The latest book in Wynn’s (Acts of Faith, 2014, etc.) historical detective series finds the hero known as “Blue Satan” and lady-in-waiting Hester Kean investigating the murder of an English lord.
In October 1716, Hester is touring the recently completed St. Paul’s Cathedral—one of London’s jewels—with her cousin Mary Mayfield, their escort James, and the son of the building’s designer, Christopher Wren. Among the architectural marvels of the structure is the fact that a whisper on one side of its central dome can be heard with remarkable clarity on the other, so when Hester hears a raspy voice saying, “I shall kill him with my bare hands,” it sends shivers down her spine. Later, when Mary’s distasteful suitor, Lord Wragby, is murdered, Hester sets upon a quest to discover his killer and exonerate James. However, to do so, she’ll need the help of her absent fiance, the Viscount St. Mars, who has a secret identity as a highwayman known as “Blue Satan.” When readers last saw him, Hester had joyfully accepted his proposal of marriage—but then she abruptly fled his presence to deal with a family emergency. As a result, there are not only mysteries to solve in this novel; there’s also a relationship that has yet to get off the ground. It’s clear in this latest installment that Wynn has lost nothing off her fastball. The mystery that she constructs here is just as original and exciting as the one in her previous volume, and her characters are charming but never precious. Furthermore, the setting feels like both a faithful reconstruction of 18th-century Europe and refreshingly modern at the same time. Readers who’ve been to London will likely be familiar with St. Paul’s, but Anglophiles will also find many other Easter eggs in the text. Ardent fans of the series will also be pleased to know that this book finally resolves Hester and St. Mars’ will-they-or-won’t-they romance—though, perhaps, in unexpected ways.
A gripping series continues with energy and thrills to spare.