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by C.S. Harris

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-451-21669-5
Publisher: NAL/Berkley

In 19th-century England, a dashing nobleman teams up with a jaded actress to clear his name of a murder charge.

London, 1811. Naïve young actress Rachel York is lured to a rendezvous at St. Matthew’s of the Fields church, where she is brutally raped and murdered by an anonymous figure. Magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy arrests handsome Sebastian St. Cyr, the Viscount Devlin, a veteran of the Napoleon Wars with a notorious reputation. Though addicted to danger and alcohol, the honorable Sebastian, haunted by war memories, is no predator. While transporting Sebastian to lockup, sniveling constable Edward Maitland accidentally stabs another officer and quickly blames it on Sebastian, multiplying the young nobleman’s alleged offenses and triggering his escape. Breaking into the room of acclaimed actress Kat Boleyn, who’s both his great lost love and the late Rachel’s closest confidante, Sebastian enlists her help in ferreting out the truth. The pair embark on dangerous probes that uncover a cache of secrets about Rachel as well as an array of lovers and admirers. These include a fellow thespian, a wealthy Frenchman and Sebastian’s brother-in-law. Meanwhile, Sebastian’s distraught father tries to slow Lovejoy’s manhunt by confessing to the murder himself, to little avail. But the discovery of Rachel’s diary and a hidden pregnancy quicken the search for her killer.

A starchy but well-appointed debut most notable for its historic detail.