Crime novelist Lindsay Ashford‘s new novel, The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen, explores the possibility that Pride & Prejudice author Jane Austen was murdered.
According to The Guardian, Ashford read about symptoms of arsenic poisoning while combing through old volumes of Austen’s letters. A scholar told her that Austen’s hair was once tested for arsenic. Austen said she suffered from rheumatism, a disease treated with arsenic in the 1800s.
In the article, Ashford explained: “Having delved into her family background, there was a lot going on that has never been revealed and there could have been a motive for murder. In the early 19th century a lot of people were getting away with murder with arsenic as a weapon, because it wasn’t until the Marsh test was developed in 1836 that human remains could be analysed for the presence of arsenic.”