Nearly 200 years after Jane Austen‘s untimely death, crime novelist Lindsay Ashford has come up with a new explanation: arsenic poisoning.

Austen, the English author of such classic novels as “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility,” died in 1817 at age 41. Her death has been attributed to everything from cancer to Addison’s disease.

But Ashford, who moved to Austen’s village of Chawton three years ago and started writing her new crime novel in the former home of Austen’s brother, stumbled across another possibility — that Austen died of arsenic poisoning.

While reading Austen’s correspondence, Ashford came across a line the novelist wrote just a few months before she died: “I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough, black and white and every wrong colour.”...
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