Why Kings Confess

Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

Book 9
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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....
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The grisly murder of a West Indies slave owner and the reappearance of a dangerous enemy from Sebastian St. Cyr’s past combine to put C. S. Harris’s “troubled but compelling antihero” (Booklist) to the ultimate test in this taut, thrilling mystery.

London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.

Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

But as one brutal murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Sinclair, Lord Oliphant, that dramatically raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific wartime act of carnage and betrayal. Now the vindictive former colonel might well pose a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds most dear.
 
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Mar 4, 2014
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781101609781
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Crime
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The grisly murder of a West Indies slave owner and the reappearance of a dangerous enemy from Sebastian St. Cyr’s past combine to put C. S. Harris’s “troubled but compelling antihero” (Booklist) to the ultimate test in this taut, thrilling mystery.

London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.

Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

But as one brutal murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Sinclair, Lord Oliphant, that dramatically raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific wartime act of carnage and betrayal. Now the vindictive former colonel might well pose a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds most dear.
 
An unwelcome guest - Death - gatecrashes a society wedding and Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned by his barrister friend, Charles Augustus Pugh, to investigate this most singular case of murder in the Fens.

The dead man is Randolph Colville, successful wine merchant and father of the groom. The murderer would appear to be his brother Cosmo, found in the same room with a gun in his hand. But is this simply a modern-day version of Cain and Abel, or is there more to it than that? Cosmo isn't speaking and time is running out for him for he has an appointment with the gallows in two weeks.

Francis has to act fast and sets out to discover all he can about the dead man - and his brother. Cosmo's silence is bothering him for it can only be for two reasons; either he is protecting a woman - or a family scandal. His investigations take him to the vineyards and towns of Burgundy, where he uncovers evidence of serious malpractise in the Colville wine trade, bitter rivalry with a London-based competitor and a disgruntled ex-employee bent on revenge. But there is another secret - more terrible and shocking than anything gone on before - which finally reveals the motive for the untimely death of a wine merchant.

Praise for David Dickinson:

'Splendid entertainment' Publishers Weekly

'A leisurely period whodunit with Dickinson's customary historical tidbits and patches of local color, swathed in an appealing Victorian narrative' Kirkus Reviews

'Detective fiction in the grand style' James Naughtie

'A cracking yarn, beguilingly real from start to finish' Peter Snow

The first man murdered was Abel Meredith, a resident at the Jesus Hospital Almshouse near London.The second victim, Roderick Gill, was burser at the Allison's school in Norfolk. Victim number three, Sir Rufus Walcott, was slain in his own hall by the Thames. All had their throats cut.And all had strange markings on their chests, carved there by the murderer but which neither doctor nor coroner could identify.

Lord Francis Powerscourt, brought in to solve this case of triple murder, had no shortage of suspects or suspicions.Meredith had shadowy links with the civil service. Gill, a man who seduced women at church during Harvest Festival or the Christmas carol service, had been threatened by angry husbands and disinherited sons while Sir Rufus had wiped fifteen years out of his own past history.And all had ties to Sir Peregrine Fishbourne, Prime Warden of the Guild of Silkworkers, who had visited all three men shortly before their untimely deaths. Yet on one question Powerscourt never wavered, and he knew that only when he had solved the mystery of the strange markings on the victims' bodies would he then be able to solve the mystery of the death at the Jesus Hospital.

Praise for David Dickinson:

'Splendid entertainment' Publishers Weekly

'A leisurely period whodunit with Dickinson's customary historical tidbits and patches of local color, swathed in an appealing Victorian narrative' Kirkus Reviews

'Detective fiction in the grand style' James Naughtie

'A cracking yarn, beguilingly real from start to finish' Peter Snow

Goodnight, Sweet Prince
Mystery surrounds the death of Queen Victoria's grandson England, 1892.
Victoria, Queen and Empress, is in the 54th year of her reign, when her grandson Prince Eddy, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, is found slaughtered in his bed at Sandringham. Terrified of more royal scandal, the Prince of Wales and his spindoctors decide to cover up the facts and the murder is disguised as death by influenza.
Lord Francis Powerscourt, an Irish investigator, is privately asked to find the killer. His quest takes him on a journey through the prince's debauched and dissolute past, across Europe to the misty waterways of Venice where, amidst scandal and suicide, Powerscourt finally unravels themystery of the sweet prince's last goodnight.

Death and the Jubilee
The discovery of a headless corpse jeopardises Queen Victoria's glittering Diamond Jubilee!
In this second Lord Francis Powerscourt mystery, London is preparing for the 1897 Diamond Jubilee. But one morning a man's corpse with no head or hands is dragged out of the Thames. He is old, but not destitute. With no clues to his identity, the police ask for Powerscourt's assistance. His investigation leads to a mysterious mansion in Oxfordshire, with classical temples in the gardens and in the house a second corpse, killed in a fire. On the track of the murderer, Powerscourt soon realises that both he and his family are in great danger - and so is the Queen's Jubilee . . .

Death of an Old Master
In May 1901 the Salisbury Galleries announce the biggest exhibition of the Old Master Paintings ever seen in Europe. Excitement is intense. But before it opens, one of Britain's leading art experts, Christopher Montague, is found murdered in his study. When Lord Francis Powerscourt is called in to investigate he finds every book, notepad and scrap of paper has been removed from the scene of the crime. Montague had been working on something that would have rocked the art world. Did his article that claimed a number of the Old Masters had been painted recently by a single hand have anything to do with his death? Powerscourt embarks on an odyssey through a treacherous world of art dealers and picture restorers in pursuit of a master forger. He travels to Sicily where the trail goes cold, but, after the thrills and danger of that wild, lawless isalnd, in a remopte corer of England, the truth is finally revealed.

Death of a Chancellor
Compton Minster is preparing to celebrate a very special anniversary in the year 1901 - a thousand years of Christian worship. But a few weeks before the main ceremonies, a high official of the cathedral, the chancellor, dies in mysterious circumstances, and no on except the doctor and the undertaker is allowed to view the corpse. It then transpires that the chancellor was one of England's richest men. When his sister suspects foul play, Lord Francis Powerscourt is asked to investigate. As Powerscourt paces the ancient cloisters and listens to evensong from the choir stalls, he begins to suspect that a terrible secret lies hidden in the cathedral, one that may have someting to do with the anniversary. Then a chorister is strangles, his body found turning on the great spit in the Vicars Hall kitchen. Powerscourt himself escpaes death by a whisker, as does his wife, Lady Lucy, before he uncovers the astonishing secret of Compton Minster and unmasks a murderer.

The grisly murder of a West Indies slave owner and the reappearance of a dangerous enemy from Sebastian St. Cyr’s past combine to put C. S. Harris’s “troubled but compelling antihero” (Booklist) to the ultimate test in this taut, thrilling mystery.

London, 1813. The vicious decapitation of Stanley Preston, a wealthy, socially ambitious plantation owner, at Bloody Bridge draws Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, into a macabre and increasingly perilous investigation. The discovery near the body of an aged lead coffin strap bearing the inscription King Charles, 1648 suggests a link between this killing and the beheading of the deposed seventeenth-century Stuart monarch. Equally troubling, the victim’s kinship to the current Home Secretary draws the notice of Sebastian’s powerful father-in-law, Lord Jarvis, who will exploit any means to pursue his own clandestine ends.

Working in concert with his fiercely independent wife, Hero, Sebastian finds his inquiries taking him from the wretched back alleys of Fish Street Hill to the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair as he amasses a list of suspects who range from an eccentric Chelsea curiosity collector to the brother of an unassuming but brilliantly observant spinster named Jane Austen.

But as one brutal murder follows another, it is the connection between the victims and ruthless former army officer Sinclair, Lord Oliphant, that dramatically raises the stakes. Once, Oliphant nearly destroyed Sebastian in a horrific wartime act of carnage and betrayal. Now the vindictive former colonel might well pose a threat not only to Sebastian but to everything—and everyone—Sebastian holds most dear.
 
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