Jane and the Final Mystery (Being a Jane Austen Mystery)

Written by Stephanie Barron
Review by Amy Watkin

As the title reveals, this is the fifteenth and final book in the Jane Austen Mysteries series. Readers who have been with the series all along will enjoy the newest installment, but those introduced to the series through this book won’t be lost or disappointed.

We find Jane in March 1817, worried about her declining health and her new manuscript, but grateful to have a mystery to distract her from all of that. It turns out that the teenage son of Jane’s dear old friend, Elizabeth Heathcote, is suspected of murdering one of his boarding school classmates. Jane and Elizabeth don’t think he’s capable of any such thing, but how can they prove it?

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. Even knowing Austen’s biographical information, I found myself waiting to learn if her symptoms were abating and if she could finish that most recent book. This book aligns well with the rest of the series but also stands alone, as we wrap up our adventures with Jane and her mysteries. Unless, of course, we start reading the series all over again…