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3.00218818380744 out of 53.00218818380744 out of 53.00218818380744 out of 53.00218818380744 out of 53.00218818380744 out of 5 3.00 (914 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephanie Barron Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Jane Austen Mysteries Release Date: August 2003 ISBN: 9781415911679
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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 Seagrave.

“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 guilt.

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 untangled.

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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 2/16/2014

    " Very good. I think Barron's Jane has really grown over the books and taken on a life of her own. This particular mystery involves naval matters and is full of lots and lots of period tidbits to please those fans of ships and battles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodi | 2/10/2014

    " Okay, got sucked into this on the Jane Austen line and ended up enjoying it. The language was very true to Jane Austen and the story was interesting. It was a mystery of Jane Austen's brother's friend accusted of murder. Had characters of Austen's real-life and characters displaying traits of her novels. Got a kick out of it. A few twists of the plot were plausible and the ending a surprise but not far-fetched. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/6/2014

    " Fun read. Not the best one of the series and Etienne LaForge is not too bad of a substitute for Lord Harold. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/31/2014

    " Aside from scuba reading, I finished Jane & The Prisoner of Wool House in the last couple of days. It inspired me to pick up an actual 19th-century novel. It's a little denser than the mysteries, so we'll see how far I get in the next couple of weeks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 1/29/2014

    " It's always a pleasure spending time with Miss Jane Austen, but I have to say that the ending was wildly improbable. Nevertheless, a pleasant read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 1/28/2014

    " I really have grown to like this series. I feel like I have a better understanding of the real Jane Austen's books, since Barron does such a good job explaining the setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 1/23/2014

    " My favorite so far of these mysteries by Stephanie Barron. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beverly | 1/19/2014

    " An interesting mystery with Jane Austen as sleuth, written in the style Jane and everyone else in 1807 would likely speak. The author was very good at keeping the real perp in the shadows until the very end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kailey | 1/15/2014

    " not the best of the series, but still good. Nice to see Jane with her brothers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 1/3/2014

    " Another great read. I read these one after another and loved each one.I thought this one at the sea may be a little boring, but I loved it... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 12/25/2013

    " Barron has the Austen era language down pretty well. Seemed to be historicall accurate, though I'm not a student of history and may not know better. It was fun to imagine Jane Austen engaging in everyday occurances and out of the ordinary events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 12/20/2013

    " My first book in this mystery series. Well written and actually believable. I think I will go back and read the others! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maia B. | 12/20/2013

    " My favorite Jane Austen mystery. Well-written, exciting, and though the end descends into the very unrealistic, it's fun to read and suspend your disbelief. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachael | 12/19/2013

    " i am retarded and didn't realize it was the 6th in a series when i grabbed it off the shelf, but now i have a lot of catching up to do which is fine by me. I'v managed to read the inkspell books out of order and still grasped the plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delphine | 11/24/2013

    " I learned a lot in this novel. This renewed my interest in the series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 8/30/2013

    " One of my favorites so far! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 10/30/2012

    " A long book without a big payoff at the end. The second of hers that I've tried, I'm going to move on to another series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kortney | 9/9/2012

    " All of the Jane Austen mysteries are great. I think that it is a clever series and a welcome addition addition to all things Austen. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Drianne | 7/7/2012

    " Meh. It took me months to get around to finishing this, because neither the story nor the characters were engaging. Jane is still stupid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Yezak | 6/11/2012

    " This was also a pretty good book. Though I will admit that the stories that do not have Lord Harold in them seem to be a little slower than when he is in them. He is a good foil for Jane's thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanette | 5/3/2012

    " Sixth one....loved it.....I love the relationship with Jane and Lord Harold. These are such great simple reads that they keep me coming back for more. I'm hooked on this series...will I ever read a classic again? I need to get back on track but while I'm derailed I'm having a lot of fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 4/8/2012

    " I think this might be my favorite one in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 12/17/2011

    " This is another one of Stephanie Barron's classic Jane Austen mysteries. Great research for the time period in intricate details. A great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim Ryser | 10/11/2011

    " I needed more Jane Austen and period fiction. This whole series is good without being astounding. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melanie | 7/25/2011

    " Didn't like it, but neither did I finish it...to be continued "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 6/8/2011

    " fun times for Jane Austin lovers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gail | 4/2/2011

    " Slow start and convoluted solution "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maia | 3/5/2011

    " My favorite Jane Austen mystery. Well-written, exciting, and though the end descends into the very unrealistic, it's fun to read and suspend your disbelief. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keilani | 12/27/2010

    " See my other review, Scargrave Manor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 7/19/2010

    " It's always a pleasure spending time with Miss Jane Austen, but I have to say that the ending was wildly improbable. Nevertheless, a pleasant read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vannessagrace | 4/21/2010

    " Reading Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austin sleuth is always a breath of fresh air. The reader gets quality writing and quality editing, a great story, murder without graphic details, and creativity that permits you to use your imagination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 1/3/2010

    " Very good. I think Barron's Jane has really grown over the books and taken on a life of her own. This particular mystery involves naval matters and is full of lots and lots of period tidbits to please those fans of ships and battles.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 11/22/2009

    " Barron has the Austen era language down pretty well. Seemed to be historicall accurate, though I'm not a student of history and may not know better. It was fun to imagine Jane Austen engaging in everyday occurances and out of the ordinary events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 11/17/2009

    " My first book in this mystery series. Well written and actually believable. I think I will go back and read the others! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanette | 8/31/2009

    " Sixth one....loved it.....I love the relationship with Jane and Lord Harold. These are such great simple reads that they keep me coming back for more. I'm hooked on this series...will I ever read a classic again? I need to get back on track but while I'm derailed I'm having a lot of fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 7/3/2009

    " I needed more Jane Austen and period fiction. This whole series is good without being astounding. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachael | 4/12/2009

    " i am retarded and didn't realize it was the 6th in a series when i grabbed it off the shelf, but now i have a lot of catching up to do which is fine by me. I'v managed to read the inkspell books out of order and still grasped the plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 4/3/2009

    " This was also a pretty good book. Though I will admit that the stories that do not have Lord Harold in them seem to be a little slower than when he is in them. He is a good foil for Jane's thinking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 3/18/2009

    " I thought the Jane series had gotten tired, but I quite enjoyed this one. Perhaps I merely needed a vacation from them.

    Plot wandered - my patience for plot twists and red herrings in mysteries is not infinite - but characters and period details more than compensated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeanne | 9/19/2008

    " My favorite so far of these mysteries by Stephanie Barron. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melanie | 4/30/2008

    " Didn't like it, but neither did I finish it...to be continued "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 4/15/2008

    " This is another one of Stephanie Barron's classic Jane Austen mysteries. Great research for the time period in intricate details. A great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 4/14/2008

    " I really have grown to like this series. I feel like I have a better understanding of the real Jane Austen's books, since Barron does such a good job explaining the setting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 10/4/2007

    " Aside from scuba reading, I finished Jane & The Prisoner of Wool House in the last couple of days. It inspired me to pick up an actual 19th-century novel. It's a little denser than the mysteries, so we'll see how far I get in the next couple of weeks. "

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About the Author
Author Stephanie Barron

Stephanie Barron is a graduate of Princeton and Stanford, where she studied history. A former intelligence analyst for the CIA, Stephanie—who also writes under the name Francine Mathews—drew on her experience in the field of espionage for such novels as The Alibi Club, which Publishers Weekly named as one of the fifteen best novels of 2006, and for her critically acclaimed Jane Austen Mystery series, in which the intrepid and witty author of Pride and Prejudice details her secret detective career in Regency England. Barron lives and works in Denver.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.