Jane K. Cleland: Jane Austen’s Lost Letters
Long ago in a village named St. Mary Meade lived a spinster named Miss Marple, who could, through her knowledge of human nature, solve crimes. Thanks to her status as an older lady who knitted and gardened, she was frequently overlooked and underestimated. This was an asset to Miss Marple. Fast forward to the present day. The slew of amateur female detectives at work in the form of the contemporary cozy novel are not overlooked (though many of them are starting over). They are strong women who in general run their own businesses and have successful relationships. It’s no longer an asset to be overlooked – in fact, one of the characters in Jane Cleland’s new book has “Be Bold” tattooed on her arm.