First Sentence: His breath coming in undignified gasps, the Reverend Malcolm Earnshaw abandoned the village high street and struck out through the lanky grass of the churchyard.
Families and their secrets take center stage. The bishop of London, leading candidate for archbishop of Canterbury, has been found dead in a recently opened crypt. The bishop is not the only murdered body. Along with him are the remains of a man who was stabbed in the 1700s. During his investigation, St. Cyr uncovers a connection between the men and his father, who has secrets of his own having a direct impact on St. Cyr's life. Hero Jarvis, daughter to the Prince Regent's cousin and enemy to St. Cyr, is keeping secrets of her own, which could impact his life.
In spite of cover art that has no connection to this book's plot, this was a very good, go-away-don't-bother-me read. Harris knowledge of the period and historical figures is evident. Where she excels is in weaving those figures in with her own characters in a plausible and realistic manner.
The plot was very well done with enough interesting twists to keep me guessing. Yet I return to the characters and Ms. Harris' ability at relating their emotions. Some might feel St. Cyr's emotions were occasionally excessive. However, considering the impact events are having on his life and his belief about his life, I felt they were understandable. Hero is a wonderful character. She reflects the progressive woman of the time and is no demure figure waiting for a man to rescue her. Quite the opposite.
Although Harris does an excellent job connecting the characters and events of the current book to the previous books, I do recommend reading the series in order. And for those who do enjoy historical mysteries, this is one of my favorite series. I just hate having to wait another year for the next book.
WHAT REMAINS OF HEAVEN (Hist Mys-Sebastian St. Cyr-England-Georgian/1812) - VG+ Harris, C.S. (aka Candace Proctor) - 5th in series NAL Hardcover, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780451228024
Sebastian and Hero successfully solved the last mystery together, contributing to some major complications in their respective lives. When the Bishop of London, Francis Prescott, is murdered and discovered in an ancient crypt which was sealed up years ago along with the body of Sir Nigel, who vanished two decades previously, it may or may not be a coincidence that both murdered men are revealed to be brothers. When the Archbishop of Canterbury, a close friend of Sebastian's beloved aunt, requests that Sebastian assist in the investigation, how can he refuse.
Of major concern to Sebastian is the fact that Hero Jarvis was the last known visitor to Francis Prescott's office. When he questions Hero about the reasons for her visit, Sebastian believes she is withholding something. Even as Sebastian struggles with the heartache of his relationship with Kat Boleyn, he finds himself becoming further intertwined with Hero Jarvis. As I have mentioned in a previous review, Sebastian's deeply entrenched honor is what makes him the admirable hero he has become to his fans. His observations of Hero and indeed, his honorable actions toward her are a huge part of what makes this reader love him.
In this book, St. Cyr learns more about his heritage, or to be more accurate - further truths about what his heritage does not include. I, for one, hope he eventually finds his mother, but it doesn't appear to be in the works for quite some time. Facts are ever so slowly revealed.
An enjoyable mystery set in Regency England. I found the story engaging. The main story stands alone but it helps if you have read the previous books to follow the back story. One or two americanisms which I found annoying,which is why I have not given 5stars. Finding it hard to wait for the next installment, not out until 2011 I believe.