cover image Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery

Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery

Stephanie Barron. Soho Crime, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-425-3

A well-crafted narrative with multiple subplots drives Barron’s splendid 13th Jane Austen mystery (following 2014’s Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas). In November 1815, Jane comes to London to attend to her favorite brother, Henry, who has fallen ill and is on the verge of bankruptcy. While she awaits the proofs of Emma, she receives an invitation to Carlton House, the Prince Regent’s London mansion, where she finds Col. Ewan McFarland, a hero of Waterloo, horribly sick on the floor of the library. Just before he expires, the colonel utters, “Waterloo map.” From evidence at the scene, Jane determines that he was poisoned. Jane joins forces with Raphael West, a painter who’s also a government spy, in pursuit of a ruthless killer and the meaning of the colonel’s cryptic last words. Series fans will be happy to see more of Jane’s extended family and friends, and Austenites will enjoy the imaginative power with which Barron spins another riveting mystery around a writer generally assumed to have led a quiet and uneventful life. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, ICM Partners/Sagalyn. (Feb.)