This is the 12th (!) Sebastian St. Cyr mystery, which means I have come to the end of the published books. I have really enjoyed the entire series, and Ms Harris has done an excellent job of keeping the storylines interesting. Coming to the end of this is probably not a bad thing with the warmer weather and my lack of free time to read as much as before. It also coincides with my 52nd book and reaching Cannonball!
Over the course of three years covered in the books, Sebastian, Lord Devlin, has experienced many changes in his life. He’s gone from a rather tortured soul who grew up believing his father was the Earl of Hendon and his mother was deceased, to discovering things were not what they seemed. He’s married the daughter of a man who hates him, and enjoys the passion and warmth he never realized he needed and has recently become a father himself. While he still struggles to find out information about his past, he has become more relaxed and less haunted than previously.
This book deals with some rather dark and tortured souls however. It begins with the discovery of the body of young boy and it’s soon clear that this was no natural death. Paul Gibson, anatomist and longtime friend of Devlin, has found evidence of torture and rape and Devlin is soon caught up in the investigation. Sadly, while he was aware that there are many young children on the streets, left to survive on their own due to their parents either passing away or being sent to jail for petty crimes, he soon realizes that someone is using these children for sadistic purposes. It’s a bleak picture that is painted, and it’s horrifying to know that these children were perceived as expendable and not worth the time to discover who may have killed them.
Devlin refuses to leave it alone, and his wife Hero is quick to assist him. She is still working on her own crusade to expose the socio-economic problems in London, much to the chagrin of her father, Lord Jarvis. There are a few likely suspects in these crimes, ranging from an exiled French aristocrat, to a young marquis set to marry Devlin’s niece, to a cousin of Hero’s. All men are equally odious, but is it just one man behind the crimes or is it worse than that? As the discovery of more bodies continues, Devlin must use his wits and brawn to bring justice to the forgotten children of London.
The book does leave some loose threads, which I hope Ms Harris will deal with in the next one. There is another unexpected death of one of the characters, for one thing; and the appearance of another cousin of Hero’s, twice widowed Mrs Hart-Davis. Devlin’s relationship with the man who raised him seems to be moving to a better place, but I’m sure Devlin will still continue his quest to find more about his mother. Unfortunately, now I have to wait for the next book!
All in all, this was a great series and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery, mixed with the Regency period. As I’ve said before, it’s not a romance but the relationship that grows between Devlin and Hero is well written and an integral part of the series.