Moving depictions of life on London’s mean streets are the best parts of Harris’s 12th Regency-era mystery featuring dashing Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin (after 2016’s When Falcons Fall). Less memorable is the whodunit involving a search for a serial killer preying on children. After Benji Thatcher’s mother was transported to Botany Bay, the 15-year-old street urchin cared for his younger sister, Sybil, until he was abducted, sexually abused, tortured, and killed. The grisly crime comes to Devlin’s attention after a watchman by chance interrupts the burial of the corpse. Devlin fears for Sybil’s safety and worries that the man responsible for Benji’s ordeal has claimed other victims. As in previous books, Devlin crosses swords with his Machiavellian father-in-law, Charles, Lord Jarvis, the “real power behind the Hanovers’ wobbly throne,” who regards the deaths of orphans as trivial compared with the affairs of state. The plot develops predictably, but Harris is better than most in investing even minor characters with sometimes heartbreaking humanity. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 04/04/2017 Genre: Fiction
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