Where the Dead Lie
A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery
April 4, 2017
12th installment of the series
set in 1813 England
I seldom read books of this era, but there was something intriguing about this plot. As disturbing as the topic was, this wasn’t a book I could put down as the description places the reader in every dark and dangerous corner. You can see the tattered clothes on the children, the dirt on their faces, and sense their fear.
Where the Dead Lie opens with a burial. Not the kind you’re invited to. No, this was murder and the burial was planned late at night at an abandoned building to go unnoticed. A gentleman watches the illegal act anticipating his quick escape knowing that the crime will be buried with the corpse. Though a homeless, former soldier seeking shelter in the abandoned shot factory caught them in the act. The magistrate who should be dealing with the case refuses to seek justice for the young, dead pickpocket. Constable Mott Gowan takes on the responsibility feeling the child deserved the truth to be revealed and a better burial.
The children of the streets have no wealth, no history, no protection. They need someone to be their voice. So when the body of a boy buried in the makeshift grave is brought to the attention of Surgeon Paul Gibson he contacts Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. The two often investigate cases turned down by the authorities.
Sebastian immediately arrives at Paul’s home and witnesses the boy’s tortured body lying on a stone slab. After experiencing disgust and anger, Devlin is determined to find the person responsible for this horrid crime. Through his investigation, he uncovers a web of deviance that caters to the wealthy through prostitution and illegal books. Through his and his wife’s interviews, they learn that the boy is Benji Thatcher and when his mother was transported to Botany Bay, he and his younger sister were left alone. They struggled to stay alive.
Paul and Sebastian must find out who murdered Benji? Have other children met the same ending? And where is Benji’s sister?
This was a dark, disturbing novel and yet a perfect venture into man at his worst. The street youth, the witnesses and criminals were well drawn. I felt like I was watching a movie. I also learned about poverty in this time period. How mothers went to prison for stealing the simplest of things because prostitution was not an acceptable alternative. Then the unthinkable happens and these poor children were left to fend for themselves. They became pickpockets or worse to survive. Their society failed them and abandoned them. To make matters even worse, they are preyed upon.
Only problem was a printing error not caught right away, but I was told it was fixed. I read the e-book instead.
Five street children out of five
April 30, 2017