Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr's friend Paul Gibson, who has helped him with many of his investigations, is an anatomist, something that is strictly forbidden by law, so he must purchase bodies from the "resurrectionists", the name for grave robbers who sneak into cemetaries to steal the bodies of the recently dead for physicians to dissect. But when he gets his latest body, it's not the one he expects- and the body's injuries point to a death that was sudden and unexpected- like murder.

With no one else to go to , Paul calls on Sebastian to find out the identity of the body he received and who killed him- and why. But because of the circumstances of the discovery of the body, Sebastian will be hampered by not revealing the circumstamces of the body's discovery.

It turns out that the boy was named Alexander Ross, and far from being a simple bully boy or pub crawler, he was a rising star at the Home Office, and reportedly died of a weak heart. But why would someone want to kill such a promising young man? But as Sebastian investigates, he learns that Britain's government is facilitating a treaty with both Russia and Turkey, very hush-hush as it contravenes the conditions of another Treaty that Britain has sworn to keep, and the circumstances of the new treaty would fatally embarrass the new government if it were to get out.

And when another body is found, badly decomposed, but bearing marks of the same stiletto wound that killed Ross, Sebastian must discover the identity of the killer before anyone else has to die. And meanwhile, he must also deal with his very reluctant bride-to-be, Hero Jarvis, who is pregnant with his unborn child after their encounter in the last book. But her father has nothing but contempt for Sebastian. How will he react to their impending marriage, and does he have anything to do with the death of Alexander Ross?

I always love C.S. Harris' books, and this one was no exception. Sebastian is called in by his friend Paul to look at the body that he has been delivered, and in the course of his investigation, Sebastian is called on to do things he's never done before, like go dig up a grave for himself. He can't ask for permission or rely on his father's name to get him out of it if he's caught- and this is something that could land him in jail for a very, very long time.

But he also has to deal with the members of various delegations to Britain, some of whom, like those from Turkey, come from a cultural background that is barely understandable to Sebastian and his fellow Brits. The Russians are similar, but only slightly more understandable from a British perspective. And this is who Sebastian is going to have to question, get to know and understand to solve the crime. And worse yet, his Bride-to-be's father may have had a hand in the crime!

It remains to be seen how Hero's father will treat Sebastian now that he's her husband. Will he still continue to hate him and try to throw up blocks in Sebastian's way, or will the marriage mellow him out a little? And then there is Sebastian's former flame, now married to her Spy handler in London. Is she going to get back with Sebastian at some point, or will this romance be allowed to wither and fade. I'm of two minds on this, I never really liked Hero, but at the same time, now that she and Sebastian are married, I don't want him to cheat on her, or for her to die merely for the way to be cleared back to Sebastian's "First love".

But an excellent story, full of a engagingly twisty plot snd characters who seem impenetrable at first glance. Highly recommended, along with the entire series.

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