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When Maidens Mourn

by C. S. Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3182258,670 (4.09)43
When Gabrielle Tennyson is murdered, aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new reluctant bride, the fiercely independent Hero Jarvis, find themselves involved in an intrigue concerning the myth of King Arthur, Camelot, and a future poet laureate.
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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
The 7th saga was not nearly as enjoyable as Book 4. It was a story lacking coherence and with too much muddled action in the plot development. Since I read this immediately after #4, the contrast in the two narratives was especially noticeable.

Some of the newer characters were fun to see involved in the mystery, especially Sebastian's valet, Calhoun, first appearing in Where Serpents Sleep. Other past supporting characters (Hero Jarvis, Sebastian's great aunt) come and go on the fringes of the intrigue.

The series a is a fine example of highly distinct personages, well-rounded descriptions and staying fairly true to their personalities. From time to time, as Sebastian casts around considering various suspects, I lost track of who the different family members were within each of the scenarios we are presented. There are some good sequences in this book, but overall, the story doesn't manage to stay very focused. The reader is likely to lose that sense of 'involved engagement' that Harris can usually achieve. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 11, 2020 |
Another great story in this series. I admit, I have yet to encounter anything but great stories so far. Harris continues to provide a compelling story of mystery, suspense and political intrigue, while capturing all the strictures of Regency society. Hero and Sebastian continue to be fascinating characters. Hero, for the fact that beneath her strong, powerful persona lurks a more tender soul, and Sebastian for ... well ... just being Sebastian (he is the perfect hero type for me, what can I say). Their relationship is complex, to put it mildly. A complexity in part due to the family dynamics that abound in this series. If that is not enough to entice you, this story has an extra-special treat for Arthurian/Camelot fans, as Harris cleverly weaves into the story myth/legend and the still contested theory that Arthur's legendary court, Camelot, existed at the very centre of Enfield Chase, in an area known as Camlet Moat. If I was Harris, I would totally use information like this to expand on the already intriguing plots she comes up with.

Overall, another wonderfully crafted story to escape into, for both the mysteries and the on-going development of the characters. ( )
  lkernagh | May 8, 2020 |
When the murder of an Arthurian scholar friend of Hero’s happens, Sebastian is pulled into to investigate. To make mattes worse her two young nephews are also missing. Turns out Hero’s father knows something about Gabrielle before her death and Hero knows it as well but doesn’t share it with her new husband. This is a solid mystery, but it also shows the foundation of Hero and Sebastian’s marriage being built. Another enjoyable read and trying so hard not to binge on the entire series when my TBR is so large. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jan 6, 2020 |
When Maidens Mourn
4 Stars

Sebastian St. Cyr and his new bride are pulled into another case when the body of Hero's friend, Gabrielle Tennyson, is discovered floating in a boat near an archeological dig related to King Arthur's Camelot. When Gabrielle's young cousins are also revealed to be missing, Sebastian and Hero find themselves in a race against time to stop a ruthless killer before it is too late.

An enjoyable addition to the series. The character development is excellent as usual and the inclusion of elements from Arthurian legend is a huge bonus to the literary lover in me. It is always fascinating to realize the extent to which King Arthur's life has influenced British culture.

Sebastian and Hero find themselves working at cross purposes through much of the investigation, but once they begin confiding in one another, both the case and their relationship starts coming together. While it is still the early days of their marriage and they a have yet to completely trust one another, it is becoming clear that they may be formidable as individuals, but as a pair they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately, the murder mystery is the weakest in the series thus far as there are insufficient clues for the reader to figure out the culprit for themselves. Nevertheless, the twists and turns of the investigation are action packed and suspenseful.

All in all, this entire series is fantastic and I am eager to get to the next installment.
( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
Note: There are necessarily spoilers for previous books in this series.

Background:

This is the seventh book in the historical crime fiction series set in Regency England, now in 1812, and featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, the twenty-nine year old Viscount Devlin. In the first book, he was suspected of a murder he did not commit, and had to become something of a Sherlock Holmes to find the real murderer to save his own skin.

In subsequent books, he was consulted on murders that involved the nobility, because he would have an entrée into the upper level of society that would be denied to the regular police. His friend Sir Henry Lovejoy, now one of Bow Street’s three stipendiary magistrates, often goes to Devlin for his access to the wealthy and wellborn.

Devlin is aided by the counsel of his friend, the surgeon Paul Gibson, who serves as a Watson to St. Cyr’s Holmes, as well as by Sir Henry Lovejoy, now a "Bow Street Runner" (detective) who has become a friend of Devlin’s. Devlin also has his 13-year-old horse handler Tom, a former street urchin, to do reconnaissance work for him.

You may also wish to consult my post on "An Introduction to the Regency Era."

This book picks up only four days after the previous one (and eighteen months since the first), which ended with the wedding of Devlin and Hero Jarvis. The two discussed going on a honeymoon at his country estate, but their trip is cancelled when they learn that Hero’s friend, Gabrielle Tennyson, has been murdered, and Gabrielle's two young nephews - who were with her - are missing and feared to be dead as well.

Gabrielle was a student of antiquities who had been working on the excavation of a site, “Camlet Moat,” suspected to be the ancient site of King Arthur’s Camelot. Her investigations were causing consternation at official levels, since social and political unrest has led to calls for King Arthur “to return from the mists of Avalon and save Britain from the benighted rule of the House of Hanover.” Since the Prince Regent is distressed over the broadsheets calling for Arthur’s return, it has also become the concern of the power behind the throne, Charles, Lord Jarvis (who happens to be Hero’s father).

So far, the marriage between Devlin and Hero has been tentative:

“They were strangers to each other in many ways, their marriage one born of necessity and characterized by wary distrust leavened by a powerful current of passion, a grudging respect, and a playful kind of rivalry.”

Yet Devlin’s admiration for Hero has been growing, for her enthusiasm for scholarship and research, her willingness to challenge societal expectations and prejudices, and her astounding courage and resourcefulness.

Devlin watches Hero at her dressing table,

“And he knew it again, that baffling swirl of admiration and desire combined with a troubling sense that he was losing something he’d never really had. Something that was more than passion and far, far different from obligation or honor or duty.”

Hero attributes his obviously growing feelings to the baby she is carrying, assuming he wants a son to be his heir, a theory she presents to him.:

“He smiled. ‘Actually, I’m counting on a girl - a daughter every bit as brilliant and strong and fiercely loyal to her sire as her mother.”

He wanted to tell her too:

“…that he’d realized how important she was to him even as he’d felt himself losing her without ever having actually made her his. He wanted to tell her that he’d learned a man could come to love again without betraying his first love.”

But he doesn’t, and is almost killed in finally solving the crime. Later, Hero asks him if the offer of a honeymoon is still open. . . . ( )
  nbmars | Dec 15, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Harrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murray, DeniseCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.comCover imagessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Out flew the web and floated wide,
The mirror crack'd from side to side,
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
"The Lady of Shalott"
The place at which he stopped was no more than a mound,
partly surrounded by a ditch, from which it derived the name
of Camlet Moat. A few hewn stones there were, which had
escaped the fate of many others . . . vestiges, just sufficient to
show that "here in former times the hand of man had been."
- Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832)
The Fortunes of Nigel
Dedication
For my cousin

Kaitlyn Johnston
First words
Camlet Moat, Trent Place, England
Sunday, 2 August 1812


Tessa Sawyer hummed a nervous tune beneath her breath as she pushed through the tangled brush and bracken edging the black waters of the ancient moat.
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