Book Review: Jane And The Final Mystery

31 Oct

Title: Jane and the Final Mystery
Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 15)
Author: Stephanie Barron
Genre: Historical Mystery, Austenesque Fiction
Publisher: Soho Crime (October 24, 2023)
Length: (312) pages
Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook 
ISBN: 978-1641295055
Tour Dates: October 16 – 31, 2023

The final volume of the critically acclaimed mystery series featuring Jane Austen as amateur sleuth March 1817.

As winter turns to spring, Jane Austen’s health is in slow decline, and threatens to cease progress on her latest manuscript. But when her nephew Edward brings chilling news of a death at his former school, Winchester College, not even her debilitating ailment can keep Jane from seeking out the truth. Arthur Prendergast, a
senior pupil at the prestigious all-boys’ boarding school, has been found dead in a culvert near the schoolgrounds—and in the pocket of his drenched waistcoat is an incriminating note penned by the young William Heathcote, the son of Jane’s dear friend Elizabeth. Winchester College is a world unto itself, with its own language and rites of
passage, cruel hazing and dangerous pranks. Can Jane clear William’s name before her illness gets the better of her?

Over the course of fourteen previous novels in the critically acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, Stephanie Barron has won the hearts of thousands of fans—crime fiction aficionados and Janeites alike—with her tricky plotting and breathtaking evocation of Austen’s voice. Now, she brings Jane’s final season—and final murder investigation—to brilliant, poignant life in this unforgettable conclusion.

“Poignant . . . Elicits deep emotion out of Jane’s struggles against her own mortality. This is a fitting send-off for a beautifully realized series.”— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Barron developed Jane’s narrative voice by reading Austen’s collected and published letters, and it is neither spoiler nor surprise to say that series readers will be sorry to say goodbye to Jane Austen, amateur sleuth.”— Booklist

“[Barron] has brilliantly combined authentic historical and biographical details with skillful plotting and a credible evocation of Austen’s wry, distinctive voice. She brings the English author’s final investigation to a poignant, unforgettable close. Fans of this historical series will not be disappointed.”— First Clue



Stephanie Barron is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford, where she received her Masters in History as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow in the Humanities. Her novel, THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN (Ballantine, January 22, 2019) traces the turbulent career of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s captivating American mother. Barron is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed Jane Austen Mystery Series, in which the intrepid and witty author of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE details her secret detective career in Regency England. A former intelligence analyst for the CIA, Stephanie—who also writes under the name Francine Mathews—drew on her experience in the field of espionage for such novels as JACK 1939, which The New Yorker described as “the most deliciously high-concept thriller imaginable.” She lives and works in Denver, CO.



My Impressions:

I am so sad that the wonderful Being A Jane mystery series has come to an end. I was captivated by Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth from the very beginning. Stephanie Barron has always delivered a faithfully-drawn Jane as she navigates the more mysterious side of Regency England society. Accurate depictions of the time and place, as well as Jane and the Austen family and friends, bring authenticity to a thoroughly enjoyable mystery series. In Jane And The Final Mystery, the reader and Jane know that her time is short. Though modern readers would consider her young, Jane is a spinster who depends on the meager revenue from her writing as well as a small stipend supplemented by her brothers and has few prospects for bettering her life. It would be easy to feel sorry for the historical Jane, but through Barron’s depiction we see a woman content with how her life has run. Jane And The Final Mystery finds Jane struggling with illness but still keen to discover just whodunit in the cathedral town of Winchester. I loved the historical details Barron uses — food, fashion, education, medicine, judicial practices — to bring early 19th century England to life. Characters, both historical and fictional, play a part in the story, making this book very believable. While there is no historical proof that Jane was a successful sleuth, this book (along with the entire series) makes my Jane-loving heart believe. 😉 The pace of the mystery kept me turning the pages as I strove with our heroine to solve the case. Barron kept us both on our toes!

For those who have been faithful followers of this series, you will love the poignant ending. And if you are new to these mysteries, you are in for a treat — 15 books to savor! I recommend you start at the beginning of this wonderful mystery series.


Audience: Adults.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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