Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 13), by Stephanie Barron – A Review

From the desk of Christina Boyd:

As a fan of the Being Jane Austen Mystery series, I have been all anticipation for the latest edition, Jane and the Waterloo Map. Author Stephanie Barron knows her Austen lore, as well as a being a masterful storyteller and researcher; writing in a most Austen-like style. She is also The Incomparable when it comes to Regency mysteries. Given that disclaimer, and holding the series in much esteem, I feel quite at liberty to share my impressions herein.

The novel opens with our dear Miss Austen attending her sick brother Henry at his London residence while editing the proofs of her latest novel, Emma, for her publisher John Murray. Summoned to Carlton House, the opulent London mansion of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, Jane meets his toady Historiographer, Mr. James Stanier Clarke, who not only arrogantly invites her to use the Royal Library to write her next novel, but welcomes her to dedicate her work-in-progress to the Prince Regent himself. As she holds the prince and his profligate ways in contempt, Jane cautiously makes no commitment and politely continues on with the tour. Upon reaching the library, they come upon a Colonel MacFarland, the hero of Waterloo, collapsed upon the floor in an apoplectic fit. As Mr. Clarke finds help, the colonel utters his last words to Jane, “Waterloo map.” After a curious inspection of the colonel’s vomit, Jane speculates that the colonel may have been poisoned. The next day, word reaches her that the colonel did succumb, and it is not long before the royal physician confirms that the hero of Waterloo was murdered. Thus begins the intrigue—and danger—for our clever authoress as she exposes whodunit in this thirteenth of Stephanie Barron’s mystery series.

Likening Austen’s quality prose, Barron excels in credible dialog. Miss Austen’s voice, told from this fictional Jane Austen’s point-of-view, nearly flies off the page. While shopping for fabrics with her niece:

“Fanny mused, a hand caressing each. “One is so truly purple; but the other is far more attractive, for being rather less.” “Then buy Eleanor the purple and take the violet for yourself,” I advised. “A girl is never so happy in her friend’s appearance, then when she displays a superior taste.” (163)

What sharp wit!

I have long missed the Gentleman Rogue, Lord Harold Trowbridge, fellow detective, confident and romantic interest of Jane Austen, who has been absent since the seventh book in this series. In this accounting, our dear Miss Austen becomes reacquainted with the gallant and enigmatic artist, Raphael West, who aided her in solving another nefarious scheme the previous year in Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Because history has told us, Miss Austen, never married, and in this series, she must be nearing her own death, I yearn for this astute observer of the human heart to have had experienced a great love of her own…and here, West’s fine person and manners can do nothing but recommend himself to Jane (and this reader)!

I nodded, my throat too tight for words. He retained my hand an instant, his eyes fixed on mine, then turned resolutely through the door. I am a liar if I said I attended to half what was said, for the remainder of dinner.” (169)

Jane admits to herself she had “known one such a man before, and lost him.” (160) I suppose it is only fair to allow her to tread carefully to safeguard her own heart.

Though the early pacing seemed slow in setting the scene and the players, once all the clues were laid out, the novel took off at breakneck speed. A watercolor map of Waterloo, yew needles, unsavory characters, beloved family members, captivating gentlemen, betrayals, secrecy, and a couple of red herrings color this mystery, I confess I was confounded until the last. One need not read the previous twelve novels to be entertained by Jane and the Waterloo Map. However, from one who has read this epic series in order, I recommend you follow my example to experience the full effect. You can thank me later.

5 out of 5 Stars


  • Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 13), by Stephanie Barron
  • Soho Press (2016)
  • Hardcover, eBook, and audiobook (320) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1616954253
  • Genre: Austenesque, Historical Mystery


We received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Soho Press © 2016; text Christina Boyd © 2016, austenprose.com.

39 thoughts on “Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 13), by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Add yours

  1. What an intriguing review! A little suspense and a little romance combined for one mesmerizing Regency mystery.

    I know you’re such a big fan of this series and I’m glad you’ve spread your love for it to so many Austen fans. Stephanie’s command of Regency era language makes her work stand out and I love how you demonstrated this with your review. Take a bow!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sheila, I’d kindle loan them to you, of course, but I own all in hard copy on my shelves. Hope you make time to read the series.


      1. Thank you for the offer. I will get to them. It is just a matter of time. Just started reading the Assassinations series which Claudine reviewed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just started to read this yesterday when my copy arrived from B&N. Stephanie Barron does an unsurpassed job of anchoring her stories in known biographical incidents, then shooting off into the creative stratosphere! I am, once again, entranced by her depiction of a detecting Jane Austen. Thank you, Christina, for the intriguing review and thanks to Stephanie Barron for continuing her superlative series.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lovely review Christina to a fabulous edition to the series. I always love being swept away into the Regency era from Jane’s point-of-view, which Stephanie has down pat. I have enjoyed reading and writing about this series and always look forward to the next one.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree that her wit is stellar and I enjoy the interactions around her as she solves the mysteries. Glad the latest was fantastic. Nice review, Christina!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. With many mystery novels it is easy to guess whodunnit by the end, but I love that in this series I never know until the end. I’m always guessing, but never sure.
    I too miss the Gentleman Rogue, but enjoyed meeting Mr. West in the previous novel. I’m glad to hear he returns in this.
    With 1817 so near, I wish this series could go on forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved Stephanie Barron’s books before I ever went to a JASNA Nor-Cal meeting. I went to it because she was speaking — and she did not disappoint!!! Awesome! I have read each book in her Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, and can’t wait for this next one. At the meeting at which she spoke, she said she would probably write 9 books for the series. I am so glad she has continued beyond that!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As time with Jane “is fleeting,” I do hope Stephanie Barron will consider her next series all about “The Gentleman Rogue” –you know, some modern person discovers the trunk Lord Harold left dear Jane–and this person reads through the papers and so, you know, each novel…

    Just putting that out there. Again.


  8. Thank you for sharing your review about this book. I can’t wait to read it – mysteries and Jane Austen – what could be better. I also enjoyed visiting your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not sure my prior comment was posted as I was’t signed in to WordPress, needed new password etc. I love Jane Austen, my husband loves her. We both would be intrigued by a Jane mystery basket!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I have three books in this series. The Mystery Guild has this book in their catalog which I received today and that’s how I found out about this book.

    Liked by 1 person

Please join in and have your share of the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Website Built with WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: