As the book-jacket blurb suggests, Miss Dido Kent's sleuthing sensibilities will bring to mind a heady mix of a Miss Marple created by Jane Austen. Set in 1806 England, this third Regency adventure involves a visit to an abandoned abbey on an estate where the Grey Nun of Madderstone is alleged to be the resident ghost.
Dido puts no stock in the occult but when her friend, the beauteous Penelope, is badly injured in a fall at the abbey but manages to mutter, "I saw her..." before lapsing into unconsciousness, her beliefs are tested. The unearthing of a skeleton at the allegedly haunted abbey provides further complications.
Dean has created a most delightful sleuth of style and substance, outwardly staid but subtly opposing the prejudices of the period. This mystery of manners aptly captures the mores of early 19th-century English society at its most hypocritical, revealed to readers through personal correspondence and occurrences surrounding the mystery. Proper ladies are supposed to tend to their embroidery and not see ghosts or solve murders. Dean succeeds with Dido's latest adventure admirably, even adding an ongoing romance to the proceedings.