In the past few years, several writers of mysteries have adopted the practice of using famous authors of yore as their sleuths. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and even Arthur Conan Doyle have all appeared on the scene, so it was just a matter of time before someone selected the Bronte sisters as their protagonists.
Bella Ellis has done just that with The Vanished Bride, set in Yorkshire in 1845. The trio of sisters have not yet achieved their awaiting fame, but they are certainly hard at work on their individual writing projects.
They receive word that a young wife and mother has been reported missing from her home just a few miles away. Left behind are two additional young children and a large pool of blood.
Both horrified and intrigued by the story, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne conclude they are just the ones to investigate and solve the mystery. After all, they have well-sharpened imaginations and are more than widely read. It’s Charlotte who remarks, “Detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”
The trio “drops in” on the home, feigning ignorance of any foul play. They quickly determine that all is not well in the household, from the overbearing and rude master of the house and husband of the missing woman to the sinister housekeeper.
The Bronte sisters also learn firsthand that theirs is a world in which the majority of men and not a few women firmly believe a woman’s place is in the home, dutifully serving her husband while producing a dozen or so children.
Traipsing around the countryside seeking clues, interviewing first one and then another person, and zeroing in on a dangerous killer certainly do not fit the bill of a well-behaved young woman in Victorian times.
They quickly discover that along with the challenge of their project comes a great deal of danger and that their very lives are in peril.
The Vanished Bride is now on the shelves of Stokely Memorial Library, just waiting for those of us who reveled in Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to join the intrepid sisters on their quest.
Located at 383 East Broadway, Stokely Memorial Library is open Mondays—Saturdays from10-5 and may be reached by telephone at 423-623-3832.