Hardcover, 336 pages
What the Devil Knows (Sebastian St. Cyr #16)
It's October 1814. The war with France is finally over and Europe's diplomats are convening in Vienna for a conference that will put their world back together. With peace finally at hand, London suddenly finds itself in the grip of a series of heinous murders eerily similar to the Ratcliffe Highway murders of three years before.
In 1811, two entire families were viciously murdered in their homes. A suspect--a young seaman named John Williams--was arrested. But before he could be brought to trial, Williams hanged himself in his cell. The murders ceased, and London slowly began to breathe easier. But when the lead investigator, Sir Edwin Pym, is killed in the same brutal way three years later and others possibly connected to the original case meet violent ends, the city is paralyzed with terror once more.
Was the wrong man arrested for the murders? Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy turns to his friend Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for assistance. Pym's colleagues are convinced his manner of death is a coincidence, but Sebastian has his doubts. The more he looks into the three-year-old murders, the more certain he becomes that the hapless John Williams was not the real killer. Which begs the question--who was and why are they dead set on killing again?
Nothing makes my day like a new Sebastian St. Cyr mystery! I love the characters in this series. The recuring characters cross the gamut of easy to love to controlling and sinister. C.S. Harris’ latest Sebastian St. Cyr story, set in the Regency period, is What the Devil Knows. Ms. Harris does an excellent job weaving a good mystery with great characters, and interesting historical events perfectly. Her descriptions and storytelling make the events, characters, and setting come to life.
In What the Devil Knows, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin is on the trail of a vicious and brutal murderer. It is unclear to him and the Bow Street runners, how this murder is connected to a string of similar murders three years earlier. Did they arrest the wrong man the first time or is this the work of a copyist? Devlin, working with Sir Henry Lovejoy, is determined to put the clues together and figure out the answer to these questions.
C.S. Harris delivers a tale that is packed with action, intrigue, mystery, and history. (She always gives me at least one historical nugget to research.) What the Devil Knows is littered with murder and unexpected connections that keeps the reader on her toes. Sebastian’s need to stand for the dead is his way of making amends for past actions that often haunt his dreams. By his side, is his wife Hero. She does her part supporting her husband while carving out a life of her own that is against the norm of the time.
I could not put the book down. The plot flows at the right pace and more than once, my stomach was in knots. The secondary characters are vividly portrayed and add additional dimension to the story. Some of the recurring ancillary characters are still a mystery and make me wonder where they will take future stories.
I love the dynamic between Sebastian and Hero. They are one of my favorite fictional couples. They pull you into their world from the first page. Sebastian is a clever mixture of heroic strength, determination, and charisma with a loving heart of gold. Hero is his perfect mate. It was an excellent plan to pair Devlin with Hero. She is tough and determined to change the class system of that time. Like Sebastian, Hero has a big heart for the downtrodden. The way they support one another is touching and melts my heart.
What the Devil Knows has some unexpected twists and turns not only with the mystery but also in Sebastian and Hero’s personal lives. A wonderful read. I am anxious to see what comes next. Don’t wait to read this one! To appreciate the characters completely, I recommend starting at the beginning of the series, but this book will stand alone. A must read for anyone who is a fan of mysteries.
ARC received from NetGalley
An added note for all audiobook lovers. What the Devil Knows, like the other books in this series, is performed by the wonderful Davina Porter. She is among the top in this field. She uses her voice changes to make the characters jump of the page and come to life. She does an amazing job. Her performance keeps me listening to this series multiple times. An excellent story by C. S. Harris and Davina Porter's narration is combination that can't go wrong.
What the Devil Knows is available at your favorite retailer.