Who Slays the Wicked (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Book 14)

Written by C.S. Harris
Review by Loyd Uglow

At one time, Sebastian St. Cyr, himself, had been hunted for crimes he did not commit. Now, however, on a spring day in 1814, the law is looking for him for quite a different reason. Magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy wants his services in solving a grisly crime, the murder of young Viscount Ashworth, a wealthy nobleman and son of an even wealthier peer. What makes this a special crime is that Ashworth has the reputation, well-earned, of being a man of sadistic and insatiable sexual appetites that he has made little attempt to hide. But for St. Cyr, another element is of extraordinary significance—just months earlier, Ashworth had wed St. Cyr’s beautiful niece, Stephanie.

It is a portentous year for England, with Napoleon at last reeling before the allied great powers. Judicious royal marriages will ensure peace during this coming new order, and one candidate for such a marriage, the Russian Czar’s stunning sister Catherine, is in London. St. Cyr must sift through this and other connections to Ashworth as more people turn up dead, seemingly victims to random crime.

The tale is a first-rate mystery, plain and simple, set against the backdrop of Regency England. Author Harris deftly presents gruesome and depraved crimes in a manner that retains their impact without sinking into obscenity. The book may engender admiration for the ability of Britons to keep track of the multiple names of aristocrats. For example, the Viscount Devlin, St. Cyr is sometimes referred to as Devlin. The story is well-paced and intriguing, with strong characterization at all levels, and it builds to a suspenseful and satisfying finish. I’ll want to read more of St. Cyr’s adventures.