Author: C. S. Harris
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Book 1
Publication: NAL (November 1, 2005)
Description: It's 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III's England. Then a beautiful young woman is found savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey. A dueling pistol found at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man-Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.
My Thoughts: The first Sebastian St. Cyr mystery begins with Sebastian being accused of the brutal murder of actress Rachel York. Sebastian is the only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon and a soldier who recently sold out after working in intelligence. He has been back in London for about ten months being bored and fighting duels. He sees himself as a cynic but we see not-so-deeply buried tendencies to be a hero.
Not having any faith in the authorities to clear his name, he decides to investigate to find out who killed Rachel York and why she was killed. He goes to an old girlfriend - and the woman he still loves - actress and courtesan, Kat Boleyn, to begin his investigation. Kat has secrets of her own but also still loves Sebastian and agrees to help.
Sebastian has no shortage of suspects. Could it be the actor who was Rachel's first patron? Could Rachel have been spying for the French under the control of spymaster Leo Pierrepont? Could it be one of Rachel's well-connected government lovers? Could it be Sebastian's nephew Bayard who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Rachel?
As Sebastian investigates, with the assistance of street boy Tom, he soon finds that there isn't a simple solution. The more he looks, the more he finds complications involving the politics of the upcoming Regency government.
This was an exciting and twisty tale and an excellent historical mystery.
He couldn't begin to fathom why or how he had come to be named as her murderer. Yet he could place no reliance on the authorities bothering to discover the truth behind what had happened. When a city's detectives were paid a forty-pound reward for each conviction, trye justice was more often than not a victim of avarice.I bought this one for my Kindle on July 16, 2009. You can buy your copy here.