Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What Cannot Be Said (spoilers)

 What Cannot Be Said (2024) by C. S. Harris

Fourteen years ago Sir Henry Lovejoy's wife and daughter were killed in Richmond Park. They were found shot and their bodies posed in an eerie parody of crypt statues. Lovejoy was sure that they had captured and hanged the killer, a disturbed veteran found covered in blood at the scene. But Daniel O'Toole went to his execution swearing he was innocent.When Lovejoy is called to Richmond Park to investigate the murder of Lady McInnis and her daughter, found shot and posed in a manner that brings the past rushing into the present, he wonders if O'Toole had been telling the truth after all. Either Lovejoy helped send an innocent man to the gallows or someone is copying the previous murders for purposes of their own.

Lovejoy immediately calls on Lord Devlin, Sebastian St. Cyr, to assist with the case. Hero, Lady Devlin, assists as well. She was friends with Laura McInnis and knew of her work with the Foundling Hospital and behalf of those apprenticed through the workhouses. Lady McInnis's work made her pretty unpopular with some of London's most influential people, including her own husband and Basil Rhodes, the Prince Regent's favorite illegitimate son. But would anyone have taken the trouble to kill both Laura McInnis and her daughter over her work on behalf of London's poor? And, if so, why bother to copy the murders from fourteen years ago. The deeper Sebastian digs and the more questions Hero asks, the more troubling information is discovered within Laura's family and friends. Is the crime more personal than was first thought? But again...why the ties to the murder of Lovejoy's family? Until Sebastian can answer that question, he won't be able to come close to the solution.

***Spoilers ahead--just in reference to Sebastian's over-arching story line. No spoilers about the mystery's solution. But if you haven't read earlier books in the series, you might want to skip this part unless you don't mind learning bits and pieces about Sebastian's history.***

This is still my favorite historical series. It's just about the only series written by a current author that I have to read the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it. I love the way Harris focuses on different aspects of society and ties her mysteries into them. The historical detail is terrific, as one would expect from a historian. In addition to the details about the baby farms (though not called that at the time), workhouses and the conditions for apprentices, this particular outing explores madness and the use of that label to get difficult family members put away. And I continue to enjoy Sebastian and Hero together. I'm very glad he wound up with her--she's every bit his equal and a good match.

There are just a few things that I either get tired of in this nineteen-book series or have questions about. I'm tired of the whole Jarvis warning Sebastian off thing, for one. Every single time. I would absolutely love it if we could have one where Jarvis actually needs his son-in-law to investigate. That would make an interesting character exploration and also expand their interactions. The other things that niggle--can we pretty please find out who Sebastian's father was and whether Jamie Knox was really his half-brother {I find it hard to believe that he wasn't}. I also (and this may be just me) strongly suspect Cousin Victoria of having hurried Hero's mother into the grave. We keep getting references to how Hero doesn't like Victoria but can't give a particular reason--maybe she's getting vibes that her father's new wife is a killer. But, despite these little niggles, excellent series and excellent installment. Do I really have wait almost a year for another one? ★★★★★

First line: "I've figured out what's wrong with women," declared Ben.

Last lines: Then Gibson swallowed hard, set his jaw, and summoned up a jaunty grin. "Ready."

Deaths =  18 (five shot; one hanged; five natural; five stabbed; one beaten; one fire)

1 comment:

Marg said...

I didn't realise this series was still going strong until I saw your reviews!

Thanks for sharing your review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge