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What Darkness Brings

by C. S. Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries (8)

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2681970,905 (4.03)42
The death of a notorious London diamond merchant draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his new wife Hero into a sordid world of greed, desperation, and the occult, when the husband of Sebastian's former lover Kat Boleyn is accused of the murder. Central to the case is a magnificent blue diamond, the Hope diamond, believed to have once formed part of the French crown jewels. Set in Regency London: September, 1812.… (more)

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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Sebastian St. Cyr mystery #8
As in an earlier book, the main character, Sebastian, is again coping with troublesome French agents under Bonaparte's command. It was rather fascinating to discover that the famous Hope blue diamond is central to the theme. The body count mounted, which began to feel a bit over the top and in fact I was really irritated about one of the victims (unless there's a development in a later book, I can't see the point of this death).

My usual niggle: Viscount Devlin again investigates with no back up, takes all kinds of punishing knife cuts, and seems to withstand a surprising amount of fisticuffs in pursuit of villains. One begins to just invoke an eye-roll and go with the story, because that's Harris' style.

For all that Devlin is grappling with apparently disconnected murders, he realises that the intrigues reach into higher levels all the way to Prinny. It turns out that the author has created a narrative based on many actual historical events, so I enjoyed the author's after notes as much as the adventure. Generally the story was interesting, but dominated by Devlin and with less involvement of Hero. Tom as an enchanting supporting character has all but disappeared into a minor mention. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 20, 2020 |
As a general observation, I have to admit that the body count in these stories is starting to worry me slightly. Kind of like when I watch too many Midsomer Murders in a row and start to wonder how a small collection of hamlets can have so much murder and mayhem. Of course, it doesn't help when Sebastian finds himself explaining, with increasing frequency, that the blood on his clothes is not his (or not mostly his). That being said, the series continues to intrigue me. Harris has a gift for developing complex characters and giving them complicated relationships. For example, I honestly didn't think the depth of animosity between Lord Devlin and Lord Jarvis could get any worse. Boy, was I mistaken! That is a powder keg just waiting to ignite. As with the previous installment, Harris brings to this story a lovely carat of historical intrigue: this time in the form of the theft/disappearance of the Le bleu de France (the "French Blue") diamond, known today as the Hope diamond. This is probably one of the most tightly woven plots in series so far as Harris weaves fact and fiction effortlessly. Usually at this point - Book 8 in a series - my attention starts to wane. Not so with this series.

Overall, another good murder mystery imbued with a dash of romance, suspense and a swirling of secrets to keep me happily enthralled. ( )
  lkernagh | May 17, 2020 |
Kat’s husband has been arrested for the murder of a diamond merchant. Sebastian tries to clear his name before he is set to hang for the crime since he was found standing over the dead man’s body. The victim isn’t a nice man or honest businessman and there were lots of people that had an axe to grind with him. Also missing is a large blue diamond that used to belong to French royalty and now was in the process of being sold to someone in England. The case is ugly and there turns out to be more connections to Sebastian than just Kat and her husband.
( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jan 6, 2020 |
What Darkness Brings
4 Stars

At the request of his estranged father, Sebastian St. Cyr looks into the death of a wealthy jeweler when Kat Boleyn's new husband, Russell Yates, is arrested for the crime. Sebastian soon learns that the victim was keeping some dark and dangerous secrets and had numerous powerful enemies many of whom were interested in locating an infamous missing blue diamond. As he closes in on the killer, Sebastian must also confront the shadows of his relationship with Kat and decide once and for all whether to remain in the past or move forward with his fearless new wife.

As in the previous books, Sebastian and Hero's developing relationship is the highlight of the story. Hero is an admirable heroine who repeatedly demonstrates that she holds no illusions about the cruelties and inequalities of her society and she is the perfect match for Sebastian in every way. If there is one annoying element it is that Sebastian is still emotionally attached to Kat even though he realizes that he doesn't trust her or believe a word she says. Hopefully, his love for Hero will ultimately eclipse his youthful infatuation with Kat.

While the victim in this installment is one of the more despicable in the series, Harris is, nevertheless, very skilled at making the reader care about truth and justice even for someone who is deserving of neither.

The amalgamation of the fictional mystery with the historical details surrounding the Hope Diamond makes for fascinating reading and ratchets up the tension surrounding the murder investigation.

All in all, a compelling mystery with well-developed and engaging characters. Looking forward to more of Hero and Sebastian in the next book.
( )
  Lauren2013 | May 24, 2018 |
Note: There are necessarily spoilers for previous books in this series.

Background:

This is the eighth book in the historical crime fiction series set in Regency England, this one 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 had an entrée into the upper level of society that would have been denied to the regular police. He agrees because the thought of anybody stealing away someone else’s life is an abomination to him, especially after the traumatic instances of unjust murder he witnessed in the army, and for which he still feels guilt, even though he could not have prevented any of it.

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."

As this book begins, Devlin and Hero have been married almost six weeks (almost two years have elapsed since the first book). Devlin’s former love, Kat Boleyn, comes back into his life however, when her husband, Russell Yates, is arrested for a murder he surely didn’t commit. Devlin’s father, the Earl of Hendon, asks Devlin to see what he can do to find the real killer so that Yates can go free. (It is a great irony in the series that whereas once Hendon was pushing Kat away from Devlin, now that he knows Kat is his daughter, it is Hendon that acts as her protector.)

Also in this story, Daniel Eisler, one of the biggest diamond merchants of London, has been shot to death. More importantly to most people, the diamond he had in his possession, the famous “French Blue,” once part of the French Crown Jewels (and later known as the Hope Diamond) is missing. While there are any number of people who would like to have seen Eisler dead, Devlin is convinced the missing diamond, coveted by both the Prince Regent and Napoleon, inter alia, is related to the crime.

While the bodies pile up in the course of Devlin’s investigation, he also finds himself conscious of the distance that has grown between him and Kat, even though of course, you always remember your first girl.

Additionally, in spite of the acrimony between him and his powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, his feelings for Hero have gotten stronger. [“Sebastian’s history with his father-in-law was defined by a level of antagonism that had included - but was not limited to - physical assault, larceny, attempted murder, and a certain memorable kidnapping incident.”]

But Hero does not have her father’s negative attributes. Her interest in progressive causes delights Devlin. She has involved herself “on everything from Catholic emancipation and the slave trade to labor laws and the economic causes of the current proliferation in the number of prostitutes in London.” Hero’s interests also give the author an opportunity to educate readers on the social currents of the Regency Era. Devlin also enjoys, and benefits from, the wide-range of Hero’s friends who include “brilliant, fascinating, and decidedly unfashionable people, from scholars and poets to reformers and artists.” Neither of them anticipated the deepening of their relationship. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 17, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Harrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murray. DeniseCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shutterstock.comCover imagesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
ThinkstockCover imagesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The gaudy, blabbing and remorseful day
Is crept into the bosom of the sea,
And now loud-howling wolves arouse the jades
That drag the tragic melancholy night;
Who, with their drowsy, slow and flagging wings,
Clip dead men's graves and from their misty jaws
Breath foul contagious darkness in the air.

--William Shakespeare, Henry VI
Part 2, Act 4, Scene 1
Dedication
For

Helen Breitweiser
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London
Sunday, 20 September 1812


The man was so old his face sagged in crinkly, sallow folds and Jenny could see pink scalp through the thin white hair plastered by sweat to his head.
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