Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has spent years unraveling his family’s tragic history. But the secrets of his past will come to light in this gripping new historical mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of What the Devil Knows.
March, 1815. The Bourbon King Louis XVIII has been restored to the throne of France, Napoleon is in exile on the isle of Elba, and Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife, Hero, have traveled to Paris in hopes of tracing his long-lost mother, Sophie, the errant Countess of Hendon. But his search ends in tragedy when he comes upon the dying Countess in the wasteland at the tip of the Île de la Cité. Stabbed—apparently with a stiletto—and thrown from the bastions of the island’s ancient stone bridge, Sophie dies without naming her murderer.
Sophie had been living in Paris under an assumed name as the mistress of Maréchal Alexandre McClellan, the scion of a noble Scottish Jacobite family that took refuge in France after the Forty-Five Rebellion. Once one of Napoleon’s most trusted and successful generals, McClellan has now sworn allegiance to the Bourbons and is serving in the delegation negotiating on behalf of France at the Congress of Vienna. It doesn’t take Sebastian long to realize that the French authorities have no interest in involving themselves in the murder of a notorious Englishwoman at such a delicate time. And so, grieving and shattered by his mother’s death, Sebastian takes it upon himself to hunt down her killer. But what he learns will not only shock him but could upend a hard-won world peace.
Bestseller Harris's standout 17th Sebastian St. Cyr mystery (after 2021's What the Devil Knows) provides an early gut-punch for her aristocratic detective. St. Cyr has wondered about his lineage since learning that the man he had thought his father, the Earl of Hendon, was not. In 1815, St. Cyr and his wife travel to Paris in the hopes of discovering the truth from his mother, Sophie, who abandoned her family 20 years earlier, faked her death, and is now the mistress of one of the exiled Napoleon's most trusted generals. To his horror, he chances upon Sophie near the Seine, having apparently fallen from a bridge, with a stab wound in her back. Sophie dies soon afterward, but the authorities are uninterested in treating the fatality as a homicide. St. Cyr presses on and learns that his mother recently visited Napoleon on Elba, a dangerous step given the French government's fears that the former emperor may be planning a return to power. Harris makes the torment of her lead palpable even to newcomers and perfectly balances the personal aspects of the case with detection. This long-running series remains as fresh as ever.
Another great addition to Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries
While it was heartbreaking that Sebastian would finally find his mother only to lose her before they could meet again, at least Sophie was able to see her son and call out to him before she died. Wonderful backdrop of 1815 Paris. The complexity of that time was cleverly woven in the mystery and the puzzle pieces finally fit together. Now we need the next book in the series.