The sharp-witted spinster, Miss Dido Kent, is dependent upon the good will of her brothers, but when she turns down the marriage proposal of a dismal clergyman, she is in disgrace. As punishment, Dido is exiled to act as a companion to her hypochondriac-but-wealthy Aunt Manners, who is visiting her childhood home, Charcombe Manor. However, the ladies’ arrival coincides with the disappearance of another visiting houseguest, the heiress Letitia Verney. When Letitia’s suitor, Mr. Tom Lomax, is suspected of spiriting her away, Dido is inclined to believe in the young man’s claims of innocence against her better judgment. While Dido has no personal liking for Tom, who is a known fortune hunter (and the feeling is mutual), she does have decidedly tender feelings for his father, William. Dido is determined to keep the Lomax family name respectable, at least for William’s sake, but to do so she will have to solve the mysteries of Charcombe Manor.
A Place of Confinement is the fourth book in the Miss Dido Kent Regency mystery series. The story is an engaging whodunit, while staying true to the era by gently exploring its social norms such as inequality in gender and rank. Written in prose similar to the style of Jane Austen, Anna Dean’s work is a great choice for fans of this classic novelist. Readers may also enjoy Stephanie Barron’s mystery series featuring Jane Austen herself as the intrepid sleuth.