My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
In his latest case, Regency investigator, Sebastian St. Cyr becomes involved in a wicked web of political intrigue and murder when the body of a young French doctor is discovered in the slums of London. As Sebastian investigates, he discovers the victim’s connection not only to a secret peace delegation sent by Napoleon, but also his link to the remaining French royals living in exile in England. Was the murder a result of these connections?
The excellent historical research, suspenseful mysteries and wonderful characterization make this one of my absolute favorite series.
In this installment, the mystery revolves around the French Revolution and its aftermath, particularly for the surviving members of the House of Bourbon. As someone whose interest in history has focused mainly on Britain, the details on the French royal family living in exile during Napoleon’s regime and the theories concerning the death of the Dauphin were particularly fascinating. As always, Harris’s research is comprehensive and impeccable.
Sebastian’s investigation is one of the more convoluted in the series with an abundance of suspects, motives, secrets and lies to work through. That said, the ultimate explanation is compelling and believable although the clues to the villain’s identity are somewhat vague, which makes it difficult for the reader to guess.
In terms of the characters, Sebastian and Hero are expecting the birth of their child and the issues of pregnancy and childbirth in the Regency era are at the fore. Sebastian’s concern over his wife’s health and his fear that either she or the baby or both might not survive really brings home just how much she has come to mean to him.
Readers also learn more about Sebastian’s past during his time in the Peninsular War and the horrors that he witnessed.
All in all, a particularly satisfying installment and it will be interesting to see what happens going forward.
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