Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

England, Regency Period


A Gentleman of Fortune

(The Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent)

by Anna Dean

Readers who are enamored of Jane Austen’s novels will enjoy this second book in the Dido Kent mystery series. The language is pure Austen, and the setting, the growing, bustling 1801 town of Richmond, nicely captures the period.

Dido now temporary resides in Richmond, lodged with her married cousin. Much of the plot, with its twists and new revelations, is revealed through the lively letters written to her absent sister. At age thirty-five and unmarried, Dido has fallen into the category of spinster, thus sparing her family “the expense of going much into company. For it will all be wasted. Nothing will come of it.” The only glimmer of hope is her continuing “understanding” with William Lomax, a gentleman introduced in the first book. To transcend the “remarkably empty” daily requirements expected of women of her class, Dido puts her inquisitive mind to the task of investigating the accusation that a nearby neighbor has murdered his aunt to secure the old lady’s riches. “She could not help but feel it would be very pleasant indeed to have some thing to think about!”Much of her research involves gleaning bits of information from female centered places like the fashionable circulating library where rumors and gossip circulated as freely as did the books. Politics occasionally also rears its ugly head through the town’s consensus that the Jacobin horrors of the French Revolution were the result of “unsound opinions, progressive ideas.”



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