Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Regency England - 1812


When Maidens Mourn

by C.S. Harris

When Gabrielle Tennyson, a good friend of Hero’s, is found dead, and her two nephews missing, Hero, now Lady Devin, and her new husband Lord Sebastian St. Cyr are compelled to find out why. Theirs is an unusual coupling. Both remain mysteries to each other, each refusing to reveal secrets from their pasts even while drawn together when seeking the truth about this death.

Although Sebastian leads most of the story, Hero’s part is no less essential. A woman of formidable intellect with a powerful sense of justice, Hero manages consistently to ignore social restrictions, helped by the fact that she is the daughter of Lord Jarvis, the ruthless power behind Prince George and the House of Hanover. The murder of Gabrielle in fact has connections to the royalty because of the victim’s controversial findings at the long vanished castle known as Camlot Moat. Here objects have been uncovered which point to the possibility that the mythological King Arthur might have been real, and thus might “return” from the mists of Avalon to save Britain from the benighted rule of the House of Hanover and horrors of Napoléon. Certainly country lore, street gossip, and radical, seditious broadsheets are forwarding this idea.

Descriptions of Regency period London are plentiful. Details about the new architecture and increasing power of the city’s rising gentry class are particularly interesting. The book reveals continuing British worries about French agents and French imprisoned officers who are allowed out on parole in England.

This is one of the Lord Sebastian St. Cyr series. Hero’s character aligns well with the Mary Wollestonecraft series. (Reviewed here) Both heroines happily flout late 18th, early 19th social restrictions; one from the perspective of the upper class (Hero), the other from the middling (Wollestonecraft).

Full Author’s Notes.



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