The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian’s former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder.
Book eight in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series begins with the death of a despicable old diamond merchant, a man who had dealings with many people including the Prince Regent and Napoleon. The man accused of his death is Russell Yates, once a pirate, now married to Kat Boleyn. Their marriage is in name only, due to his sexual leanings – homosexuals were not looked upon favorably in the past. Still, Kat is fond of him and asks Sebastian to try to find the real killer so that Yates can be released.
Sebastian, Viscount Devlin, agrees to do what he can to help. They have a tangled past relationship – once lovers, then supposedly related and now just friends (of a sort). His own wife, Hero, is pregnant and yet still fiercely independent. His feelings for her continue to mature, and he finds her assistance in his investigations to be quite helpful. This case brings in some real historical facts along with the fictional mystery, among them the appearance of the rare Hope diamond. There are other areas of mystery as the merchant had been dabbling in the occult, and collected arcane historical documents that hinted at magic. Whether this has anything to do with his death is one thing that Devlin needs to work out. As always, Paul Gibson, surgeon and coroner is there to assist. There’s a side story with an old friend of theirs who may have committed suicide and may also be linked to the death of the merchant.
I’m enjoying this series on many levels. The mysteries are always intriguing, and Ms Harris continues to write vivid descriptions of Regency London that bring it to life. Devlin is the dashing, slightly roguish character, not afraid to jump into a situation and get his hands dirty. By the end of this book, he also begins to realize that what he thought he wanted with Kat may not have been the right thing. What he has with Hero is much more grounded, and it will be interesting to see how he handles being a father and what that means for his investigations. The romantic scenes are few and far between, however; it would be nice to get a wee bit more of that!