What Remains of Heaven
C. S. Harris
Obsidian, Nov 2009, $23.95
In 1812 Sebastian St, Cyr, Viscount Devlin is reestablishing a relationship with his father. Their rift was caused by a secret that came to light leading to the son ending his relationship with his beloved actress Kat Boleyn; whom he intended to marry. Now he wonders if his one night with Hero Jarvis, the daughter of his father’s mortal enemy resulted in a child although she refuses to verify it one way or another.
Escaping his female woes, Sebastian is asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury to investigate the deaths of two men decades apart in an ancient crypt in a church. One of the victims is Sir Nigel, who vanished decades ago. The second corpse is the Bishop of London Francis Prescot, Sir Nigel’s younger brother. Sebastian assumes the deaths are connected beyond the sibling link and believes the association harks back to the American Revolution. St. Cyr is taken aback when he finds a tie to his family. His father, Sir Nigel and Lord Jarvis went to the colonies to see if pursing the war would end up in England’s triumph.
Viscount Devlin is a brooding hero in the tradition of Lord Byron as he distrusts everyone starting with his father who has kept a seemingly zillion secrets from him. His investigative methods are similar to that of a twentieth century police detective as he follows clues to wherever they lead. C. S. Harris has written a wonderfully constructed Regency mystery filled with concealment, red herrings, and misunderstanding that keeps the lead protagonist going down wrong lanes, but never giving up.