By C.S. Harris
Published Year: 2018
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Where the Dead Lie, a brutal murder draws Sebastian St. Cyr into the web of the royal court, where intrigue abounds and betrayal awaits.
London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose's ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane's murderer to escape justice.
Untangling the secrets of Jane's world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .
I have previously reviewed books 11 and 12 in this series. If you want to check out my review of book 12 you can do so here. Because it is a book in a series, I didn’t really have a first impression.
What I thought
The first book I read in this series was number 11. I enjoyed it more than I expected to, and looked forward to book 12. When I read book 12, I was disappointed. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the 11th, and therefore was a bit wary about book number 13. I am happy to say, I enjoyed this book much more than the 12th and am back on board with this season.
Sebastian St Cyr/Devlin/man of many names that I can never remember or keep straight, is back in London with his wife Hero. Hero is visiting a poor woman for the sake of an article she’s writing, when she and a midwife stumble upon a dead body in the streets during a snowstorm. The body in the street turns out to be the female piano teacher to the princess. Since it would cause scandal for the royals to be connected to a murder, the official reason behind her death is a slip in the streets and hitting her head. However, Hero and Sebastian know that she was murdered, and won’t rest until they found out who did it.
This book was a lot more straight forward than the last one, and therefore more similar to the first one I read. The story focused mainly on Jane (the piano teacher) and who murdered her. It didn’t focus at all on Hero’s or Sebastian’s personal lives. In this way, the story was a lot more like a true murder mystery which I appreciated. As with the other books in this series, I much appreciated that Hero helped out with solving the murder as much as Sebastian did.
Harris made a strong political statement in this novel about the lack of humanity that was given to women in England in the 1800s. Between Jane’s life and Princess Charlotte’s, the message of how little women were allowed to have and do was glaring. While in present day women do have more freedom than the 1800s, it is sad to see how many men still think the same way these men did.
It was also fascinating to learn about some of the politics of old England. I didn’t know about the Whig party, which was made up of radicals. The Whigs stood for taking down the monarchy by getting rid of slavery, helping the poor, and more items that looking back seem pretty common sense. Of course, at the time, these men were thrown into jail for such radical ideals.
I definitely prefer when this series is about the mystery of the murder, and less about the personal dramas in Hero and Sebastian’s lives. I still get irritated by the amount of names and nicknames that are used. I find most of them unnecessary and serve just as confusion.