Author: Stephanie Barron
Genre: Mystery, cozy
November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.
However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.
It’s been far too long since Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas was published. For those of you who don’t read a lot of Austen, one of her books, Emma was dedicated to the Prince Regent, a man Austen was known to dislike. The beginning of this book explores how Jane ended up dedicating her book to this royal. In this book we are introduced to the character James Stanier Clarke, who bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (though by this point in the timeline, this book has already been published.) There were some interesting character developments in this book. For starters, Jane seems to have replaced Lord Harold Trowbridge with her regard for Mr. Raphael West (who was introduced in the last book). It’s really not surprising. Both men possessed formidable intellects. In addition, both men were secret agents. Also, Jane’s niece Fanny plays a part in the investigation. It seems as though Jane might actually have a real sidekick. Although Jane was close to her sister, Cassandra wasn’t the sort to have the adventures with Jane.
The Waterloo Map. I was really hoping that there was such an item that was lost in the antiquities of time. Alas, it is not so!!! But what a thought, that Napoleon might have concealed a treasure in Russia during his retreat.
I’m beginning to get a little bit sad with regards to this series. About 4 of Jane’s novels have been published. So that means we are getting nearer to her death, and nearer to the end of this series.
With regards to this book, I decided to read it quite slowly and savor it, particularly as it will be a while before the next book comes out. I did not figure out who dunnit until the very end. I was pretty shocked actually.
This was a great read. I loved it!