Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series brings 19th century England to life

Thursday, August 9, 2018
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As I finished up the latest C.S. Harris novel on my Kindle Fire, I was contemplating what to read next. It was then I realized the novel I had just finished, Where the Dead Lie, actually was released in 2017 and Harris – much to my delight – already had released another book, Why Kill the Innocent, in April of 2018.

“C.S. Harris” is the pseudonym of Candice Proctor, who has written more than 20 novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series.

Having grown up the daughter of an Air Force intelligence officer, Ms. Proctor lived all over the world. By the time she returned to the U.S. in order to attend college, English was more of a second language to her. She eventually earned a Ph.D. in European History and later worked as an archaeologist on various dig sites around Europe and the United States.

She then met and married Steven Harris, a retired Army officer, who now co-authors with her on another series of historical novels under the name of C.S. Graham. Together, they make their home in New Orleans.

Ms. Proctor’s most well-known work, the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series, is available worldwide and has been translated into more than 20 languages. It is set in and around London, England during the early nineteenth century.

The hero of this series, Sebastian St. Cyr is the heir and only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon. A former Army officer, he returns from the wars with France very disillusioned and jaded. While he moves through the circles of the aristocracy with little effort, he does not see himself as superior to those outside his social station.

Shunning the pretense of privileged life, he finds he has a talent for investigating crime – in particular murder, much to his family’s dismay. While he does not actually become employed by the London police, he finds himself drawn into various murder investigations where his natural talent is put to use.

In particular, I find Ms. Proctor’s novels quite gratifying for the vivid pictures she paints of the time period and surroundings of the English setting. She describes in great detail what the characters are wearing and the furniture present, along with the sounds and even smells, which make the scenes come to life in the mind of the reader.

If you enjoy a good murder mystery that is also set in history, you will enjoy reading C.S. Harris. The first in the Sebastian St. Cyr stories is available at the Big Horn County Library along with most of the other titles in the series. I recommend reading the novels in order, but each one can stand on its own. Happy reading.