cover image When Blood Lies: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

When Blood Lies: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

C.S. Harris. Berkley, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-10269-5

Bestseller Harris’s standout 17th Sebastian St. Cyr mystery (after 2021’s What the Devil Knows) provides an early gut-punch for her aristocratic detective. St. Cyr has wondered about his lineage since learning that the man he had thought his father, the Earl of Hendon, was not. In 1815, St. Cyr and his wife travel to Paris in the hopes of discovering the truth from his mother, Sophie, who abandoned her family 20 years earlier, faked her death, and is now the mistress of one of the exiled Napoleon’s most trusted generals. To his horror, he chances upon Sophie near the Seine, having apparently fallen from a bridge, with a stab wound in her back. Sophie dies soon afterward, but the authorities are uninterested in treating the fatality as a homicide. St. Cyr presses on and learns that his mother recently visited Napoleon on Elba, a dangerous step given the French government’s fears that the former emperor may be planning a return to power. Harris makes the torment of her lead palpable even to newcomers and perfectly balances the personal aspects of the case with detection. This long-running series remains as fresh as ever. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Apr.)