It’s been nearly 200 years since Jane Austen’s mysterious death. Austen’s death has been attributed to everything from cancer, to Addison’s disease. But a new theory has emerged from crime novelist Lindsay Ashford. Ashford believes that Jane Austen died from arsenic poisoning.
According to the Guardian, Ashford moved into Austen’s village of Chawton three years ago to work on her new novel. Ashford was living in the house of Austen’s brother, and came across correspondence from the famous author. Ashford became obsessed with the letters and revealing the cause of Ashford’s death after she read the sentence, “I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough, black and white and every wrong colour.”
Ashford says that she has done research on poison for her novels and that criminal background gave her a unique insight into Jane Austen’s letters.
“As a crime writer I’ve done a lot of research into arsenic, and I think it was just a bit of serendipity, that someone like me came to look at her letters with a very different eye to the eye most people cast on Jane Austen…”
Ashford, whose new novel is called “The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen,” says that she believes that Austen may have been murdered.
“I don’t think murder is out of the question. 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.
Do you think Jane Austen was murdered? Or is Lindsay Ashford just trying to sell a few more copies of her book?