Jane Austen murdered? Author Lindsay Ashford considers it a possibility in her new book, The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen.
While conducting research for her novel, she came across references to arsenic poisoning symptoms. Miss Austen was known to have rheumatism and it was frequently treated with arsenic during the time. Perusing Austen’s old letters and learning of some family issues, she puts forth the theory Austen may have been overdosed on arsenic.
From the author: “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 March test was developed in 1836 that human remains could be analyzed for the presence of arsenic.”
Miss Austen passed away at the age of 41 in July of 1871. Several other theories regarding her death have been suggested over the years and a lock of her hair was once tested for arsenic — it tested positive.