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Authors: Joanna Campbell Slan

Death of a Dowager

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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Author’s Note

Praise for
Death of a Schoolgirl

A Mystery Guild Alternate Selection

“Everyone’s favorite character, Jane Eyre, returns in a marvelous new adventure. Joanna Campbell Slan’s
Death of a Schoolgirl
is a must for all her many fans as Jane Eyre searches for an elusive killer who has Rochester’s young ward in his—or her—sights.”

—Charles Todd,
New York Times
bestselling author

“Charming, winning, mannered, and so genuine it seems like a long-lost Brontë original. . . . The Jane Eyre we know and love is revealed as a nifty detective, just as resolute, clever, and independent as her fans always knew she was.”

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity–award winning author

Jane Eyre
was always one of my favorite books and I’m delighted to be able to peek at her life as Mrs. Rochester. I always knew she’d make an excellent sleuth.”

—Rhys Bowen, Agatha and Anthony Award–winning author of the Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness mysteries

“A terrific beginning to a new series. In
Death of a Schoolgirl
, author Joanna Campbell Slan has given us a fully fleshed sequel to
Jane Eyre
, as darkly gothic as the original, only this time Jane uses her insatiable curiosity to solve a murder. An intriguing new sleuth!”

—Jeri Westerson, author of the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series

wonderful book. It’s the best sort of historical mystery—richly detailed, cleverly plotted, and filled with characters you’ll not want to leave behind.”

—Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar
Award–winning author

“This tasty blend of well-drawn characters and unexpected plot twists has all the rich flavor of England in the early 1820s. One nibble and you won’t be able to stop until the very last morsel is nothing but a memory. Thank goodness there are more Jane Eyre Chronicles to come!”

—Kathy Lynn Emerson, author of
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries: The Art and Adventure of Sleuthing through the Past

“A delightful chance for Brontë fans to expand their acquaintance with Jane Eyre, who continues her modest but strong-willed ways in an ingeniously contrived return to teaching . . . and sleuthing.”

—Charlaine Harris, #1
New York Times
bestselling author

“Layered with compound mysteries that unfold in a manner true to Brontë’s style . . . A faithful and ultimately satisfying continuation of an English classic.”

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“Captures the essences of Jane and Rochester . . . The mystery is entertaining fun, but it is what happened to Jane and Rochester since the classic ended that subgenre fans will enjoy.”

—The Mystery Gazette

“Slan has woven in some nice bits of real history and knitted her new story almost seamlessly onto the end of the Brontë novel. If you have read the original, your enjoyment will be enhanced, but if you haven’t you will still enjoy this involving tale.”

New Mystery Reader

“Slan has produced the perfect sequel to Charlotte Brontë’s classic . . . It flows effortlessly, as if Brontë herself were doing the writing, and it rings absolutely true. . . . It is a joy for lovers of the original novel, as well as those who savor a good mystery.”

Mystery Scene

“A beautifully written story . . . Slan has marked
Death of a Schoolgirl
with her own indelible brand of suspense and intrigue while adhering to the cadence and restrained emotional atmosphere of the original Brontë novel. Anyone who has ever read and loved
Jane Eyre
will be captivated.”

Criminal Element

“A nicely constructed plot . . . An interesting mystery in period style.”

San Francisco Book Review

“Refashions a beloved heroine as a surprisingly canny detective.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A very entertaining, believable extension of
Jane Eyre
 . . . [Slan] has done an impressive job using rich historical details to transport readers back in time.”

RT Book Reviews

“A promising competitor in the popular field of historical mysteries.”

Florida Weekly

“A charming read . . . Smart, sexy, and delightfully fun . . . A well-plotted little mystery, one fans of the genre (and also those of the Victorian novel) are certain to enjoy.”

Life in Naples,


Meritorious Mysteries

“Who would have thought Jane Eyre was such an excellent detective? . . . A great new series in the making and an incredibly fresh story.”

Killer Nashville

“It’s like Jane Eyre walked directly off the pages of Brontë’s
Jane Eyre
and into this book. The transition was flawless.”

Girl Lost in a Book

“Jane Eyre is back! . . . Slan faithfully re-creates the Gothic world of
Jane Eyre
with every bit of the dramatic, intense emotions which made the first story popular . . . If you’re a fan of Gothic and
Jane Eyre
Death of a Schoolgirl
will not disappoint.”

Fresh Fiction

“[A] wonderful mystery. Slan beautifully captures the characters and the atmosphere, the tone of
Jane Eyre
 . . . A compelling, fascinating mystery.”

Lesa’s Book Critiques

“[An] enjoyable continuation of the
Jane Eyre

Stop, You’re Killing Me!

“An extraordinary read! . . . A great way to introduce a new generation to Jane Eyre.”

Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book

“Would that all sagas which left readers wanting more could be continued as skillfully!”

—Molly Weston (
Meritorious Mysteries)
, winner of 2012 MWA Raven Award

Death of

a Dowager

Joanna Campbell Slan


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.


Copyright © 2013 by Joanna Campbell Slan. The Edgar
name is a registered service mark of the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback ISBN: 978-0-425-25351-9

eBook ISBN: 978-1-101-62215-5

An application to register this book for cataloging has been submitted to the Library of Congress.


Berkley Prime Crime trade paperback edition / April 2013

Cover illustration by Alan Ayers.

Cover design by George Long.

Interior design by Laura K. Corless.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

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