Why Kill the Innocent by C. S. Harris

Why Kill the Innocent

C. S. Harris

Highly recommended for lovers of historical thrillers, Why Kill The Innocent is the latest from national bestselling author C.S. Harris. 

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A brutal murder draws nobleman Sebastian St. Cyr into the tangled web of the British royal court in this gripping historical mystery from the national bestselling author of Where the Dead Lie.

London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose's ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane's murderer to escape justice.

Untangling the secrets of Jane's world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .


Advance Galley Reviews

This was an eagerly awaited book and I did enjoy it but i must say it was not upto Ms. Harris's usual standard. This book was slow going and I was a little disappointed in the lack of linkages between the characters motivations and actions. Usually the books in the series have a subtext runnning side by side with the main plot but this one was flat. I like this series very much and hope Ms. Harris delivers with the next one.

I haven’t read this authors previous books form this series but I still enjoyed this novel anyway. It was really good mystery and I will give this series a try from the beginning.

This is a mystery set in Regency England, and in part based on actual events that occurred in the winter of 1814. I was aware as I read that not having read any of the previous books in the series, I was missing some of the history existing between various characters in the book. There's nothing too inexplicable however, and it's fairly easy to make the connections without having read any of the others. There's a lot going on in this book besides the murder at its center: serious social issues of the day like prisons, women's rights, and military impressment are discussed in conversations between the characters. I did enjoy the book, and would more than likely start from the beginning and read the rest of the series.

I was not familiar with this series before reading this one but there was enough back story to make that not annoying. However I did feel the need for some editing in the novel. It kind of dragged on to a point that frustrated me. It is a quick read if someone likes these long mystery series.

I absolutely love this series! The interactions and relationships between characters continue to be fantastic and the historical details and atmosphere continues to be top-notch. The mystery itself seemed to be "lighter" than usual in this entry, but after the 12th book, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing at all. This continues to be one of the best regency-era series out there.

I was very dissapointed when I finished this book. I felt like Harris just shortchanged me as a reader and her characters with this cut and pasted drivel. I normally love this series but I didn't get any warm fuzzy feelings from this book at all. The whole time I was reading it I was completely bored and it was painstakingly obvious how particular sections of writing were exactly the same and located in exactly the same places within chapters as in previous books. I know some authors like to use an outline which I don't mind in increments but when the rest of the story is so boring that, that's all I can focus then something is not right. I just got the impression that Harris put very little time or effort into this book. If you're tired of writing about your own characters, then it's time to move on and it's time for me to move on too! Don't put out half-a$$#$ written books and expect your readers not to notice or care because we will and we do.

This book didn't grab me.

This is the first I've read in this series. I always enjoy reading about a female detective during a time when it would not have been typically allowed. I also appreciated the husband/wife partnership. The mutual respect they afforded each other was a nice change from how marriages are often depicted. The inside perspective of court life was fascinating. I knew nothing of Princess Charlotte prior to reading this series so the author did a great job of creating empathy for her and her plight. Jane Ambrose was a truly tragic character and you could feel the horror of what she experienced leading up to her murder. It was enjoyable both as a murder mystery and historic fiction. I obtained my copy to read through Penguin's First to Read Program.

In this work of historical fiction and murder mystery I was compelled to finish it despite thinking I’d figured it out. I’m glad I finished the book, because it did end not so predictably. It’s an entertaining read, during an interesting era.

I read a goodly number of historical fiction and have read C.S. Harris’ earlier books. I find this one particularly simplistic. Stopped reading after 3 chapters. Not my cup of tea.

An interesting mystery dealing with London in the 1814s. I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would but I am a fan of historical fiction. I'd recommend it to any fan of C.S. Harris.

Why Kill the Innocent by C S Harris is the 13th book of this series. Having never read any of the previous work, but enjoying historical fiction, I requested this from the Penguin Random House First to Read program to see what it was all about. We find our victim, Jane Ambrose, dead in a lane and then the game is afoot and Sebastian and Hero are delving into the mystery of her death (was it murder or manslaughter?) which leads them running all over town in one of the coldest winters London has ever known in 1814. There were political machinations of every kind and many fingers pointing at a wide range of characters. Which kept the plot moving along, but also started to feel a bit scattered and repetitive; as in different people but almost literally the same outline of events, but pointing to yet another person. I enjoyed this book overall though as a lighter mystery. I also found the Author's Notes at the end to be very interesting and a nice addition to the book's events and timelines.

I wasn't aware that this book was part of a series, but was able to read this as a stand alone. I struggled at times being able to keep track of the characters and why some plot point was important. There was a lot of trivial back and forth that was quite boring at times and did not to build suspense. I am a huge fan of historical fiction yet this book just did not capture my interest. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read!

This is my first book from The Sebastian St. Cyr series. Actually I'm not the fan of historical mysteries even tough I like crime/mystery novels but I just wanted give a try to this book. I guess the title and cover design took my attention. I like the book, mostly the historical atmosphere and dedication of the protagonists for solving the murder of a young woman. Details about London, city life and the snowy days are vivid, I enjoyed them as a winter person. Also it is impressive and sad to read about injustices in the society and poor people's suffering during harsh times in London. My only criticism is about the book that I found the parts related women's rights and the injustice they faced a little bit anachronistic. When the characters talk about women and their problems, they sounded they lived today not in the 19th century. I understand the writer's effort to underline the woman issue that times but as I said the parts didn't fit the historical context. Sevgi Özçelik

In C.S. Harris’ latest novel, Hero, the wife of Lord Devlin, comes across the body of Jane Ambrose, the music instructor for Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Prince of Wales and an heir to the throne. Jane is described as quiet, talented and well-liked but she was also in a position where she became privy to information that could be dangerous. Even though the palace has released the story that Jane’s death was accidental, Hero and Devlin know the truth and are determined to discover the murderer. In the course of their investigation, they discover that it was Jane who wrote the music that her unfaithful husband was known for. Jane had also been approached by a vengeful Dutch courtier to spy on the princess, a job she refused. She had been frightened in the days before her murder, but discovering the cause of her fear puts both Hero and Devlin in danger. While this mystery involves the royal family, Harris also gives the reader a look at English society of the day. The abduction of able-bodied men to serve on the navy’s ships, the inability of the poor to feed their families or keep warm and the restrictions placed on women are all explored. It was a time when the theft of a loaf of bread could lead to a death sentence and public hangings were held. This is a wonderful addition to this series and should please any reader of historical fiction.

A wonderful fact-based historical mystery with a tinge of feminism that feels very timely during this #MeToo movement. Definitely worth a read and will prompt me to pick up future and past works by this author. Grace, Ocala, FL

5 STARS! "Curiosity is a dangerous weakness. You should strive to overcome it." I have spent the last two months obsessing over this series, and having finally caught up is a bittersweet moment. I am uncertain how I'll make it an entire year before reading a new Sebastian St. Cyr book! Like its predecessors, Why Kill the Innocent is brilliantly written and addicting from the first page until the last. The historical knowledge woven with the fictional, always keeps me captivated. There is one scene that is probably one of the best written moments of the series, but difficult to read because of the brutality. The mystery aspect is unpredictable, and I was left wondering until the final moments how all would be revealed. In addition to the mystery, the plight of women and the poor during this time period is profoundly addressed. I think about the social aspects of life during this time period, days and weeks later. Harris has a lasting affect on me not only as a reader, but as a person. Of course, this series just wouldn't be the same without the outstanding secondary characters. Jarvis is my favorite villain of time. He's so evil, but I always enjoy seeing his relationship with Hero. Hero is the cornerstone of this series, and I admire her more than any other heroine. I cannot recommend this series enough; it will go down as my favorite books of 2018. Looks like I'll be rereading/listening to fill the lonely year until the next installment.

Sebastian St. Cyr isn’t satisfied the death of Jane Ambrose, a remarkably talented musician with ties to Princess Charlotte, is ruled an accident. He and Hero are determined to discover why this gentlewoman’s bloodied body was left in a snow covered alley. They are stymied at every turn by the government, aristocracy and others that fear exposure. The latest Sebastian St. Cyr novel exposes the restricted life women face in Regency London. It doesn’t matter who the woman may be her life is governed by the religious and cultural conventions of society. The novel is rich with details and the characters depicted are historically accurate. It’s a most intriguing and enjoyable read.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This book just did not do it for me. It was a good story, well researched, but, it just felt like history being rewritten for current social issues. The story lost some steam, rambled a bit and then had a decent surprise ending.

If you like historical fiction mixed with a murder mystery mixed with strong female characters mixed with questioning social norms, then this book is for you. For me, is a “3” Star. I’ll start with the bad, then end on the good. Why Kill the Innocent started out with a bang, then fizzled midway. This is the second mystery I attempted to read, and find myself not liking the genre. I get bored, honestly. Had it not been for First to Read, I likely would not have finished this book. I am glad I did, however. Although the ending may be a bit predictable, it did pick up. So what’s to like? The feminism. The bits of historical fiction. The book was written well enough that I could see the characters and scenes play out like a movie in my head. The feminism. Yes, I already said that...but truly, that was a serious win for this book.

This is a first rate historical mystery, well researched and captivating. Set in the time of George lll and his tyrannical son who wields suffocating control over his wife and daughter, it’s one suspect after another in the murder of the piano teacher of Princess Charlotte. I enjoyed the history which sent me searching for more information about the Regent and his family, although the author provides a lot of the background of everyone involved. Fans of historical mysteries will love this book

Disclaimer: I received a free eARC copy of this from Penguin Random House First To Read in exchange for an honest review. One-Line Summary: When a piano teacher is found dead, Sebastian St. Cyr has to decide if it was manslaughter or murder while being swept up into a deadly and dangerous plot that threatens not only his life but the stability of England. Summary: When Hero Devlin first stumbles over the body of Jane Ambrose, her death appears to have been an accident. The ruling family is all too eager to sweep everything under the rug, but Viscount Devlin is determined to find the woman’s murderer, though whether it was cold-blooded murder or accidental manslaughter, he isn’t sure. Nothing is as straightforward as it seems, though, as Sebastian finds himself pulled deeper into England’s secrets—ones that people are wont to keep quiet at any cost. Sebastian finds himself in the middle of a plot that has him receiving threats from some of the most powerful people in England. The one thing that’s become painfully clear is that Jane Ambrose was anything but merely a piano instructor. The Positive: - There’s a marvelous cast of leading characters here that really had me rooting for them. Since this is book 13 in a series, it’s pretty obvious that I’m attached to Sebastian at this point. I mean, I wouldn’t read him if I wasn’t, right? In this, though, he’s matched perfectly with his wife, Hero, who is every bit his equal in a time when women weren’t allowed to be smart and conniving. They’re a great power couple, and I just love their dynamic. - Though murder is obviously at the forefront here, this book tackles so many other important issues that are every bit as relevant today as they were then. I mean, let’s face it, nobody likes a book that comes across as an after-school special. I’m not reading to be lectured to. But Why Kill The Innocent broached important topics like gender equality and the sad lot in life women faced in the early 1800s without beating the reader over the head with it. It felt natural and authentic, and the fact is really hammered home a couple times when characters point out if Jane had just been born a man… - Even though she’s dead, I found that I really connected with Jane Ambrose. Which is a feat when a writer can make me remorseful that a person who dies on page, like, three is actually dead. The more entangled the investigation into her death became, the more the reader gets to know her, and the more I fell in love with everything that she was and the more tragic her death felt. - The ending gave me so many feels. Ugh, I’m so torn. I mean, it’s a murder mystery, so I’m not sure anyone would go in expecting a happy ending because, you know, at least one person is dead. And if you’ve ever read a St. Cyr novel before, there’s never just one person dead by the end. Never. But I actually really liked this ending? It was tragic in all the right ways. The Negative: - The Frost Fair was neat, and I enjoyed learning about it, but it took up way too much screen time. I’m pretty sure I skimmed over these parts, because it just wasn’t that important to me. Someone else might really enjoy the setting building, but I don’t want pages upon pages spent on something that doesn’t actually end up tying into the plot in any way. That’s just me personally, but I felt like it really slowed things down and was a distraction more than anything else. Overall: I’d highly recommend this book, or more accurately this whole series, for anyone who enjoys fast-paced murder mysteries. The culprit is never immediately clear, and you have to commit, because the book’s going to take you for a ride, for sure, which is part of what I love about the series. Despite being a part of the series, it works okay as a standalone. There’s things that you’ll miss, particularly in the way of character building and a bit of backstory, but each book is designed to be more or less a standalone. I don’t have much negative to say about this. I read it quickly because I really had to know what poor Jane had gotten herself into. Oh the tangled webs we weave. What I loved most about this is the ethical and societal questions that are raised as far as class and gender and so many other things. There was so much packed in between the murder that I enjoyed almost as much as the mystery, and the story focused on three strong women defying the restraints placed on them by their society, which was delightful.

3.5. Thank you for the ARC from First To Read and Penguin Random House. Why Kill the Innocent is part of a series that I haven’t read before. For me this was an average historical mystery. I certainly enjoyed it but I found it a bit scattered and repetitious. It did ask one question that I’ll forever wonder about - how many great artists, playwrights, musicians, etc were simply lost to us because they were women. Very sad to think about......

C.S. Harris does an admirable job of weaving history with an interesting plot. The characters are well developed and believable with good pace, however, I missed having enough depth to really connect. Only one person was vile enough to despise but several more had the potential. The husband and wife team of investigators were not enough for me to understand or root for, they just kept moving forward. I did enjoy a peek into the Royal Court, Rothschild's fortune making, intrigue and perspective of the elite. The level of corruption and disdain for the lower classes was eye opening. All in all, thanks for the good read.

I am a huge fan of C.S. Harris and the Sebastian St. Cyr series. This book was awesome. It stayed true to the characters, and brought in new depths. The mysterious death in this book is linked back to the Crown and Harris does an excellent job maintaining historical accuracy and giving the reader tons of details. I love how Harris doesn't sugarcoat the way the poor were treated, or the way women were so restricted- she tackles it head on. I think this is one of my favorites of the series. I can't wait for more!

I read the first two books of this series, then lost interest, but decided to try this later book. I'm pleased to say they improved over time. The character development over the subsequent books is summed up in bits and pieces, well enough to keep reading, without being an info dump. It all starts with the murder (or manslaughter) of princess Charlotte's piano teacher. The government hushes it up as a tragic accident, but it's clear her body was moved. As St.Cyr investigates, it's clear there are several motives, and plenty of deceit. He soon realizes he's missing an important piece of the puzzle, though not before more people die. The solution is quite smart, tying together all the motives and seeing some kind of justice done (without scandal, of course.) It's not entirely satisfactory, but it does give some hope for the survivors. And the Author's Note separates fact from fiction, and tells a little more about the real people's lives (not a lot of happy endings there, either.)

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This cozy mystery is well worth reading. All the characters are well rounded and the scenery easily pictured. The end is very unexpected.

"Why Kill the Innocent" by C.S. Harris was an intriguing and intelligent murder mystery. Narrated through a husband and wife team in 19th century England, the reader is introduced to a world of political drama, both domestic and international. As Sebastian and Hero investigate the brutal death of a young princess's music teacher, the reader is drawn into red herrings and rabbit holes until the end. After reading this book from the series, I am definitely interested to go back and read more about Sebastian and Hero and their crime solving adventures in London.

As with the previous books in the series, this is a well-researched historical and pulls from many actual events. I appreciate how the author weaves in this real history to the story. It provides a really interesting backdrop for the actual mystery. I also appreciate how Harris is able to deftly integrate commentary on the many social and political injustices that were prevalent during this time period. The murder investigation itself is bound up in a layers of palace and political intrigue with a few surprises as well. Overall a solid and enjoyable contribution to an excellent series. A few notes: As noted above, this is part of a series, and I really wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone. You don’t get the depth of the characters and there are important pieces of backstory that inform how characters interact with one another. There is quite a bit of political intrigue, even for this series. I’m a history and political science nerd so I love it personally, but it might be off-putting for some readers.

This series is amazing. The details Harris brings to the story make it easy to fall right in. This particular book shines the light on the limits put on women of the time; from poor isolated Princess Charlotte & Jane Ambrose who can't claim her musical genius down to the seventeen year old mother who lost her husband to a press gang.

Another great book in the Sebastian St Cyr series! I've read all of this series, and I love the progression of the characters. I appreciated the increase of dialogue between Sebastian and his wife Hero. The best part of the books, in my opinion, is the depiction of their characters and their relationship. I also love the over arching plot points of the series and how not everything is cleared up in each book. Definitely makes me anxious to read the next of the series!

It takes a lot of skill to have a thirteenth book in the series still feel fresh and interesting. Luckily Harris seems to have this skill. I love the characters she's created and the way they continue to evolve. Her knowledge and use of actual historical events is what always makes her books stand apart from the others. I loved how this one felt so relevant to today's culture while simultaneously making me feel like I was transported to 1814 England.

As always, a outstanding literary mystery that combines the personal and social with the underground Victorian movements. Loved the little teasers for possible upcoming novels.

Not my genre, but it was an interesting historical read about intrigue in the 1880's royal court after the death of the piano teacher to Princess Charlotte. The focus was centered on the prevalent social injustices and inequalities for the poor intensified during a brutal freeze. Women's lack of rights and respect was highlighted also. Devlin the main character works to solve the mystery with the background descriptions poignantly described, not romanticized for the era. Great read for historical buffs.

The St. Cyr historical mystery series is one of my favorites. As with long-running series, some are more enjoyable than others. This was one of the more enjoyable ones. In the winter of 1814, with England locked in a war, London locked in the grip of snow and frigid temperatures, and the Thames locked in ice, Sebastian St. Cyr and his brilliant wife Hero investigate the murder of a musically gifted but tragically unhappy woman upon whose body Hero literally stumbles over on her way home one snowy night. One thing I especially love about this series - and Why Kill the Innocent is no exception - is the way social issues and historical details are interwoven with the mystery, including income inequality, the oppression of women of all social classes, and a corrupt monarchy. Highly recommended.

Let me start by saying that I love this series. I've read every book and intend to continue to do so. I was at a training club a couple of weeks ago and an acquaintance said she had to tell me about a great series she was reading and it was this one. It's good. That being said, I thought this book was the weakest in the series. For me, the plot could be summed up as "Protagonists travel across London to confront Someone who might be involved in Bad Stuff; Someone denies they are involved in Bad Stuff and say talk to The Other Guy; Protagonists travel across London to confront The Other Guy. The Other Guy denies he is involved in Bad Stuff but provides proof that Someone is. Return to step 1. Also, I suppose it is inevitable that, once the series got to 1814, everyone was going to the Frost Fair. Is it me, or has the Frost Fair of 1814 leapt from the past and smacked against our collective windshield, and why is that? There was the Doctor Who episode and then this is the 3rd book I've read in the last year in which the Frost Fair of 1814 played a bit part. I will say that the desperate social inequities of the time are highlighted in a way that makes them sound absolutely horrific, while, at the same time, a lot like the social inequities of today. That was very well done. The intrigue with respect to the monarchy(ies) was also very interesting; I had to resort to Wikipedia to find out What Happened Next, which I suppose says volumes about how much attention I paid in history classes, but yay for any author who can get any of us to take a look back, so we may hopefully not repeat those mistakes... Again, I look forward to the next book; not every book is going to appeal to everybody, but even when not in what I consider top form, this series is absolutely worth reading.

Harris explores the many social injustices of the time, including income inequality, oppression of women, and corrupt monarchy. All while giving us a compelling mystery deftly set in a fantastic historical setting. Brava!!

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have to start by saying I was disappointed in Why Kill the Innocent. This is one of my favorite mystery series and I have never missed any. In fact I have read then all in order. So to start this is a nice mystery and we get to watch Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero work to solve the murder of Jane Ambrose, a murder that the crown wants swept under the table. A lot of the actual history of the period is used to solve the murder and makes for some very interesting reading. What I felt missing was the tension between the various characters and any lead toward solving the issues that have been set up as part of the backstory in the series. Where any of that comes up lacks the connection to the series characters. I want Sebastian to still be looking into his past and I want more of a conflict between Hero and her father. That would have added to this story and would have moved the story arc instead of stalling it leaving me with a feeling that the story was just a little flat.

 


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