Bingo Square: I Love This
I read all the thirteen existing books of the Sebastian St. Cyr series last year as part of the Cannonball Read 10, so I think the latest book in the series makes for a good fit in the “I Love This” category. Between my deployment and lack of free time (or at least “on my own” time, I was oddly social in Kuwait, even if that simply meant hanging out at work, going to the gym after work with co-workers and chatting with them after the gym to wrap up the day), I hadn’t been paying much attention to book releases or CBR reviews (I’m sorry!). Once I was back home and had started getting through a bit of my Kindle back log, I went on a bit of a CBR inspired book buying spree, and that included looking up series I liked for new release schedules.
The rest of the review is going to have minor to major spoilers for the rest of the series so be forewarned.
Sebastian St. Cyr is not exactly sad when he is called to the scene of Ashworth’s murder. After all, while Sebastian didn’t have enough evidence to connect him to the crimes, Sebastian is well aware that Ashworth played a role in a series of gruesome murders targeting poor children in a previous novel. If anyone deserved to be murdered, it was Ashworth. The only problem is that Ashworth is married to Sebastian’s young niece, and he is afraid suspicion might fall on her. Ashworth was found tied to his bed so on first glance it looks like a tryst gone wrong but that could mean a mistress or a wife. The fact that they found Ashworth’s valet naked and dead in an alley doesn’t help clear up anything, and opens yet more questions.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for Sebastian to realize there might be something more complicated – apparently Ashworth had been flirting with a visiting Russian woman who was part of a visiting royal entourage so it’s questionable whether the murder was personal or politically motivated. Ashworth didn’t exactly lack for enemies and had few friends.
As usual, Harris uses St. Cyr’s wife, Hero, to illuminate the life of the poor in London as Hero continues to conduct interviews with different representatives of the working poor as she continues to gather information for her research into social conditions. While these interludes are also depressing, they are also very educational, and usually also provide Hero insights into the case that would not otherwise have dawned on St. Cyr.
As usual the mystery was solid and enjoyable with moments of danger. Additionally, Harris continues to build the case for there being something not quite right about Hero’s cousin who is currently staying with her father, and while Sebastian has already had some suspicions about that relationship, now Hero is also slowly becoming aware of them. Harris is very good at drawing out the background cases, as she did in the case of Sebastian St. Cyr’s parentage, so I’m curious to see if this plot point will come to a head in the next novel, or if she will continue leave it as a developing suspense point for a few more novels.
I tend to prefer the detective work in these novels and the quieter moments so personally, I wouldn’t mind if at least one of them didn’t involve hired thugs pursuing and threatening Sebastian but I know it helps add to the tension. Although, considering that he always survives, maybe they don’t create that much tension anymore after 14 novels. But that’s a minor quibble in an enjoyable and smart series.
Bingo Square: I Love This