Was Jane Austen murdered by arsenic?

Author Lindsay Ashford moved to Chawton (Jane Austen’s village) three years ago. While doing research for a crime novel, she found herself engrossed in the volumes of Austen’s letters.

In one of the letters, Austen writes: “I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough, black and white and every wrong colour.” Being a crime writer, Lindsay Ashford recognized that the symptoms Austen was describing likely pointed to arsenic poisoning.

But the real question was: was it accidental (arsenic was unfortunately given as a medication in that time period) or was it a murder? Read more at this Times newsfeed article.

If you are interested, you can check out some of Austen’s letters here:
My dear Cassandra: the letters of Jane Austen (catalog)
Search for more books by and about Jane Austen in our library catalog!

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