Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Where Serpents Sleep by C. S. Harris

All right, sisters, you know me. I'll admit up front I do not read mysteries, my reading material of choice, in order, if a particular title is part of a series and I want to read it. Many see this as a reader's heresy. I do not. Many authors don't hit their stride until 2 or 3 books in, and if the first book stinks, well, there are too many good books out there to read to waste time on stinky books.

Title: Where Serpents Sleep
Author: C. S. Harris
Location: London
Time: May 1812

Plot Synopsis: A Quaker shelter for 'soiled doves' is burnt down, but the crime reaches into the very highest echelons of England's government and titled society.

Full Disclosure: Mostly read during a 4-hour bout with insomnia, 1-4 a.m. (Me, insomnia! I never have insomnia! Dang perimenopause.)

Now, Where Serpents Sleep is by no means stinky, but it is book four in the Sebastian St. Cyr series (say that three times, fast), so I entered it with no preconceptions.

Ms. Harris does a good job in sliding in enough information for the novice to keep track of everyone and what has gone on between them in the past without distracting the reader from the story unfolding in front of their eyes. But maybe I've read too many of these or I'm too cynical, but I guessed the basic plot twists 100 pages before they were revealed (if not more). But despite that (and my belief that a good editor could have shaved 50 pages off its paperback length without sacrificing anything), I enjoyed it. Perhaps a little grim in parts, but not gross, nor did it wallow too long in the seamy side of London. Not enough gore for fans of forensic television shows, but certainly enough for me (wimpy me). I will probably revisit Sebastian St. Cyr and his world.

Bookmark salute for vivid recreation of early nineteenth century London (This ain't Jane Austen, gentle reader)
Minor quibble: Quaker minister's dialogue inconsistencies

posted by: Middle Sister

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