Review: A Place of Confinement by Miss Anna Dean

A Place of Confinement or, The examinations of Miss Dido Kent

By Miss Anna Dean

Allison and Busby
2012

The forth book in The Dido Kent Series finds Dido, the 36 year old spinster, sent off to be companion to her Aunt Manners, for the crime of refusing to marry a widowed rector and his pew and a half of children. Aunt Manners is very wealthy and her nieces and nephews are desperate for her good will.

Arriving at Mrs. Manners family home, Charcombe Manor, they find that another guest, the wealthy Miss Verney, has disappeared. Mr Tom Lomax, an acquaintance of Dido’s is considered the guilty party but swears he is not. For the sake of his father, Mr Lomax, a dear friend who would be more if he could persuade Dido to it, she undertakes to investigate the matter. When a man is murdered it becomes imperative that the truth is known, for more that Tom Lomax’s life is in the balance.

Everyone has their secrets and Miss Dido Kent will know them, in the pursuit of truth and justice, and to find the missing young lady. What emerges from the investigations of the active, intelligent and argumentative Miss Kent, will upset all around her, dig up a secret thirty years forgotten, bring a proposal and an engagement and a massive reconsideration of the characters of those Dido believes she knows well.

I do like the Dido Kent books. She is an engaging, intelligent character who has flaws and admits to them. She is aware of her lack of ‘femininity’ and her lack of freedom in her position as a dependant sister; she is ashamed of being a pawn in her sister-in-laws manoeuvres to gain a fortune but independent enough not to be bullied in to a loveless marriage by her.

Anna Dean is an amusing writer, her plots are well constructed and characters believable. Her understanding of human nature is exquisite, as is her understanding of the structure of a good regency novel and how to mess with it. I do like a good mystery, and a regency novel. So, of course I like this book. And I sympathise with Dido; no one likes being a poor, dependant middle-aged spinster, now or 200 years ago.

Bye for now,

Rose

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