Hold on to your top hats this is one Victorian mystery series you don’t want to miss out on. The Sebastian St. Cyr series is one I’ve had on my “To Read” list for well over a year. I wanted to read it because it’s one of my favorite historical periods but mysteries for me are sort of hit or miss. Sometimes they’re predictible and other times they’re downright boring. I hold them to a pretty high standard mostly because I got my start in the world of mystery from Mary Higgins Clark (Loves Music, Loves to Dance, anyone?)
How can I sell you on this series? Well for starters the author whose real name is Candice Proctor, is a legit historian with the Ph.D. to back it up and has field experience as an. The lady knows her game and knows it well.
But, it might be a bit dry and too much on the details of olde tyme Victorian Britain, you say. It’s not. It is a perfect blend of mystery, well placed and paced historical events and mannerisms, not to mention a cast of interesting characters who chafe against societal norms. It’s brilliant. And there’s even romance, though it only plays a minor role it does serve to move the plot forward with each new book. Did I mention there’s an overall mystery that arcs through the ENTIRE SERIES? Each book gives you a bit more to ponder.
My favorite thing I love about this series is that at the end of each book (currently I’m on #8) she puts in an Author’s Note that delves into the real historical events, objects and people used to create her story and gives the whys and hows. It’s fascinating if you’re into that sort of thing and makes each book feel entirely plausible. She even goes so far as to suggest other well-written books on the specific subject of each mystery. It’s the historical facts that are woven so well into each story that really do it for me.
I would suggest starting with #1 (pictured above) and go from there. The first book is a bit slow, but not a bad read. Each book gets successively better and more intriguing as Sebastian moves throughout London and beyond. Definitely fun and definitely informative (one of the few fictional books I’ve read that portray this time period without all the frills).