Who Buries the Dead by C. S. Harris

Posted November 1, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 2 Comments

Who Buries the Dead by C. S. HarrisWho Buries the Dead by C. S. Harris
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #10
Published by NAL on March 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The grisly murder of a West Indies slave owner and the reappearance of a dangerous enemy from Sebastian St. Cyr’s past combine to put C. S. Harris’s “troubled but compelling antihero” (Booklist) to the ultimate test in this taut, thrilling mystery.

London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.

Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

But as one brutal murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Sinclair, Lord Oliphant, that dramatically raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific wartime act of carnage and betrayal. Now the vindictive former colonel might well pose a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds most dear.


icon historicalIcon MURDER MYSTERYicon well written

Sebastian St. Cyr is drawn to a case where the victim, Stanley Preston, was beheaded after being stabbed. Preston was the cousin of the Home Secretary so it is a high profile murder with a host of equally high profile suspects, including Simon Oliphant. Needless to say, it puts Sebastian and his family in the killer’s crosshairs.

This was one of the more intriguing stories in the series. I especially liked how historical figures such as Jane Austen and Henry Addington were skillfully incorporated into the plot. The author created an environment that could be construed to have impacted Austen’s stories. And, England’s macabre history of beheadings was center stage.

It was also lovely to see Sebastian and Hero’s relationship continue to deepen. Even her research of the world of costermongers (had never heard of them before) created a perfect backdrop for much of the story, described so vividly I could easily picture their existence and the contrast to the gentry.

I loved everything about this story, including its moral conflicts and historical relevance. There were many surprises and the level of danger was more palpable than the others. I’m saddened, though, that I’ll be caught up after the next book. I’ve looked forward to my monthly Sebastian fix.

About C. S. Harris

Candice Proctor, aka C.S. Harris and C.S. Graham, is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series written under the name C.S. Harris, the new C.S. Graham thriller series co-written with Steven Harris, and seven historical romances. She is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of the French Revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty different languages.

Candice graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude with a degree in Classics before going on to earn an MA and Ph.D. in history. A former academic, she has taught at the University of Idaho and Midwestern State University in Texas. She also worked as an archaeologist on a variety of sites including a Hudson’s Bay Company Fort in San Juan Island, a Cherokee village in Tennessee, a prehistoric kill site in Victoria, Australia, and a Roman cemetery and medieval manor house in Winchester, England. Most recently, she spent many years as a partner in an international business consulting firm.

The daughter of a career Air Force officer and university professor, Proctor loves to travel and has spent much of her life abroad. She has lived in Spain, Greece, England, France, Jordan, and Australia. She now makes her home in New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband, retired Army officer Steve Harris, her two daughters, and an ever-expanding number of cats.

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2 responses to “Who Buries the Dead by C. S. Harris

  1. Woohoo! Glad you loved this one, too. This series is one of my all-time favs and I can barely wait out each year for the new release. It was neat seeing Sebastian and Hero working on the case from different angles and also seeing how the mystery tied in to the real life happenings of the time.