Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Jane and the Final Mystery by Stephanie Barron (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


Do you have any favorite series that you have read all of the way through?  How did you feel when they ended?  I have loved reading the “Being a Jane Austen Mystery” series for the last twenty years. It was bittersweet reading the conclusion of this series.

It is the year 1817, the last year of author Jane Austen’s life, but she doesn’t know it.  She has been feeling more tired and weak as of late, but it is from unknown causes.  When the son of a good friend is accused of murder, Jane goes with her nephew Edward to Wincester to investigate the crime.  Once there, Jane discovers that the boarding school has a history of ill treatment of its pupils by other pupils.  Was young William Heathcote tormented so far that he took vengeance on his tormentor or are there other intrigues at play?

As I have been with the other books in the “ Being a Jane Austen Mystery,” I was instantly drawn into the story and Jane’s world.   Barron channels Jane Austen’s voice, personality, and the time period perfectly.  I loved getting to see her relationship with her friend Elizabeth as well as with her nephew Edward.  Edward will one day write her memoir.  I was horrified by the description of the treatment of the boys at the boarding school.   I also thought the discussion of speech impediments and how they were dealt with at the time was very interesting.

I also loved seeing terms I really know from Harry Potter, such as “prefect” pop up in the story.  As usual, Barron has great footnotes that describe the details or history of certain parts of the story.  The afterword does a great job of filling in even more historical details.

I quite like how the book ended on a hopeful note and not with the death of Jane Austen.  I am still sad to see this series end, but what a series has Stephanie Barron put together that can continue to be enjoyed.  I think it’s time for me to start the series over again.

Book Source:  Review copy from Soho Crime as a part of the Austenprose PR Book Tour. Thank-you!  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


·       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.




  1. I've heard good things about this series, though I haven't read any of the books...yet. :D Great review!

  2. I just picked up my copy at the JASNA AGM in Denver last weekend where Stephanie Barron was our final plenary speaker. I will be reading it shortly and am so relieved to hear that it ends on a hopeful note and not with Austen's death. Although I will miss this series, I am a re-reader and so am happy to know that I will be revisiting my favorites in the series.