Wednesday, January 25, 2012
What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris
"In London, 1811, a young woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left on the altar steps of an ancient church. The prime suspect: Sebastian St. Cyr, a brilliant young nobleman still haunted by his experiences in the Napoleonic Wars. Now he is running for his life, desperate to catch the killer and prove his innocence. Moving from Mayfair's glittering ballrooms to St. Giles's fetid back alleys, Sebastian is assisted by a band of unlikely allies and pursued by a Machiavellian powerbroker with ties to the Prince Regent himself. What Angels Fear seamlessly weaves an intimate knowledge of the period with a multi-layered and compelling story, and is the first of a series of novels featuring these characters."
A very well-written historical mystery featuring the handsome Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, being accused of a heinous crime. Evidence at the scene of the rape/murder of a beautiful young actress implicates him as the culprit. During his arrest, he escapes and becomes a fugitive of the law while donning several disguises to disappear into the seedy underworld of Regency-era London searching for the real killer. Aided by a young street-wise pickpocketer, the duo set out to prove Sebastian's innocence and uncover a sinister plot of blackmail, love affairs, political intrigue, and spies. So impressed were the magistrates with Sebastian's investigative skills that they recruit him to assist them (unofficially, of course) in future cases!
I enjoyed this fast-moving plot as it kept me guessing how it would all play out. Some graphic descriptions of the murder and sex crime may be a bit much for some readers, so be forewarned. I'm definitely interested in continuing the series as there are several intriguing layers to Sebastian's character that should have interesting possibilities. In the author's note, Harris describes a condition (later called Bithil Syndrome) which gives Sebastian an abnormally keen eyesight and hearing, even the ability to have "night vision," as well as unusually quick reflexes. Pretty good qualities to have if you are an investigator!
Title: What Angels Fear (#1 Sebastian St. Cyr)
Author: C. S. Harris
genre: Regency-era historical mystery