At the end of the year we start asking ourselves questions. Did I do all I planned for the year? Am I satisfied with my life? How did I spend my Christmas bonus so quickly?
Q is for Questions. And who asks lots and lots of questions? Well, small children. Usually in the middle of an important over in the cricket or while you’re telling their mother an inappropriate story. But also detectives; and don’t I just have a tonne of detective novels stored up in the pile. And what a great excuse in these festive and ‘light-reading’ times to get back into some Regency murder. That’s correct my cravat-wearing, cobblestone-strolling aristocrats, it’s time for another Sebastian St Cyr mystery.
There’s something about a southern hemisphere Christmas which makes me look forward to lolling about on a verandah with a reading indulgence or a favourite friend. And a Viscount Devlin mystery fits both these criteria. In the latest novel by CS Harris, What Remains of Heaven, Sebastian is asked to investigate the murder of the Bishop of London in a recently opened crypt and that of the 30-year-old corpse the bishop’s somewhat fresher body was found lying next to. At the same time, Sebastian’s relatives continue to attempt to marry him off, an old army colleague is trying to murder him, and he and Hero Jarvis (daughter of the evil and powerful Charles, Lord Jarvis) keep sidestepping a rather important conversation.
I am yet to find a St Cyr novel which disappoints, though perhaps this one is a little tamer than the others. Mind you, there is still a crime to be solved; action and attacks, intrigue and interest, close calls and clues—both to the murder and to Sebastian’s past. Perhaps I’m just impatient that I didn’t discover some of the information about Sebastian’s parentage that I wanted to, nor get to see a couple of plot developments I’m waiting on (and am now assuming will be revealed in the next instalment). Perhaps I was just disappointed that our hero didn’t spend any time in the bath in this novel…
One day, CS Harris’ mysteries/romances will be made into a TV series and the lucky man performing as our Lord Devlin will become a heart-throb the likes of who we haven’t seen since that time some bloke called Colin Firth played Mr Darcy. In the meantime, while the tube-watching masses are ignorant of the existence of Sebastian St Cyr, we the book-reading (and sometimes tube-watching) population can pour ourselves a refreshing cocktail, settle into a comfy chair on the balcony, put our feet up on the rail and indulge in these well-written, elegantly entertaining and fun-to-read novels.*
* In previous posts discussing these novels I have stated that they also suit stay-in-bed winter weather. I think we can thus conclude that Sebastian St Cyr mysteries can be read at all times, in all seasons.