Review of WHEN FALCONS FALL & WHERE THE DEAD LIE

WHEN FALCONS FALL
C.S. Harris
March 7th, 2017 (book 11)
WHERE THE DEAD LIE
April 4th, 2017 (book 12)
Berkley Pub

 

 

 
C. S. Harris has two books being published back-to-back. WHEN FALCONS FALL comes out on March 7th and WHERE THE DEAD LIE  on April 4th. As with all her books the thread is a mystery surrounded by a historical event, periodic details, and memorable settings. Anyone who likes historical mysteries with imperfect heroes and heroines will enjoy these books.

Harris uses her expertise of having a Ph.D in European history with a specialty on the French Revolution and 19th-century Europe. She noted, “I enjoy writing these historical mysteries because I am able to put in more of a historical weight to the stories. I decided to set it in England because the period in France, with the French Revolution, is so dark. In WHEN THE FALCONS the historical event I decided to write about is the house arrest of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother. I set this outside of London, in Shropshire, and after I found out about his status I saw it as a sign. In the latest book I have the historical piece as a theme throughout the whole novel, how the poor people in London were in desperate straits.”

Readers will have to remind themselves that this is not a contemporary novel so the detective work is in some ways archaic. Harris also noted, as an author she needs to find ways to solve the crime “without the attention being on the forensics. I cannot use the modern techniques of fingerprints and blood spatter. Even the time of death cannot be narrowed down. Another problem I must be aware of is that there were servants everywhere. I have to figure out how to make a crime happen where there are no servants around to witness it. This is why I put in the scene with the countryside coroner in When Falcons Fall, where he and detective Sebastian, my main character, must find ways to determine if the person was murdered instead of committing suicide.”

WHEN FALCON FALL explores how people can be affected by their heritage. Both Sebastian and the victim searched for the identity of their family, neither knowing where and whom they came from. Emma Chance was found dead after coming to a town to try to find out about her parentage. As Sebastian tries to determine her cause of death the dead keep mounting up. He must piece together the relationship of apparent clues: a long-ago fire, a house party that led to tragedy, a missing sketchbook, a quotation from Hamlet ripped from the book of the parish vicar, and the sinister presence of a gibbet.

WHERE THE DEAD LIE deals with the gruesome murders of street children in London. It is a “who done it” that leads to a search for a serial killer that preys on young homeless boys. In attempting to find the killer he discovers that someone from society’s upper echelon is preying on the city’s most vulnerable.

Both these books has Sebastian determined to solve the crimes and bring justice to the victims. Besides a gripping mystery, readers will get some historical context regarding the period.