Who Slays the Wicked cover

Review: Who Slays the Wicked

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

Who Slays the Wicked coverAuthor: C. S. Harris;
Genre: Historical mystery;
Format: Paperback (341 pages);
Publisher: Penguin Random House by Berkeley Marketing (2019);
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5).

This was another good volume in this popular series of historical mysteries set in Regency London. Sebastian St. Cyr must find the killer of his dastardly nephew-in-law, the same one who figured prominently and horribly in a previous book.

The trouble is, there are so many suspects! Ashworth was hated by so many people, including Sebastian’s own niece, that the vicount has a tough time narrowing down the field. He goes through the usual investigation, asking questions of everyone that might know something, and has to wrestle with his love of his niece while wondering if she actually killed her husband.

The mystery itself was very good, and the writing is typically skillful; Ms. Harris knows her history, and her descriptions and the included exposition are great. I normally don’t try to guess the killer ahead of time, and I was surprised by the reveal.

The characters range from a street sweeper to a Russian Princess, and Sebastian’s access to everyone is convenient for his work. Sometimes I think it’s too convenient, as there is little challenge trying to interview the suspects and witnesses. They all seem to put up with him following them around the city. And isn’t it nice that Sebastian’s buddy just happens to be a forensic doctor? It also helped that Sebastian’s wife, Hero, just happened to be interviewing some of the work-a-day city residents for a project; not only did we learn more about the dirtiest jobs of the era, but her discoveries assisted with the investigation. Whaddayaknow?

In this volume, as in previous books, the poorest characters are higher on the morality meter than those at the top of the economic and social ladder (the class struggle is always a juicy subject!). Also, there are so many characters (and their names and titles) that the reader must pay close attention in order to keep them straight.

The topics here are definitely for adults; there are lots of references to sexual play and abuse along with the details of violent deaths.

Overall, I didn’t like this volume as much as previous ones, but the author’s talent and the likable protagonist are definite draws to this series.

As part of a giveaway on Goodreads, I was sent an ARC of this newest volume of the series by the publisher and am glad to leave a review. #giveaway

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