Wednesday, April 13, 2022

When Blood Lies - Historical Mystery Review

Goodreads:  When Blood Lies (Sebastian St Cyr Mysteries #17) by C.S. Harris

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source:   Publisher

Description:  March, 1815. The Bourbon King Louis XVIII has been restored to the throne of France, Napoleon is in exile on the isle of Elba, and Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife, Hero, have traveled to Paris in hopes of tracing his long-lost mother, Sophie, the errant Countess of Hendon. But his search ends in tragedy when he comes upon the dying Countess in the wasteland at the tip of the Île de la Cité. Stabbed—apparently with a stiletto—and thrown from the bastions of the island’s ancient stone bridge, Sophie dies without naming her murderer.

Sophie had been living in Paris under an assumed name as the mistress of Maréchal Alexandre McClellan, the scion of a noble Scottish Jacobite family that took refuge in France after the Forty-Five Rebellion. Once one of Napoleon’s most trusted and successful generals, McClellan has now sworn allegiance to the Bourbons and is serving in the delegation negotiating on behalf of France at the Congress of Vienna. It doesn’t take Sebastian long to realize that the French authorities have no interest in involving themselves in the murder of a notorious Englishwoman at such a delicate time. And so, grieving and shattered by his mother’s death, Sebastian takes it upon himself to hunt down her killer. But what he learns will not only shock him but could upend a hard-won world peace.

Genre: Mystery - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really enjoyed the previous books in this series and have always been intrigued by the story of Sebastian's mother.  

My Impression: I've really come to enjoy this historical mystery series featuring Sebasian St Cyr and his wife Hero.  Sebastian has some family issues which have come up numerous times in the series and are brought into the forefront of this book.  Sebastian is forced to face and reexamine many of the things he thought he knew about himself and his family.

This isn't the fastest paced mystery but the details are so beautifully done that the setting almost becomes its own character.  As well the relationships between the main characters, their families, friends and other people in the world that surrounds them are well drawn and nuanced.  I really enjoyed the French history and spending time in France during this period of upheaval.  It isn't a time period that I know much about and the political and social complications were really interesting.

This is an interesting and well developed series with characters that are unique and mysteries that are layered and intriguing.  If you are looking for an interesting mystery series and don't mind a slower pace this is a must read series.  

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely!  I missed the early books in the series and I'm looking forward to reading those and will be looking forward to the next book.

Would I Recommend this Book?   If you like historical mysteries that are a bit darker than a cozy but without heavy gore or violence this is a great series.

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


  1. I like the audiobooks I’ve read in this series so I’ll go with that. Glad to see you liked it!

  2. This is a series that I really do need to try. It sounds like something that I would enjoy.

  3. I haven't read this series, but it does sound good.

  4. The French history sounds fabulous, this looks like something I'd love.

  5. I've already added this series to my TBR when I first saw it on your blog. This is EXACTLY my type of read and I need to get this series.

    Excellent review Katherine!

    Elza Reads

  6. I love this series but I am only to book 5. I've been buying them all on audio though.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  7. Books that are a little darker than a cozy but not as bloodthirsty as crime books is a good place on a bookshelf. And the French and historical adds more layers.

  8. This series sounds great, and I'm glad you're enjoying it.