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Publisher's Summary

Patricia Wentworth began writing crime novels in 1923 with the debut of The Astonishing Adventure of Jane Smith. It was an auspicious beginning to a 40-year career during the era known as the Golden Age of mystery writing. 

Jane is broke, she's just lost her job and her landlady has kicked her out. When an amorous young man approaches her on a park bench it soon becomes clear that he has mistaken her for her cousin Renata. Their mothers were identical twins and even though Jane has never met her, Renata's fiance insists they too are identical. He's desperate. 

It seems Renata sleepwalked into a meeting of her father's friends and overheard their criminal plans. She's lied about hearing anything but they doubt her story and are holding her prisoner. The plan is that Jane switch places so he can get his love to safety. 

Jane's only other option is the workhouse, and being a plucky young woman ripe for adventure, she agrees. But she's no fool and informs a former beau who works at Scotland Yard of the scheme. Henry March is appalled but agrees to be her outside contact in case of trouble. Her first challenge turns out to be hiding her natural intelligence while impersonating the somewhat dim Renata. 

All the ingredients of an English mystery novel are in place: a country mansion with hidden panels, laboratories and caves; dastardly villains bent on destroying civilization; a daring, clever girl determined to unravel the conspiracy; and not one, but two budding romances. 

Written during the decade in which women gained the vote, Jane Smith is a heroine of her time. Far from waiting for the hero to come save her, Jane is determined to solve the mystery before Henry does!

Public Domain (P)2020 Anne Hancock

What listeners say about The Astonishing Adventure of Jane Smith

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  • Yvette
  • 27-08-2020

Finally one of the pre-Miss Silver books!

This is one of Patricia Wentworth's books that are NOT part of her Miss Silver series, and a great deal of fun it is, too! Anne Hancock does a great job bringing the characters to life nearly a century after this book was published in 1923.

As the description says, Jane isn't some fluffy, wimpy girl. She is in a difficult position at the start of the book, and chooses (as she puts it) to have a roof over her head and food in her stomach, even if it comes with extreme peril. In fact, she goes through some peril just to get to the extremely perilous situation that propells her through the story. She often acts proactively, and makes intelligent decisions, based on what she wants in life (not what someone else tells her she should want), and doesn't depend on someone else to rescue her. And she's not one of those "I am am spunky, and know better than anyone else," or TSTL (to stupid to live) characters. She looks into things carefully, and consults experts when she is out of her depth ... like a grown-up. Then she goes in and gets on with the job (no spoilers, I'm not telling what job). Plus, the romance involves a guy who, (let's say it again) in a book published in 1923, actually respects her decisions!!!! I love Patricia Wentworth!

As half of Patricia Wentworth's mysteries didn't feature her best-known character, Mis Maude Silver, I have been hoping that someone would get around to recording them. Spoken Realms has done a great job choosing a narrator, and creating a high-quality production. As there are over 30 non-Miss Silver books (and 32 Miss Silver books, which Audible doesn't have all of), I'd REALLY like to hear more of them!

21 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth Harvey
  • 05-01-2021

What a fun listen!

This is NOT a Miss Silver mystery, and one I had not heard of. Jane is a heroine after my own heart, she does her own rescue and had more problems with nature than criminals. Just a joy from start to finish. Anne Hancock does an excellent job, and I hope to hear more from her.
I would really like to hear more non Miss Silver books, I find them more Lighthearted with just the right amount of suspense/romance.

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  • sharon
  • 28-01-2021

Not as good as Miss Silver but a great listen

The plot was a little dated but a really good mystery (written in 1923)
The information about the stolen formula was a bit cryptic but the
plot and characters were very well developed.
I am a big fan of the Miss Silver books and have read all of them.
This mystery was not quite as good but well worth the read.

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  • R. Murphy
  • 05-04-2021

Engaging Story, Moved Quickly, Excellent Narration

I knew from all the Miss Silver books that Patricia Wentworth presents a good mystery without "filler" that doesn't add to the story. This book is as good as the Miss Silver books. I was engaged the whole time with surprises along the way. It moved along quickly; too quickly actually, because I wished it had been a longer book. The narration was excellent. Also, I'm glad that Anne Hancock chose this book to record.

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  • motown
  • 16-07-2021

Decent

Quite a bit dated. But kept me entertained while doing chores. I doubt I will get another book by this author though

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  • Miss S
  • 23-10-2020

Entertaining Vintage Girls Own Adventure

I enjoyed this as the light entertainment it was. It felt very much like a vintage Girl's Own Adventure. The heroine was sufficiently spirited and there were secret tunnels and deadly peril at every turn. The villains were entertaining and the love interest's relationship with his mother made me laugh out loud.

The ending however left something to be desired. I felt that the heroine should have had a chance to lord it over the condescending Lady Heritage for completely falling for her charade. I'm sure I cannot be the only one who feels this way.

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  • Carmela
  • 07-05-2021

Lovely adventure, keep them coming.

I have enjoyed all of Miss Silvers adventures and was delighted to find some more of Wentworths's books performed so nicely
will ge going on to the next two available, and hope that more of her stories will follow soon. as always lovable characters and optimistic stories make this a wonderfully cheerful read. I couldn't stop listening!

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  • ronironker
  • 10-04-2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this.

I loved the whole ambience of this vintage story. Full of action, a really lovely book with a likeable heroine.

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