Title: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates #2)
Author: Julia Golding
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!
Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’
When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.
Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.
With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.
When the headmistress from their former school asks Cassandra Austen to attend their end of term hall, she brings her sister Jane along with her. They are excited to attend a fun event filled with dancing and fancy dresses. Jane befriends Brandon, the dance instructor’s assistant and a former slave. However, when a diamond necklace is stolen, Brandon is the first suspect. Jane is determined to prove Brandon’s innocence before he’s sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Jane Austen Investigates is a fun series because it reimagines a young Jane Austen as a detective. Jane encounters people who will later inspire her own novels. In this book, she meets Elinor and Marianne, among others, who will inspire her characters in Sense and Sensibility.
Prejudice was an important part of this story too. Jane noticed right away that Brandon was being accused of the theft because he was Black. I don’t know how historically accurate it was for someone in Jane’s position to be able to defend someone against this kind of prejudice, but I’d like to imagine she would have done that in her real life.
The Burglar’s Ball is a great Jane Austen Investigates mystery.
Thank you Lion Hudson for proving a digital copy of this book.
What to read next:
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding
Other books in the series:
Have you read The Burglar’s Ball? What did you think of it?