of the situation, Jane decides to pose as the missing instructor – and soon uncovers several unsavory secrets, which may very well make her the killer’s next target…”

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join our Facebook Killer Nashville group page or our blog and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville

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About Clay Stafford

Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker (www.ClayStafford.com) and founder of Killer Nashville (www.KillerNashville.com). As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” (www.OneOfTheMiracles.com) and the music CD “XO” (www.JefferyDeaverXOMusic.com). A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
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