Jane and the Waterloo Map: Being a Jane Austen Mystery

Written by Stephanie Barron
Review by Amy Watkin

It is November 1815, and Jane Austen has been summoned to Carlton House, the Prince Regent’s residence. She wonders if there’s any way around having to dedicate her next book, Emma, to the Prince Regent she disdains, when a man dies in the Carlton House library. Jane is the only one with him as he utters his last words: “Waterloo map.” Thus begins the murder mystery in which Jane and her potential love interest, Raphael West, become embroiled. They must solve the riddle of the map and gather those whom they trust, before betrayal threatens them all.

This book is part of the “Being a Jane Austen Mystery” series by Barron, but the story stands alone. Barron makes the Austen character believable: intelligent and curious, navigating society’s requirements and the possibilities of love as best she can. There are bits of history in the book: an actual letter that Austen wrote to the Prince Regent’s librarian, and facts here and there about her writing and circumstances. Some of these instances are footnoted, helpfully providing further information. I found this book absolutely delightful, with just the right balance between likable, captivating characters and the actual history of Jane Austen’s life.