In 1811, two families in the Wapping area of London were viciously and brutally murdered, including an infant boy. The case became known as the Ratcliffe Highway murders and the man arrested as a suspect hanged himself before he even had a hearing. Since the murders ceased, all of London believed the suicide suspect to have been the rightful killer. However, three years later, a magistrate in the same area and a seaman were murdered in the same way as the victims in the Ratcliffe Highway murders. Sebastian St. Cyr is asked to help investigate by Sir Henry Lovejoy, one of the London Bow Street magistrates and a close friend. The more Sebastian probes, the more he’s at risk and even he can’t ignore that the murders are probably connected.
This story took some time to develop because in order to make sense of the current murders, the events from three years ago required deeper analysis. It has so many angles and seedy characters that it was often difficult to find clarity. I’m used to Sebastian finding corrupt government officials with a hand in the case to some degree but the depth and breadth of this one was difficult to absorb. Even I wanted him to walk away from this one.
Sebastian’s wife, Hero, also plays a substantive role here, too, as she continues her research into the plight of the impoverished of the city and government’s role in putting and keeping them there. But this time danger reaches their doorstep, which added a truly sinister element to the story. Of course, father-in-law Jarvis is also in the mix and there are surprises there, too. I enjoyed the story, especially since the Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 was a true event on which this is based. The true crime element made this a more interesting reading experience. Still loving this extraordinary series.
- Release Date: April 6, 2021
- Series: Sebastian St. Cyr # 16
- Page Numbers: 329
- Publisher: Berkley
About the Author
C. S. Harris is the USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series; as C. S. Graham, a thriller series coauthored by former intelligence officer Steven Harris; and seven award-winning historical romances written under the name Candice Proctor.
(Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)