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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review - When Maidens Mourn

I reviewed the book prior today's, Where Shadows Dance (click here).  We join Sebastian and his new wife just a few days into their marriage.   Nothing with Sebastian is simple, so his marriage, along with this latest case, are no exception.

 Author:  C.S. Harris

Copyright:  March 2012 (NAL) 352 pgs

Series:  7th in A Sebastian St. Cyr

Sensuality:  mild references

Mystery Sub-genre:  Historical amateur Sleuth

Main Character:  Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero

Setting:  1812, London and Camlot Moat England

Obtained Through:  Publisher for an honest review

A friend of Hero's, Gabrielle Tennyson, is found murdered where she was conducting research to prove the location of Camelot.  Her two young nephews, who were with her, are missing and a massive search for the boys begins.  Stumped by the murder, the local constable welcomes Sebastian St. Cyr's assistance with the investigation.  Hero and Sebastian are newly married and have not come to trust each other yet, so they are working on the murder separately.  Both struggle with a relationship that neither envisioned, nor for the blossoming feelings for each other.

Sebastian and Hero are stilted in several of their scenes together.  I understand the author is showing their difficult position, but at times the flow was bumpy.  This edition shows how Hero is trying to be a good daughter, even though her new husband and father are sworn enemies.  Hero is in a difficult spot because she knows her father will resort to murder if he thinks it is for Britain's best good, while she shares many of Sebastian's views on justice for all.  Both characters, and their relationship, are developed.  The victim, Gabrielle Tennyson, is a fascinating character even in death.  A deadly new character, apparently a smuggler, brings up suspicions, since he looks very much like Sebastian - including the yellow eyes.  There is a French  lieutenant prisoner of war that was a memorable portrayal.

The historical setting is vibrant and teaming with atmosphere while maintaining the blunt realities of the times. The investigating seems a little aimless, possibly because there were several differing clues to follow.  The mystery has a sense of urgency since the two boys are missing.  The solution to the murder was not expected and a little anti-climatic in honesty.  The reader is led by many red-herrings and the  real motive was...mundane.  The climax had some deadly turns that paid off well.  The finish was satisfying and a smooth setup for the next book.

Overall an enjoyable outing with Sebastian and Hero, with some poignant moments, although not as challenging of a mystery.  It introducing some complications and promises some surprises for the next book. 


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