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What the Devil Knows

por C. S. Harris

MiembrosReseñasPopularidadValoración promediaMenciones
4210469,464 (4.28)11

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What the Devil Knows - C. S. Harris
Audio performance by Davina Porter
4 stars

“He was beginning to realize that the true number of murders he was dealing with reached into the double digits.”

This is the 16th book in a series that does seem to have an extremely high body count with each edition. The setting is London in 1814, with an investigation that reopens the case of the infamous Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811. A cold case that seems to be reheating with a gruesome new murder ( or two, or …) for Sebastian St. Cyr to investigate. The historical accuracy of this series has always impressed me. The author has created a credible alternative explanation for the Ratcliffe murders. According to the author’s notes, she speculated directly from the facts recorded at the time.

As usual, the mystery is also a vehicle to expose the massive corruption of the monied classes against the poor of London. This book delves into the lack of a cohesive criminal justice system and the growing cries for an organized police force. (The story predates the founding of a London Police force by 15 years.) Sebastian continues to work with the Bow Street magistrate, Sir Henry Lovejoy, with autopsies performed by his friend, Paul Gibson. But, there’s actually little new information concerning the ongoing characters. The ever increasing number of murders makes for a convoluted plot full of red herrings and extraneous characters. I enjoy listening the Davina Porter’s gifted performance, but it might have been easier to keep track of things with a book in front of my eyes. ( )
  msjudy | Apr 21, 2021 |
When you're reading a good series, a series that retains its high standards, one is surprised to find that this is book number 16. How the years and books fly by. This book follows Lord Devlin, Sebastian St. Cyr as he attempts to solve a case that eventually reason includes a great many bodies. It also mimics murders from three years previous, where it was thought the killer had been brought to justice, though he killed himself before he could be convicted. His wife Hero is still compiling knowledge for her series on women on the street and she will use this endeavor to aid her husband.

I love this series, though I admit there were so many publicans, different characters that in the beginning this was confusing. As I read the main characters became clearer, and I sank into the mystery of who was doing what, and of course, why. That in the authors note at books end I find that these cases were real cases in history, was a bonus. I enjoy these characters and the book does draw one into the time period, that of the 1800s. At books end Sebastian decries the seemingly unending corruption of those of higher status. Graft and corruption, sometimes it seems that we have not come very far as a society but are doomed to repeat history, over and over again. Greed and the perfidy of man..

ARC from Edelweiss. ( )
  Beamis12 | Apr 18, 2021 |
This is a great series and this one keeps up the great work. I do recommend reading at least a few of the other books in this series to understand who many of the main characters are. I enjoyed reading about these murders that truly did happen in London with some added to work in other characters. I love Sebastian and his wife, Hero. I hope there will be more books in this series. I received a copy of this book from Berkeley and Netgalley for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will. ( )
  Virginia51 | Apr 11, 2021 |
While this does have a continuing saga in the life and times of the fictional Sebastian St. Cyr, CS Harris is delightfully adroit in writing a realistic picture of the time period, based on some actual events. I had never heard about the Ratcliffe Highway murders before reading this book but the story is flawless in blending fact with fiction. I love that the author writes an ‘afterword’ to fill in further historical details as well as explain what she drew from composite figures and where her fiction took over.

Harris has a stunning talent that keeps the St. Cyr mysteries fresh. My one difficulty was keeping track of all the different players and the details. The saga flat-lined a bit in the middle third because I was confused with how several of the characters related to each other. This didn’t matter in the final third as events began to clarify the complexities. It was excellent to see Hero playing a part in uncovering some of the details of the main murder which Sebastian investigated.

The final chapter was typical Harris → she leaves us with a tantalizing twist. I’m surely going to be eager to read the next instalment, although patience demands that I find something to preoccupy my attention because book 17 won’t appear anywhere for probably a year! Ouch. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Apr 9, 2021 |
Every year I pre-order my Sebastian St Cyr book and wait impatiently for it to arrive. I read it immediately and then must wait for another year for the next book in this fabulous series.
There is always a mystery that Sebastian must solve. Ms. Harris does a wonderful job of taking historical events and weaving them into a murder mystery which I never solve before the killer is revealed (my favorite kind). She brings early 19th century England to life in a realistic manner that immerses the reader in the setting and characters.
Then there are the overarching mysteries for the series. Every book brings another clue: where is Sebastian's mother, who was his father, what is Jarvis up to now, etc. This book did deliver some new clues. In some ways, I don't want to know the answers to these questions because I fear the series might end then, but then I also really want to know.
It's such a terrific series of historical mysteries, and Ms. Harris does her research to provide Sebastian and Hero with rich material to work with. Great writing that I highly recommend. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Apr 7, 2021 |
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