It’s been about four months since Sebastian St. Cyr solved the murder case of the previous novel, and while he declined Sir Henry Lovejoy’s request to assist with further murder cases involving the upper classes, he soon finds himself wrapped up in another investigation when a dead body is found in the bedroom of the Prince Regent. The House of Hanover already has popularity issues between the mad King, a violent son and the Prince Regent’s spending habits. Adding the ability to get away with murder to the list would have catastrophic results for the Empire, and unfortunately, most of the constables are too afraid to investigate the death, instead calling a dagger to the back a suicide. Lord Jarvis knows the Prince Regent must be cleared but in a way that isn’t ludicrously unbelievable, and convinces Sebastian to pursue the case by making it personal. After all, once Sebastian sees that Guinevere, the Marchioness of Anglessey, is wearing a necklace that he thought sank to the bottom of the English Channel along with his mother, he is motivated to get to the bottom of the odd circumstances surrounding the death and potentially find answers about his mother.
Like in the last novel, Harris packs in quite a bit of plot, and has a decent amount of trails and motivations for Guin’s death. Is it possible that she had a lover and her husband, 50 years her senior is responsible? Or his nephew and heir as long as Guin doesn’t have a son? If there was a lover, was he jealous of something? Or did the Regent do something after all?
I enjoyed this one as well, but hope the next novel is a more “straight forward” murder case and doesn’t involve more political intrigue and conspiracies like the first two. My tolerance for those only goes so far. I will say, though, that I appreciated this novel’s references and connections to Wales since I have also been working my way through Sharon Penman’s Welsh Prince trilogy. In addition to the murder, the novel also progressed Sebastian’s personal life and what I would call the plot of the main series. Kat and he are still together, but she refuses to marry him because his marriage to an actress would destroy his standing and his relationship with his father, and she has some secrets about the past six years she doesn’t want to reveal.
I am really enjoying the cast of reoccurring characters in this series as well, including Tom, the former pick pocket, Dr. Paul Gibson, the Army buddy and surgeon, Sir Henry Lovejoy, the chief constable, and Sebastian’s father, and want to see more father-son interactions going forward.