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When Maidens Mourn
Sebastian St. Cyr, No 7
C S Harris

NAL Hardcover
March 6, 2012 / ISBN: 0451235770
Historical Mystery / 1812 / Regency England

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

When Maidens Mourn begins with Viscount Sebastian St. Cyr meeting Bow Street Magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy at a murder scene. The two have a mutual respect and work well together. The murder took place at Camlet Moat, a reportedly haunted Moat, now reputed to be the original Camelot, or at least the victim was trying to prove it was. Locals say Camlet Moat is a place of magic and apparitions, including the white lady and a Templar knight. Camlet Moat is often visited on Lammas (an ancient pagan holy day) by young women.

The victim is Gabrielle Tennyson. She was the 28yr old daughter of famous scholar. Gabrielle had the reputation of an antiquary. She was also fiercely independent and intelligent, and did not suffer fools lightly. She was also a close friend of Hero Jarvis, the Viscount's new wife. Missing are the two nephews who were staying with Gabrielle.

Adding to the mystery is a conversation between Hero and her father, Lord Charles. Lord Charles is Viscount Sebastian's greatest enemy. Even more false leads abound as Hero and Sebastian take different paths to solve the murder. Hero is hoping her path doesn't lead to Lord Charles' door. The relationship of these newlyweds is quite unique. They are a handsome, intellectual couple, but for now, the Viscount seems to be the only one with integrity. The relationship runs hot and cold, just a slight resemblance to a romance novel, but it doesn't distract from the mystery.

I had yet to experience this series until When Maidens Mourn. Now I regret not picking it up sooner. The mystery is well-written - plenty of cliffhanger moments. The storyline flows as characters interact. The historical backdrop is ideal, of course, since the author has a degree in Classics and a Ph.D. in European history. I found the characters addictive, even Hero's evil father. The further I read the deeper I sank into the 1812 atmosphere. Sebastian and Hero are quite the interrogators. Every time they questioned a suspect or witness I wanted to stick around and see his/her reaction after a main character exited the scene. Harris' Regency world drew me in that deep! Now I have to find the first six in series and play catch up.

Highly recommend.

Reviews of other titles in the series

What Angels Fear # 1
When Gods Die # 2
Where Serpents Sleep # 4
Where Shadows Dance # 6
When Maidens Mourn #7 [review 1] [review 2]
Why Kings Confess # 9 [review 1] [review 2]
Who Buries the Dead #10 [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewed 2012