Why Kings Confess: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

C.S. Harris. NAL/Obsidian, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-41755-8
The past casts a long shadow in Harris’s best Regency whodunit yet, the eighth after 2013’s What Darkness Brings. In January 1813, a case comes to aristocratic sleuth Sebastian St. Cyr, estranged son of the Earl of Hendon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, from his closest friend, Dr. Paul Gibson. On an East London street, Gibson stumbled across a grisly scene—a woman seriously wounded near the butchered corpse of a French physician, Damion Pelletan, whose heart was removed. The murder and assault coincide with a possible turning point in Anglo-Franco relations. The English are considering making peace with Napoleon, a prospect that does not sit well with the French royalists in exile. The powers that be, including St. Cyr’s überpowerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who’s a cousin of the king, attribute the Pelletan murder to a footpad, but the investigator finds that theory unpersuasive, especially after learning the mutilation has resonance for survivors of the Terror who remember that the Dauphine’s heart was removed in an autopsy. Harris melds mystery and history as seamlessly as she integrates developments in her lead’s personal life into the plot. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 03/04/2014
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Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-451-41811-1
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