Who Speaks for the Damned

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 May 2020

Member Reviews

Nicholas Hayes is found murdered very early on in this book and his murder sets off a whole host of dominoes as it was believed that Nicholas was dead and had been for years.  His return and murder brings out some long held animosity between quite a few people, but who was mad enough to murder.

This was the first book by CS Harris that I have read and I enjoyed it, but it didn't wow me when I compare it to other books in the genre.  What I didn't love about the story was the who dun it of it.  I felt as though the detective was clunky of sorts and it circled and circled and I wanted to feel as though the detective was just a bit smarter.  

The thing that kept me reading and that I enjoyed the most about the book was its pacing.  For me when I read mystery/thriller books, they must have good pacing and the book must keep moving forward or else I can loose attention and fast.  This book kept the pacing and at the end of each chapter I was ready to read the next.  

I don't know that I would go back and start this series at the beginning.  Thankfully starting on book 15 wasn't a problem as there wasn't much of a focus on the personal life of the main character and the plot was entirely about the murder that was enclosed in this one book.
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"Who Speaks for the Damned" is a mystery set in June 1814 in London. This book is the 15th in a series, but you can understand it without having read the previous novels.

Historical information was woven into the story and provided a distinct feel of that specific time and place. The characters were interesting, complex, and acted in realistic ways. Both Hero and Sebastian were involved in the investigation, though Sebastian was the main investigator. He tracked down leads and asked good questions. There were several suspects who had a motive, and it could have been any (or several or all) of them until the final clues at the end. Sex occurred between Hero and Sebastian, but it was only briefly described (not play-by-play, graphically-described sex scenes). There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical mystery.
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4.5 stars

  I think the secret of success to a long running series is making characters that you care about. You want to read the next book to find out what the characters have been doing since you left them last. I know it sounds odd but I really like the characters in this series and I just can't wait to catch up with them. I enjoy the time I spend with them.  This book is not exception.

  St. Cyr gets involved in solving the murder of a disgraced son of an Earl. Sentenced to murder and sent to a prison, the man had been thought to be dead 15 years ago. Somehow he was alive and returned to London for some reason. St. Cyr cannot rest until he finds out who murdered him, why he returned to London and the truth about the original murder.

  The search takes him all over London from the Palace to the slums. Set in 1814 just after Napoleon is defeated, the attention to historical detail is great. You really get the sense of time and place.  Even though it's the 15th book, it can be read as a stand alone. I thought it was a good addition to this wonderful series.

  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #15
Publication Date: 4/7/20
Number of Pages: 352

Hold on to your hats because this intense and complex historical mystery is going to take you on a rollercoaster of a ride. We are fifteen books into the series, and you’d think things might begin to get a tad stale. That isn’t even remotely close to the case though. This book is as fresh, different, and interesting as the first book in the series. The author’s research and grasp of the history of that period are outstanding and make you feel as if you are right there living the tale as it unfolds.

I’ll make no bones about it – this book ripped my heart from my chest, flung it to the floor and stepped on all the little pieces. Many of this author’s victims are sympathetic and you mourn their passing, but this one… If you don’t wail at the things that he had to endure in his life only to be murdered – well…

Nicholas Hayes was discovered in Pennington’s Tea Gardens with a sickle protruding from his back. He’d only been back in England for a week or two after eighteen years away. Everyone had thought he had died after being transported when he had been convicted of the murder of a young Frenchwoman. If he had escaped death after he’d been transported, why would he return to London where he’d be immediately executed if the crown discovered him? What of the young child who is with him?

As we learn more about our victim, we find that all is not as one would think. But, who wanted him to die and why? You’ll learn all of that as you follow the clues along with Sebastian and Hero. You’ll meet some truly despicable people – true vermin in the guise of humans. You’ll also meet and get to know some lovely, caring people who deserve a better life than they’ve had.

This was truly a wonderful read – well-written, well-plotted and filled chock full of characters you will either love or hate, but nothing in-between. For me personally, because it was such an emotional read, I should probably have chosen to read it at some time other than the midst of a global pandemic. But, nonetheless, I am happy to have read it and I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I am late to this series, having wanted to read it for years but only actually getting around to it back in December, but after fifteen books, no matter how recent a fan, you have to wonder : how long will it go on?

This installment definitely felt episodic in the sense that this was removed from what I sort've expected to see come to light by now. Events I can't hint at or speak of due to s p o i l e r s. Instead this was just another vaguely run of the mill murder mystery that Sebastian involves himself in, much to the dismay of almost everyone around him, and as a result a lot of other people die in the midst of trying to cover something up from long ago, now come back to haunt them, and which is forced out into the open because they tried to cover it up.. again.

The one positive I can say (well, okay, that sounds terrible, this book wasn't bad, but..) is that some of that copy and paste feeling I had reading these books, particularly when dealing with a certain character, wasn't present this time. Some of the laziness was absent from this fifteenth book and that made everything feel much less rote, which I appreciated. Again, I just wonder, how long can things continue? I have nothing against a long series but only when the new books offer something worthwhile or fresh for the characters; that's why we read these. Not for the plot or villain of the week but for progress. 

There did seem to be some nostalgia and hearkening back to book one in this installment, some what-if and it-could've-been-me which did allow for some perspective on Sebastian's part but I think we had already worked through most of that, so why was it important to rehash?

If you missed these characters, I think you'll be satisfied by the new book. If you expected that long-awaited drama to bubble up and dealt with head-on, you might be disappointed. But either way I think you'll enjoy sinking into a familiar world considering the world outside is looking mighty strange right now. This will be comforting in that respect but a new favourite? I wouldn't expect so.
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First time reading this author. I enjoyed the characters, the mystery, the setting,  and the ending. I have started looking for the older books in the series.  

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Who killed the disowned third son of an Earl? That is what Sebastian St. Cyr (Viscount Devlin) wants to find out. And what happened to the young child who came to Devlin's valet Calhoun after the murder and then disappeared? They need to find him before the person responsible for Hayes' death finds him as well. This installment of the series had a different feel than the two others I've read. A missing child is worrisome. He's not from England so where would he go? Sebastian investigates. He feels a certain empathy with the deceased man and wants to learn the truth in case he can clear Hayes' name. As usual, there is the discovery of more dead bodies in the aftermath of Hayes's murder. The lengths someone will go to keep up appearances is remarkable. With the assistance of his wife Hero and a few other regulars who fans of the series will recognize, Sebastian is determined to solve the case. I really liked this mystery and wonder if there are more for Lord Devlin to solve. Recommended to fans of historical mysteries.
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Who Speaks for the Damned is book fifteen in C.S. Harris’ series of historical mysteries featuring aristocratic sleuth, Sebastian St. Cyr, and could, at a pinch, be read as a standalone.  While earlier books in the series featured a long-running plotline concerning Sebastian’s his search for the truth about his origins, that doesn’t really feature here, so a new reader could jump right in.  That said, this is a consistently well-written series that has garnered high praise across the board – including several DIK reviews here – and I’d advise any fan of the genre who hasn’t yet read the series to go back to the beginning with What Angels Fear.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

It’s the swelteringly stuffy June of 1814 and London society is preoccupied with the visit of dignitaries from Austria, Russia and the German states, who have gathered in the city at the behest of the Prince Regent to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon and the re-establishment of peace and monarchical rule throughout Europe.  Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero are spending time with their infant son prior to attending an engagement, when they are informed of the death – the murder – of Nicholas Hayes, youngest son of the late Earl of Seaforth.  The murder of an earl’s son in a tea garden in Somer’s Town is unusual enough, but Hayes, who, twenty years earlier had been found guilty of murder and transported to Botany Bay, is believed to have died over a decade before.  Which begs many questions – not least of which is what Hayes was doing back in England when, if discovered, he’d have been arrested and probably hanged.

Sebastian’s valet Jules Calhoun is the one who delivered the news, and Sebastian is a little surprised to discover that he had known the deceased before he was transported – and that he was aware that Hayes had returned to England accompanied by a young, half-Chinese boy named Ji.  Calhoun doesn’t know who Ji is to Hayes, but the boy has disappeared; concerned for his safety, Hero, who is currently researching an article about London’s street musicians, sets about looking for him among that community while Sebastian, with the help of Bow Street magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy, begins to look for whoever was responsible for Hayes’ death.

His enquiries begin to paint a picture of Hayes as a rather wild and unprincipled young man.  Some months before he was convicted of killing the Comtesse de Compans, he abducted a wealthy heiress, presumably with the intent to force her into marriage in order to gain control of her fortune.  Yet that Nicholas Hayes is one completely at odds with the man Calhoun had known, and as Sebastian digs deeper, a rounder, more sympathetic portrait of Nicholas begins to emerge. Sebastian, himself the son of an earl and once accused of a murder he did not commit (What Angels Fear), finds himself identifying strongly with the dead man and becomes more and more convinced  that Nicholas was wrongly convicted.  Could he have returned to England in order to exact revenge on whoever set him up?  And if so, why now?  Most importantly, who had a strong enough motive to want him dead?  Could Ji be Nicholas’ son and therefore a threat to the position of the current Earl?  Could the Comte de Compans – currently in London as part of the retinue of the newly-restored King Louis XVIII – have taken revenge for the murder of his wife? Or perhaps the husband and father of the young woman Hayes is accused of abducting wanted their pound of flesh.

C.S. Harris has – as always - penned a complex, tightly-plotted mystery rich in historical detail and full of intrigue and red-herrings.  Unsurprisingly, there is a lot more to the murder than at first appears, and equally unsurprisingly, the people most closely connected to Hayes are tight-lipped and evasive.  With the help of Hero, Calhoun, surgeon Paul Gibson and his formidable Aunt Henrietta – who knows everyone worth knowing, and has her finger on the pulse of the best gossip, past and present – Sebastian is able to start piecing together a picture of the truth behind Hayes’ conviction for murder and his reasons for returning to England.  It all makes for a thoroughly entertaining and compelling mystery and, when the truth finally comes to light, reveals an incredibly poignant picture of a life wilfully and carelessly destroyed – a life that could have been Sebastian’s just a few years earlier.

Who Speaks for the Damned is another gripping instalment in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, and one I’m sure St. Cyr will need no urging to pick up as soon as it’s released.

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4 stars for another enjoyable historical fiction book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. This is book 15 in the series and I recommend that you start at the beginning, because there are continuing plot developments in Sebastian's personal life throughout the series.
I started reading this series when I won book 10 in a Goodreads giveaway 4 years ago and enjoyed the book so much that I started reading the rest of the series.
In this book, Sebastian, aka Viscount Devlin(the English do love their titles!), is approached by his valet, Calhoun, who asks Devlin to investigate the murder of his friend, Nicholas Hayes. Calhoun has a somewhat shady background. Calhoun's underworld connections have proved useful to Devlin in the past. Devlin agrees to investigate as he has done in each of the past books(not always on behalf of Calhoun). Book 1 was actually a case of Devlin being accused of a murder that he did not commit. In that book, he proves himself innocent by finding the real murderer. Now the authorities are happy to cooperate with him, because of his uncanny abilities to find killers.
Devlin does find the murderer, after many twists and turns in an absorbing plot with well written characters.
I learned something new in this book. "Lascars were Asian sailors who served as seamen on British ships to replace the sailors who tended to die at such alarming rates in the East."
Devlin on murder: "Murder is unseemly. Making certain a killer doesn't get away with what he has done is an obligation we the living owe to the dead-no matter how unsavory we consider them to be."
Thank You Dache Rogers at Berkley for sending me this eARC through NetGalley.
#WhoSpeaksfortheDamned #NetGalley
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In his 15th adventure, early 19th century sleuth Sebastian St. Cyr, aka Lord Devlin, takes a case surprisingly close to home when an old acquaintance of his valet is found murdered in one of London's public pleasure gardens. The victim, a scandal-ridden nobleman, was convicted of homicide as a young man, sentenced to transportation abroad, and was assumed dead for decades. While investigating the reason for the fugitive's return, the motive for his slaying, and the identity of the part-Chinese youngster who had been in his care, Sebastian is led into a labyrinth of secrets and lies, some with connections to top-level political negotiations underway following the defeat of Napoleon. Accurate period details and atmospherics draw readers wholly into day-to-day life in 1814. This is a strong addition to a notable series. Note: The publisher supplied an advance reading copy via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Another satisfying title in the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I discovered this series with book 13 and quickly binge-read all the previous titles.  Who Speaks for the Damned also did not disappoint.  All the usual cast of characters are present and the events of Regency London provide a fine backdrop to another intriguing mystery.  A nobleman who had be sent to Australia after the murder of the woman he supposedly loved is found dead in a park.  Sebastian and his closest associates work to discover why he returned, what happened to the child he had with him, and who killed him.  Although the book has the usual themes of Hero working for the rights of the poor, Sebastian sparring with his father-in-law Jarvis, and working with doctor friend.Gibson, this story feels more personal and introspective with Sebastian considering his own choices and life.  An enjoyable read - I look forward to the next book!
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Who Speaks for the Damned is Harris back at her finest! A twisty, complex mystery that kept me guessing right up to the end. Sebastian and Hero are in top form and we got to catch up a little with Tom which was nice. I also enjoy her notes at the end explaining the historical events and what she chose to change to fit her narrative. 

Long time readers of the series will be very pleased with this installment and new readers will want to go back and read the entire series. Harris' continued use of real historical events as anchors for the plot and characters makes the series engaging to readers who don't normally read fiction.
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Who Speaks for the Damned is the fifteenth book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris. An intriguing mystery that is full of twists and turns that are sure to keep you second-guessing until the end. Who Speaks for the Damned is a page-turner with action, suspense, and lots of mysterious drama. This can easily be read as a standalone novel but after you read Who Speaks for the Damned you will want to read the whole Sebastian St. Cyr series.
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When accused murderer, Nicholas Hayes,  is found dead in a tea garden, many are shocked to learn he had returned to England after being transported for his crime. Sebastian St Cyr takes it upon himself to once again champion the underdog as he attempts to find the killer and the young child who was traveling with Hayes. 

C.S. Harris' latest St Cyr mystery-Who Speaks for the Damned- examines the ties that bind family and the lengths some will go to cut those ties. Set in the 1800's, Harris' rather extensive historic knowledge creates an engaging and surprisingly sympathetic mystery suspense series with a rather complicated protagonist whose need for justice for all often lands him on the wrong side of the law.  Action, suspense, humor, and some rather poignant moments only add to the overall enjoyment of this installment. I look forward to solving more mysteries with Harris and her St Cyr in the future.
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I have always enjoyed the Sebastian St. Cyr series and this one does not disappoint. Sebastian tries to solve the murder of a former gentleman whose rough life could have easily been Sebastian's. Some of the more sideline characters get more spotlight, like Jules Calhoun. Hero also has a role but slightly less than what we have seen in the past. Overall a fun read that I highly recommend!

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkeley Publishing Group for the ARC.
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I don't know how book 15 in a series can still be so good, but C.S. Harris continues to impress. These are some of the best, smartest mysteries out there, & I hope the series continues for many books more.
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When the body of man who's supposedly been dead for years turns up in a pleasure garden, Sebastian, with the help of Hero and his valet Calhoun, dig into the exiled nobleman's past to uncover the truth of his death and race against the clock to save the child he brought with him.
I absolutely love this series and highly recommend it to mystery and historical fiction fans.
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As always, C.S. Harris delivers in the newest Sebastian St. Cyr mystery. In this installment, Lord Devlin investigates the murder of a nobleman who was transported to Botany Bay eighteen years before for killing the wife of a French aristocrat. Unsurprisingly, there is much more to both murders than it first appears. This one has an additional layer as Sebastian feels connected to this case due to him nearly been placed into a similar situation when he was wrongly accused of a crime (remember the plot line of the first book in the series?). Gritty and fast-paced, fans are sure to love the newest in the series.
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I enjoy reading historical fiction and was looking forward to this review copy from Netgalley. I have to say that although I had fun reading this book, it was certainly not outstanding. The novel takes place in early 19th century England, and the the feel and life of that period was well portrayed. A disowned son of nobility has returned home and is murdered. There follows more murders possibly related to the first. They are investigated by another gentleman of nobility who tends to investigate murders as a "hobby." There are a lot of twists and turns to prevent the reader for solving the murders before the protagonist does, but after a while it got a little tiresome.
If you are looking for just a quick historical mystery read, this will serve the purpose. But don't look for anything of any depth.
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When a disgraced British nobleman is found dead in the tea gardens, Sebastian decides to investigate.  No one cares that he's dead other than the child he brought with him.   It's hiding on the streets with no idea where to go or what to do.  He and his wife try to find the child but have no luck.  Sebastien pursues the case.  What he learns is disturbing.

Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you.  It will be published April 7th.

He finds that the man has been treated badly his whole life.  When he and his love eloped, he was accused of kidnapping to save her from scandal.  When she had his baby, her father farmed it out to a wet nurse who used opium to keep the basbies quiet and she killed it.

Then his brother commits suicide because the lady he loves was just using him.  He goes to confront her, gets in a fight with her husband, and she ends up dead.  Nicholas is charged for her murder even though he tries to tell them he didn't do it.  They send him away to a prison, where he gets beat and barely survives.  When the ship he's on goes down, he and a jailer end up on an island together.  He leaves the jailer's body after he's disfigured his face and heads to China.  After he's regained his health, he comes back home.

Sebastien thinks one of the men who betrayed him killed him.  Then the four suspects start to die.  Who's killing them?
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