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Ayleswick-on-Teme, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has come to this seemingly peaceful Shropshire village to honor a slain friend and on a quest to learn more about his own ancestry. But when the body of a lovely widow is found on the banks of the River Teme, a bottle of laudanum at her side, the village's inexperienced new magistrate turns to St. Cyr for help.
Almost immediately, Sebastian realizes that Emma Chance did not, in truth, take her own life. Less easy to discern is exactly how she died, and why. For as Sebastian and Hero soon discover, Emma was hiding both her true identity and her real reasons for traveling to Ayleswick. Also troubling are the machinations of Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the megalomaniac French Emperor Napoleon. Held captive under the British government's watchful eye, the younger Bonaparte is restless, ambitious, and treacherous.
Sebastian's investigation takes on new urgency when he discovers that Emma was not the first, or even the second, beautiful young woman in the village to die under suspicious circumstances. Home to the eerie ruins of an ancient monastery, Ayleswick reveals itself to be a dark and dangerous place of secrets that have festered among the villagers for decades--and a violent past that may be connected to Sebastian's own unsettling origins. And as he faces his most diabolical opponent ever, he is forced to consider what malevolence he's willing to embrace in order to destroy a killer.
- ISBN-13: 9780451471161
- ISBN-10: 0451471164
- Publisher: Berkley Books
- Publish Date: March 2016
- Page Count: 368
- Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries (Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-01-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Harris’s strong 11th Regency whodunit (after 2015’s Who Buries the Dead) takes nobleman Sebastian St. Cyr to Shropshire in 1813. Two years earlier, Sebastian learned that he was a bastard. Recently, he met Jamie Knox, who may have been his half-brother, but Jamie was shot dead in London by someone who was aiming for Sebastian, and Sebastian has now taken it on himself to deliver a present to Jamie’s grandmother in the village of Ayleswick-sur-Teme. There he’s recruited by the callow local squire, Archie Rawlins, after a woman’s body is discovered in a meadow. The presence of an empty bottle of laudanum near the corpse leads the constable to consider the death self-inflicted, but Archie has his doubts, which Sebastian is able to validate. The victim is identified as Emma Chance, a widow who just arrived in the village. The presence in the area of Napoleon Bonaparte’s renegade brother Lucien enhances the intricate murder puzzle. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Mar.)