October 31, 2011

What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear is the first entry in the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris, of which there are now seven. Sebastian is Viscount Devlin, the only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon. As a gentlemen of leisure Sebastian has a lot of time on his hands -- and much to his father's disgust he spends most of that time either with the beautiful actress Kat Boleyn, or fighting in duels.

In What Angels Fear, the mutilated body of a young woman is found in a church near Westminster Abbey, and evidence left at the scene points to Sebastian. Graced with a quick wit, athletic prowess, and an uncanny ability to see in the dark, Sebastian is the perfect man to investigate crimes, and he sets out to prove his own innocence. Luckily his old army friend, Paul Gibson, is a gifted surgeon unafraid to experiment in the very rudimentary forms of forensic science available in 1811, and willing to do anything to help Devlin.

Meanwhile, Hendon rather wants to murder Sebastian for getting involved in something so beneath him. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Lord Hendon is a prominent Tory, which causes magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy to wonder if the case against Devlin is being influenced by the mysterious Lord Jarvis, leader of the Whigs and advisor to the Prince Regent. Before the book ends, the lives of Devlin, Hendon, Jarvis, and Kat Boleyn will all be intertwined in ways they never would have suspected.

If you like historical fiction or romantic suspense, I highly recommend these books! The first one is quite good, but they get even better as the series goes on. Sebastian hones his detecting skills and creates a close working relationship with Sir Henry Lovejoy as time goes on. His star-crossed relationship with Kat Boleyn also develops into a seemingly insoluble quagmire. I really enjoy how C.S. Harris manages to weave the elements of romance and historical fact into the mysteries, and creates an arresting main character and an addicting series as she does it!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Maybe. The main crime is a bit gory, and there are some steamy scenes between Kat and Sebastian.

Do you like historical mysteries? Or do you prefer more modern settings?


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