In her sixth engrossing outing, Jane Austen employs her
delicious wit and family ties to the Royal Navy in a case of murder on the high
seas. Somewhere in the picturesque British port of Southampton, among a crew of
colorful, eccentric, and fiercely individual souls, a killer has come ashore.
And only Jane can fathom the depths of his ruthless mind…
“I will assert that sailors are endowed with greater worth
than any set of men in England.”
So muses Jane Austen as she stands in the buffeting wind of
Southampton’s quay beside her brother Frank on a raw February morning. Frank, a
post captain in the Royal Navy, is without a ship to command, and his best
prospect is the Stella Maris, a fast frigate captained by his old friend Tom
“Lucky” Tom—so dubbed for his habit of besting enemy ships—is
presently in disgrace, charged with violating the Articles of War. Tom’s first
lieutenant, Eustace Chessyre, has accused Seagrave of murder in the death of a
French captain after the surrender of his ship.
Though Lucky Tom denies the charge, his dagger was found in
the dead man’s chest. Now Seagrave faces court-martial and execution for a crime
he swears he did not commit.
Frank, deeply grieved, is certain his friend will hang. But
Jane reasons that either Seagrave or Chessyre is lying—and that she and Frank
have a duty to discover the truth.
The search for the captain’s honor carries them into the
troubled heart of Seagrave’s family, through some of the seaport’s worst
sinkholes, and at long last to Wool House, the barred brick structure that
serves as gaol for French prisoners of war.
Risking contagion or worse, Jane agrees to nurse the
murdered French captain’s imprisoned crew—and elicits a debonair surgeon’s
account of the Stella Maris’s battle that appears to clear Tom Seagrave of all
When Eustace Chessyre is found murdered, the entire affair
takes on the appearance of an insidious plot against Seagrave, who is charged
with the crime. Could any of his naval colleagues wish him dead? In an era of
turbulent intrigue and contested amour, could it be a case of cherchez la femme…or
a veiled political foe at work? And what of the sealed orders under which
Seagrave embarked that fateful night in the Stella Maris? Death knocks again at
Jane’s own door before the final knots in the killer’s net are completely
Always surprising, Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House is an
intelligent and intriguing mystery that introduces Jane and her readers to “the
naval set”—and charts a true course through the amateur sleuth’s most troubled
waters yet. Download and start listening now!