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When Maiden's Mourn
Sebastian St. Cyr Series, No 7
C S Harris

2012 / ISBN-10: 0451235770
Historical Mystery /England-1812

Reviewed by LJ Roberts

First Sentence: Tessa Sawyer hummed a nervous tune beneath her breath as she pushed through the tangled brush and bracken edging the black waters of the ancient moat.

Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife, Hero Jarvis, married for proprietary due to her pregnancy. There is occasionally passion between them, but not yet trust. Will investigating the murder of Hero's friend Gabrielle Tennyson and disappearance of two children begin to build that bridge? The people's dislike of the Regency, and the continuing myth that King Arthur will return to reign in England lead the investigators from the poorest to the wealthiest areas in search of a killer.

A well-done opening with lyrical, evocative descriptions quickly turns brutal in this new entry to the St. Cyr series. Her inclusion of poetry adds a sense of period and style to the story. She also does a wonderful job of blending the historical information of different periods.

The characters are certainly captivating although the author being more clear as to Sebastian's age might explain the character better. While he has been a soldier in war, there are times he seems quite emotionally immature. The mystery regarding St. Cyr's heritage is an intriguing thread that runs though the series and becomes even more interesting here.

Harris writes with a wonderful style, able to convey the sense of emotional undercurrents without elaborate description. The tentativeness of the relationship between St. Cyr and Hero is very well done. I also appreciated that while Hero is investigating the death of her friend, it is in a manner appropriate to the period.

It is the relationships that provide the central theme of the story and the mystery does, at times, become a bit overwhelmed by them. So much so, in fact, that I had to go back and re-check the ending as I had forgotten one of the critical plot points. That said, however, the story does have a very good twist, effecting more than the plot of this story alone, excellent drama and suspense, and a very well-done ending.

Although I was somewhat disappointed in the previous book, When Maidens Mourn, is a major step in bringing the series back to what made it so appealing in the first place-great characters, wonderful descriptions and quite a well-written plot. It is, however, definitely a series to start from the beginning with What Angels Fear.

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]
What Darkness Brings #8
Why Kings Confess # 9 [review 1] [review 2]
Who Buries the Dead #10 [review 1] [review 2]

Reviewed 2012