Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #9
Published by Penguin on March 4, 2014
Genres: Historical, Mystery
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The gruesome murder of a young French physician draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his pregnant wife, Hero, into a dangerous, decades-old mystery as a wrenching piece of Sebastian’s past puts him to the ultimate test.
Regency England, January 1813: When a badly injured Frenchwoman is found beside the mutilated body of Dr. Damion Pelletan in one of London’s worst slums, Sebastian finds himself caught in a high-stakes tangle of murder and revenge. Although the woman, Alexi Sauvage, has no memory of the attack, Sebastian knows her all too well from an incident in his past—an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him.
As the search for the killer leads Sebastian into a treacherous web of duplicity, he discovers that Pelletan was part of a secret delegation sent by Napoleon to investigate the possibility of peace with Britain. Despite his powerful father-in-law’s warnings, Sebastian plunges deep into the mystery of the �Lost Dauphin,” the boy prince who disappeared in the darkest days of the French Revolution, and soon finds himself at lethal odds with the Dauphin’s sister—the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette—who is determined to retake the French crown at any cost.
With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian must battle new fears about Hero’s health and that of their soon-to-be born child. When he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in a past he has found too terrible to consider....
Sebastian St. Cyr is greatly challenged with this most recent crime. French physician Damion Pelletan is found murdered in the alley of St. Katharines, a poor section of London. His mutilated body was discovered by Paul Gibson after first encountering Damion’s unconscious companion, Alexandrie Sauvage, lying nearby.
The course of the investigation was pretty complicated as it was entangled with French history and politics, as well as English interests and Lord Jarvis. As usual, while there were many suspects, none seem to completely fit when other seemingly related murders entered the fray. I must admit it got too complicated and repetitive at times.
Meanwhile, Sebastian’s relationship with Hero was a highlight of the story. They continue to be an interesting, well-suited couple who enliven the story. There’s also a surprise development involving Paul that I found delightful.
While the investigation felt a little protracted, the superior writing and historical elements still made this an outstanding story. My memory is weak on Napoleonic history and the resurrection of the Bourbons so this was an interesting education. Be sure to read the author’s notes at the end.
This continues to be one of my favorite series.