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Why Kings Confess

by C. S. Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries (9)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2352082,038 (4.11)38
"The gruesome murder of a young French physician draws aristocratic investigator Sebastian St. Cyr and his pregnant wife, Hero, into a dangerous, decades-old mystery as a wrenching piece of Sebastian's past puts him to the ultimate test. Regency England, January 1813: When a badly injured Frenchwoman is found beside the mutilated body of Dr. Damion Pelletan in one of London's worst slums, Sebastian finds himself caught in a high-stakes tangle of murder and revenge. Although the woman, Alexi Sauvage, has no memory of the attack, Sebastian knows her all too well from an incident in his past-an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him. As the search for the killer leads Sebastian into a treacherous web of duplicity, he discovers that Pelletan was part of a secret delegation sent by Napoleon to investigate the possibility of peace with Britain. Despite his powerful father-in-law's warnings, Sebastian plunges deep into the mystery of the "Lost Dauphin," the boy prince who disappeared in the darkest days of the French Revolution, and soon finds himself at lethal odds with the Dauphin's sister-the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette-who is determined to retake the French crown at any cost. With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian must battle new fears about Hero's health and that of their soon-to-be born child. When he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in a past he has found too terrible to consider.... "--… (more)

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
There was a more political situation for the murder mystery in this novel (#9). Since it surrounded Louis XVII, (the so-called "Lost Dauphin", son of beheaded King Louis XVI), the story was a great deal more convoluted for me. I knew very little of this period in the French revolution. Fortunately, Harris made a very smooth intertwining of this backstory which enlightens the uninformed reader.

Less clear was the involvement of the various French scroundels manoeuvering in the peace negotiations with the British. Neither was it an adroit involvement of the Italian-trained French physician, Alexi Sauvage, a woman known all too well by Sebastian.

However, the characters and the suspenseful action were engaging and did not disappoint in delivering an interesting story. As well, it was a relief that finally (!) Hero gave birth to the baby and under very trying circumstances. The historical details of the regency-period practices to manage the women in the upper classes 'confinement' were quite the revelation. As before, Harris' afterword is well-worth reading for explanation of fact versus fiction.

Note: On advice from another LT member, I avoided reading the treatment of the imprisoned "Lost Dauphin". For me, it was a really fast skim and move on. I probably didn't miss the insinuations nor lose any salient details pertaining to St. Cyr's efforts in narrowing suspects. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jul 29, 2020 |
Okay, the series is starting too wane, just a tad, for me. Not series fatigue, as I continue to be intrigued by the character relationships and developments. More a lack of interest in the historical topic Harris weaves into this installment: the mystery surrounding King Louis XVI of France's young son, Louis-Charles (Louis XVII, the "Lost Dauphin"). I have never really taken much interest in the last royal family to rule France before the Revolution and the rise of the French republic. Even so, it is always fun to speculate "what ifs" given rumours that the Dauphin escaped his prison and survived. A quick skim of history shows that Harris continues to exhibit a skill to effortlessly weave fact (and rumour) with fiction in creating her stories. As with previous installments, unraveling the mystery is a complicated matter. A lot of different lines of questioning to consider. I "thought" I had the murderer pegged, but the author managed to present the murderer in a manner that I must applause. Murder is never as simple as one might think or assume, so kudos for that. Even better, this time we actually get to see a potential new romantic interest, this time for Sebastian's Irish surgeon friend, Paul Gibson, so yes, I was rather giddy about that new development.

Overall, continuing to enjoy this series. ( )
  lkernagh | May 29, 2020 |
I enjoy this series but I like them better when the main plot doesn’t involve politics as this one did. I had waited a while to read this because I knew from the synopsis I might not like it as much as the others in the series. Well, I didn’t but I also had forgotten during the hiatus from the series how much I enjoyed the main characters and how well this author writes. So, while I still wasn’t that interested in the plot, I still enjoyed this novel because of all of the complicated characters, new and old, and the dramatic reveals throughout the novel. It was so nice to be back in Sebastian’s world. I hope the next book has more of Hero. ( )
  twinkley | Apr 20, 2020 |
This story has to do with the French royalty in exile and the forthcoming birth of Sebastian and Hero’s child. Sebastian also meets up with someone from his past that he doesn’t trust but does help out Hero. At this point in the series the same things keep happening, he will clash with Jarvis, someone will be offended that he is trying to solve the murder, Gibson will do an autopsy on the body and Sebastián will talk to at least one member of his family circle. Not knocking it at all just makes for a nice comfort read. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jan 6, 2020 |
Great book, as usual, and, as usual, the book was finished too quick and now to the agony of waiting for the next book...next year. I miss the time in my life when I first started to read the Sebastian St. Cyr books and had a couple to devour. ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. S. Harrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lawrence, Sir ThomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, WillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper,
but whoso confesseth and foresaketh them shall have mercy.


--Provers 28:13
Dedication
For Ellen Edwards
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St. Katharine's, East London
Thursday, 21 January 1813


Paul Gibson lurched down the dark, narrow lane, his face raw from the cold, his fingers numb.
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