Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr Series #3)

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Overview

Murder has jarred London’s elite. The sons of prominent families have been found at dawn in public places, partially butchered, with strange objects stuffed in their mouths. Once again, the local magistrate turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help. Moving from the gritty world of London’s docks to the drawing rooms of Mayfair, Sebastian confronts his most puzzling—and disturbing—case yet.

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Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr Series #3)

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Overview

Murder has jarred London’s elite. The sons of prominent families have been found at dawn in public places, partially butchered, with strange objects stuffed in their mouths. Once again, the local magistrate turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help. Moving from the gritty world of London’s docks to the drawing rooms of Mayfair, Sebastian confronts his most puzzling—and disturbing—case yet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

While appending a serial killer plot line to a historical setting is nothing new, Harris imbues what could be an overdone and tired narrative device with refreshing novelty, making his third Regency-era whodunit (after 2006's When Gods Die) a triumph. Sebastian St. Cyr, an unconventional nobleman with a talent for detection, is called in by Westminster chief magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy after two scions of the upper classes are found butchered and left on public display. St. Cyr soon finds a connection between the killer's calling card and a John Donne poem. As shadowy figures threaten and the parents of the victims display an inappropriate hostility to his efforts, the sleuth doggedly persists, uncovering a secret with shocking repercussions for London's upper class. Neatly meshing the page-turning whodunit plot with major developments in St. Cyr's love life, Harris shows every indication of assuming the mantle of the late Bruce Alexander as a reliable producer of quality period mysteries. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Someone is brutally murdering the sons of the wealthy and aristocratic families of Regency London. Sebastian St. Cyr (When Gods Die) is asked to unveil the perpetrator but does not realize that the case has its roots in the past and that his investigation will impact his personal life. Harris captures the Regency era beautifully while providing the reader with a flawlessly constructed mystery. Highly recommended for all mystery collections. Harris lives in New Orleans. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ7/07.]


—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
Aristocratic Regency detective Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, solves a series of grisly murders. When yet another son of a wealthy, well-connected family is found slaughtered with an object stuffed in his mouth, magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy, knowing that any sleuth must have entree to the highest reaches of society, begs Devlin for help. Curiously, not all the grieving fathers are best pleased with Devlin's investigations. A poem by John Donne provides a clue about the objects, but Devlin makes real progress only when he discovers that all the families were connected by the grim voyage of the Harmony, whose officers and passengers were left to starve when the crew mutinied. Realizing that the fathers would rather see their sons die than reveal their secret, Devlin wonders if the mutiny ended in cannibalism. Adding to his trials are ongoing problems with his lover, former French spy and actress Kat Boleyn, who still refuses to marry him. Powerful Lord Jarvis, whose son died on the doomed ship, is trying to force Kat to reveal the identity of the French spymaster. As Devlin travels from the drawing rooms of the rich to the squalid streets of London and England's bucolic backwaters, he uncovers shocking secrets that will change his life forever. Harris's third Regency mystery (When Gods Die, 2006, etc.), suspenseful and meticulously researched, should garner this excellent series more devoted fans. Agent: Helen Breitweiser/Cornerstone Literary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451225337
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/7/2008
  • Series: Sebastian St. Cyr Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 131,547
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

C.S. Harris graduated with a degree in Classics before earning a Ph.D. in European history. A scholar of the French Revolution and 19th-century Europe, she has lived in Europe and various far-flung parts of the old British Empire. She now lives in New Orleans with her husband, a retired Army Intelligence Officer, and two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Excellant Historical Mystery!

    The third installment of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries is as dark and intriguing as the first two with young Viscount Devlin coming into to his own as a reluctant 19th century sleuth. Though diving into these mysteries is scandalous and well beneath his station as a nobleman; you get the feeling that cutting against the grain of English Society is in no small measure why he has chosen to do it.
    With his trusty teenage sidekick Tom, Devlin unravels the brutal murders of several young men who's butchered corpses frighten and appall English upper crust Society.
    It is also the machinations of the affluent society that Devlin must navigate through as he sorts out the truths from the secrets from the lies that hide a scandal that rivals the dead bodies piling up.
    Add into the mix intrigue and forbidden love and in the all you have an enjoyable read that moves at startling speed until you are taken in so far that you can't wait to find out who the murderer is or how Devlin will bring him to justice. Or if there is really an justice as all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 16, 2012

    Recommended read though need to start with Vol

    The whole series by C.S. Harris of Sebastian St. Cyr books are a great historical novel read. The characters are believable people and blend of historical persons with the invented characters provides a level of realism. Sebastian St Cyr is the Stone Barington of the early 19th century.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    If you like historical mystery....

    After reading the first two books in the series and liked the characters and especially, the historical references. However, this third book had a couple of real surprises! I don't want to spoil this for anyone, but when I read one of these surprises I literally jumped out of my seat. I am enjoying getting to know Sebastian and the other characters in more depth. Also, I never get tired of the details, the description of the clothing, the places, and all the history woven into the story. It is a real treat to read a novel by a historian, who really knows the period, places, and her characters.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    A very good story

    I always enjoy historical novels that are well written and Why Mermaids Sing by CS Harris is one of those novels. This is the first book by this author I have read. The books characters come alive and the plot is very good. I enjoyed the book so much when I found out this was one book in a series, I purchased several other books in this series and I am looking forward to reading them.

    I also gave this book to my brother who is also an avid reader and he also liked the book and is looking forward to reading the other books written by this author. It makes me happy when I can "discover" a new writter whose books I enjoy reading.

    If you like well written hitorical mysteries or just enjoy a really good story you will like this book.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Why Mermaids Sing

    I am always on the lookout for new books to read. I read this one and loved it, then I bought all the Sebastian St. Cyr novels and read them too. I enjoyed the Regency England settings and found the books true to the time period. The plots are intricate and well formed. I can recommend these as good reads at any time.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    In 1811 Westminster chief magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy looks at the mutilated body of Lord Dominic Stanton, son of a close associate of the Regent, left for all to see near the Old Palace yard. Three months ago a banker¿s son the corpse of Barclay Carmichael was found battered and posed in St. James Park. Believing they lack the skills needed to deal with a diabolical killer, Henry asks Viscount Sebastian St. Cyr, known for his detection proficiency, to investigate.--------------- St. Cyr considers accepting the case though he is tired of death and assumes murder begets murder besides he has an inquiry going on to find his mother on the continent. As more ritual like homicides follow he links the killer to a John Donne poem even as he struggles with the lack of cooperation from the victims¿ families in fact the fathers are outright hostile as if they do not want the truth revealed. Unknown adversaries also want St. Cyr and his team stopped.-------------- The third S. Cyr Regency mystery (see WHAT ANGELS FEAR and When Gods Die) is a terrific serial killer whodunit starring a fabulous detection expert. The fast-paced story line is driven by the reactions of the victims¿ families as each prefers to have the hero end his inquiry. Historical mystery readers will appreciate this strong tale.---------- Harriet Klausner

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