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.
About the Author
Stephanie Barron is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history. A former intelligence analyst at the CIA, she is the author of thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Merry Folger series, which she writes under the name Francine Mathews. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Visit her online at www.stephaniebarron.com.
Praise for Jane and the Final Mystery
“Jane investigates like a determined novelist cutting through a thicket of plot . . . If this is indeed Jane’s final mystery, then she departs in a fittingly graceful fashion.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
“More than a mere act of impersonation, Jane and the Final Mystery is a full-throttle detective story, with a carefully worked out plot, numerous suspects, and a bevy of clues and red herrings. The only drawback to this volume, for those familiar with Austen’s untimely death in the year the book is set, is that it marks the final outing for Barron and her engagingly erudite sleuth.” —Steven W. Beattie, The Toronto Star
“The real joy of these books is how Barron recreates the witty, coded language of the Georgian era and incorporates historical material about the Austen family, gleaned from the correspondence its members left behind. Verily, the books are fictitious but they feel like they pull back the curtains on Austen's real life better than any biography could.” —Star Tribune
“Barron has mastered writing in Austen’s voice as well as crafting page-turning mystery plots.” —Boulder Weekly
“This book will appeal to fans of Jane Austen, historical fiction, and mystery readers alike. You don’t have to have read all 14 previous novels in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series (although you will want to) to appreciate Jane and the Final Mystery, but if you have, this book offers a satisfying conclusion.” —5280 Magazine
“I read this book in only one day. The language is soothingly recognizable as Regency writing, and characters are fully drawn and easy to love. Barron strikes the perfect balance between the fictional story and Austen’s actual life.” —Historical Novels Review
“Poignant, compelling, and uplifting.” —Austenprose
“Barron demonstrates once again that framing this mystery series within the nature of an intelligent and witty woman can bring 1817 back to life in an engaging and well-spun narrative.” —New York Journal of Books
“[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
“A very satisfying end to an engaging and interesting series.” —Gumshoe Review
“Despite her increasing physical weakness, Jane’s mind is as sharp and inquisitive as ever, and she musters all her observational skills to discover the truth and clear William’s name. This 15th and final book in the “Being a Jane Austen Mystery’ series is not to be missed.” —Stop, You're Killing Me!
“An excellent historical mystery. Stephanie Barron is clearly more than just an Austen fan and throughout the series has turned her into a living, breathing character.” —Bookreporter.com
“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
“[An] engrossing series . . . Stephanie Barron's careful plotting is backed by heartfelt passion and respect for the source subject, as well as a tremendous amount of research.” —BookTrib
Praise for Stephanie Barron
“Witty, immaculately researched.” —USA Today
“Barron nails the period. She talks the talk and knows her history.” —The Boston Globe
"Wonderful . . . echoing the rhythms of the Austen novels with uncanny ease." —Entertainment Weekly
“Some of the most enjoyable, well-written fanfic ever created.” —O Magazine “Sings with not just a good plot but courtly language and an engaging group of characters worthy of the famed novelist herself . . . A first-rate mystery with so many twists and turns that you can hardly blame a reader who doesn't figure it out until the end.” —The Denver Post "Ingenious in plot—Barron plays fair with clues in this intriguing whodunit—Jane’s latest adventure offers readers still more: a glimpse of holiday celebrations of two centuries ago, a pleasant excursion into the lives of Britons and a collection of well-drawn characters. Add Barron’s deft imitation of her subject’s prose style, and you have a novel that its subject may well have admired." —Richmond Times-Dispatch "Splendid fun!" —Minneapolis Star Tribune "[A]n excellent period mystery for all historical fiction fans . . . Jane Austen devotees will especially appreciate immersing themselves in the many biographical details about Austen that accompany the fictional murder mystery." —Library Journal, Starred Review
"Vivid characters propel the subtle plot to its surprising conclusion. The first-person narration captures Austen’s tone as revealed in her letters: candid, loving, and occasionally acerbic." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review