Monday, April 20, 2020

Who Speaks for the Damned - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  Who Speaks for the Damned (Sebastian St. Cyr #15) by C.S. Harris

Rating:  Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: It's June 1814, and the royal families of Austria, Russia, and the German states have gathered in London at the Prince Regent's invitation to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon and the restoration of monarchical control throughout Europe. But the festive atmosphere is marred one warm summer evening by the brutal murder of a disgraced British nobleman long thought dead.
Eighteen years before, Nicholas Hayes, the third son of the late Earl of Seaford, was accused of killing a beautiful young French émigré and transported to Botany Bay for life. Even before his conviction, Hayes had been disowned by his father. Few in London were surprised when they heard the ne'er-do-well had died in New South Wales in 1799. But those reports were obviously wrong. Recently Hayes returned to London with a mysterious young boy in tow--a child who vanishes shortly after Nicholas's body is discovered.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is drawn into the investigation by his valet, Jules Calhoun. With Calhoun's help, Sebastian begins to piece together the shattered life of the late Earl's ill-fated youngest son. Why did Nicholas risk his life and freedom by returning to England? And why did he bring the now-missing young boy with him? Several nervous Londoners had reason to fear that Nicholas Hayes had returned to kill them. One of them might have decided to kill him first.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I've read the last few and really enjoyed them and the blurb on this one really caught my attention.

My Impression:  This book started off with one of my major book deal breakers - a child in peril.  But I've really liked the previous books so I decided to trust the author.  I took a deep breath and continued on and I'm so glad I did.  For those that are sensitive to this particular topic like I am let me just say which I don't think will be a spoiler or ruin the mystery - it really is okay and you'll be happy with the way everything works out.

This was quite an intriguing mystery.  Even more then halfway through I had so many questions and no real hint.  Who had killed Nicholas?  Why had Nicholas really come back to England?  What had really happened all those years ago?  And just who was Nicholas really?  While I had no clue I desperately wanted to know more and really enjoyed diving into the story each time I picked up the book. 

I really enjoy this series.  It's a bit darker then a cozy with more of a procedural mystery feel but I've never found it to get too grizzly.  It reminds me a bit of Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby series but with less emotional focus on the main characters.  While I think you can read this series starting at this book I do recommend you start at the beginning or at least closer to the beginning as both Sebastian and his wife Hero have some complicated relationships. 

If you're looking for a solid historical mystery with a good pace and a plot that keeps you picking up the book I don't think you could go wrong with this series!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  I really want to go back and pick up the earlier books that I've missed and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical mysteries - or just a good mystery in general I think you would love this series.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I really need to start this series. Maybe my library will have the first book. Thanks for the warning about a child in peril. Not a deal breaker for me, but definitely something I prefer to know in advance.

  2. I feel like this is a series that I would like. I am glad that your trust in the author worked out. Great review!

  3. I wish my library had this series as I have been wanting to try it!

  4. Good pace and plot and suspense and things that work out fine are what I like!

  5. I know you are a big fan of historical mysteries. I think I need to give them a second chance. I have way too many fantasies on my TBR.