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Why Kings Confess

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Regency England, January 1813: The mutilated body of a young French doctor found in an alley beside a mysterious, badly injured wo... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

Regency England, January 1813: The mutilated body of a young French doctor found in an alley beside a mysterious, badly injured woman entangles Sebastian in the deadly riddle of the "Lost Dauphin," the boy prince who disappeared during the darkest days of the French Revolution. Thrust into dangerous conflict with the Dauphin's sister-the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette-Sebastian finds his self-control shattered when he recognizes the injured woman as Alexi Sauvage, a figure from his own past associated with an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him. With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian fears for the lives of his pregnant wife, Hero, and their soon-to-be-born child. And when he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in an incident he has found too terrible to consider....

#8220;Best historical thriller writer in the business!”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner

Praise for Why Kings Confess

“Harris´s best Regency whodunit yet...[She] melds mystery and history as seamlessly as she integrates developments in her lead’s personal life into the plot.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
 
“Harris’s novel shows an intimate knowledge of both the political and social history of Regency England.…The history, characters, mystery, and atmosphere all draw the reader in and don’t let go.”—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

Autorentext

C. S. Harris has written more than twenty novels. Why Kings Confess is the ninth book in the Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series, following What Darkness Brings, When Maidens Mourn, and Where Shadows Dance. Harris is also the author of the C. S. Graham thriller series coauthored with former intelligence officer Steven Harris, including The Babylonian Codex, The Solomon Effect, and The Archangel Project, and, writing as Candice Proctor, is the author of seven award-winning historical romances, including Beyond Sunrise and Midnight Confessions. A respected scholar of nineteenth-century Europe, she is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of the French Revolution entitled Women, Equality, and the French Revolution. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and has two daughters.



Zusammenfassung
Regency England, January 1813: The mutilated body of a young French doctor found in an alley beside a mysterious, badly injured woman entangles Sebastian in the deadly riddle of the “Lost Dauphin,” the boy prince who disappeared during the darkest days of the French Revolution.
 
Thrust into dangerous conflict with the Dauphin’s sister—the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette—Sebastian finds his self-control shattered when he recognizes the injured woman as Alexi Sauvage, a figure from his own past associated with an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him.
 
With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian fears for the lives of his pregnant wife, Hero, and their soon-to-be-born child. And when he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in an incident he has found too terrible to consider....

Leseprobe

Chapter 1

St. Katharine’s, East London Thursday, 21 January 1813

Paul Gibson lurched down the dark, narrow lane, his face raw from the cold, his fingers numb. There were times when he wandered these alleyways lost in brightly hued reveries of opium-induced euphoria. But not tonight. Tonight, Gibson clenched his jaw and tried to focus on the tap-tap of his wooden leg on the icy cobbles, the reedy wail of a babe carried on the night wind—anything that might distract his mind from the restless, hungering need that drenched his thin frame with sweat and tormented him with ghosts of what could be.

When he first noticed the woman, he thought her an apparition, a mirage of gray wool and velvet lying crumpled beside the entrance to a fetid passageway. But as he drew nearer, he saw pale flesh and the gleaming dark wetness of blood and knew she was only too real.

He drew up sharply, the dank, briny air of the nearby Thames rasping in his throat. Cat’s Hole, they called this narrow lane, a refuge for thieves, prostitutes, and all the desperate dispossessed of England and beyond. He could feel his heart pounding; the stars glittered like shards of broken glass in the thin slice of cold black sky visible between the looming rooftops above. He hesitated perhaps longer than he should have. But he was a surgeon, his life dedicated to the care of others.

He pushed himself forward again.

She lay curled half on her side, one hand flung out palm up, eyes closed. He hunkered down awkwardly beside her, fingertips searching for a pulse in her slim neck. Her face was delicately boned and framed by a riot of long, flame red hair, her lashes dark and thick against the pale flesh of her smooth cheeks, her lips purple-blue with cold. Or death.

But at his touch, her eyelids fluttered open, her chest jerking on a sob and a broken, whispered prayer. “Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu, priez pour nous pauvres pécheurs . . .”

“It’s all right; I’m here to help you,” he said gently, wondering whether she could even understand him. “Where are you hurt?”

The entire side of her head, he now saw, was matted with blood. Wide-eyed and frightened, she fixed her gaze on him. Then her focus shifted to where the black mouth of the passage yawned beside them. “Damion . . .” Her hand jerked up to clutch his sleeve. “Is he all right?”

Gibson followed her gaze. The man’s body was more difficult to discern, a dark, motionless mass deep in the shadows. Gibson shook his head. “I don’t know.”

Her grip on his arm twisted convulsively. “Go to him. Please.”

Nodding, Gibson surged upright, staggering slightly as his wooden peg took his weight and the phantom pains of a long-gone limb ripped through him.

The passage reeked of rot and excrement and the familiar coppery stench of spilled blood. The man lay sprawled on his back beside a pile of broken hogsheads and crates. It was with difficulty that Gibson picked out the once snowy white folds of a cravat, the silken sheen of what had been a fine waistcoat but was now a blood-soaked mess, horribly ripped.

“Tell me,” said the woman. “Tell me he lives.”

But Gibson could only stare at the body before him. The man’s eyes were wide and sightless, his handsome young face pallid, his outflung arms stiffening in the cold. Someone had hacked open the corpse’s chest with a ruthless savagery that spoke of rage tinged with madness. And where the heart should have been gaped only an open cavity.

Bloody and empty.

Chapter 2

Friday, 22 January

The dream began as it often did, with the sun shining golden warm and the laughter of children at play floating on an orange blossom–scented breeze.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, moved restlessly in his sleep, for he knew only too well what was to come. The thunder of galloping horses. A shouted order. The hiss of sabers drawn with deadly purpose from well-oiled scabbards. He gave a low moan.

“Devlin?”

Laughter turned to screams of terror. His vision filled with slashing hooves and bare steel stained dark with innocent blood.

“Devlin.”

He opened his eyes, his chest heaving as he sucked in a deep, ragged breath. He felt his wife’s gentle fingertips touch his lips. Her face rose above him in the darkness, her features pale in the glow of the fire that still burned warm on the bedroom hearth. “It’s a dream,” she whispered, although he saw the worry that drew together her dark brows. “Just a dream.”

For a moment he could only stare at her, lost in the past. Then he folded his arms around Hero and drew her close, so that she could no longer see his face. It was a dream, yes. But it was also a memory, one he had never shared with anyone.

“Did I wake you?” he asked, his voice a hoarse rasp. “I’m sorry.”

She shook her head, her weight shifting as she sought in vain for a comfortable position, for she was nearly nine months heavy with his child. “Your son keeps kicking me.”

Smiling, he placed his hand on the taut mound of her belly and felt a strong heel grind against his palm. “Shockingly ill-mannered of her.”

“I think he’s beginning to find it a wee bit crowded in there.”

“There is a solution.”

She laughed, a low, husky sound that caught without warning at his heart, then twisted. As much as he yearned to hold this child in his arms, thoughts of the looming birth inevitably brought a sense of disquiet that came perilously close to fear. He’d read once that more than one in ten women died in childbirth. Hero’s own mother had lost babe after babe—before nearly dying herself.

Yet he heard no echo of his own terror in Hero’s calm voice when she said, “Not long now.”

He felt the babe kick one last time, then settle as Hero snuggled beside him. He brushed his lips against her temple and murmured, “Try to sleep.”

“You sleep,” she said, still smiling.

He watched her eyelids drift closed, her breathing slow. Yet the tension that thrummed within him remained, and he found himself wondering if it was the coming babe that had sent his unconscious thoughts drifting back to a time he wished so desperately to forget. A cold wind stirred the heavy velvet drapes at the windows and banged an unlatched shutter somewhere in the darkness. There were nights when the high, arid mountains and ancient, stone-walled villages of Spain and Portugal seemed a lifetime away from the London town house sleeping around him. Yet he knew they were not.

He was still awake when an urgent message arrived in Brook Street from Paul Gibson, asking for Sebastian’s help.

•   •   •

The woman lay in a narrow bed in the front chamber of Gibson’s Tower Hill surgery. The room was small and plain and lit only by a single candlestick and the enormous fire that roared on the hearth. Piles of blankets covered her thin frame, yet still she shivered. Between the blankets and the thick bandage that swathed the side of her head, Sebastian could see little of her face. But what he could see looked ominously pale and bloodless.

“Will she live?” he asked quietly, pausing in the chamber’s doorway.

Gibson stood beside the bed, his gaze, like Sebastian’s, on the unconscious woman before him. “Difficult to say at this point. There could be bleeding in the brain. If so . . .” He let his voice trail away.

Sebastian shifted his gaze to his friend’s gaunt face. He was looking unusually haggard, even for Gibson, his cheeks hollow and unshaven, his green eyes sunken and bloodshot, his wiry frame close to emaciated. He was only in his early thirties, yet streaks of gray already showed at the temples of his dark hair.

The two men came from different worlds, one the son of a poor Irish Catholic, the other heir to the powerful Earl of Hendon. But they were old friends. Once, they’d both worn the King’s colors, fighting from the mountains of Italy to the fever-racked swamps of the West Indies and the stony uplands of Iberia. As a regimental surgeon, Gibson had learned the secrets of life and death with an intimate familiarity rarely matched by his civilian peers. When a French cannonball tore off the lower part of one of his legs and left him bedeviled by chronic pain, he had come here, to London, to share his knowledge of anatomy at the teaching hospitals of St. Thomas’s and St. Bartholomew’s, and to open this small surgery in the shadow of the Tower of London.

“And if there is bleeding in the brain?” Sebastian asked.

“Then she’ll die.”

“How can you know?”

“Only time will tell. And then there’s the risk of pneumonia . . .” Gibson shook his head. “Her body temperature was dangerously low when I found her. I’ve packed flannel-wrapped hot bricks around her, but there’s not much else I can do at this point.”

“What was she able to tell you about the attack?”

“Nothing, I’m afraid. She lost consciousness when she learned of her companion’s death, and she’s yet to come around again. I don’t even know her name.”

Sebastian glanced at the bloodstained gray wool walking dress and velvet-trimmed spencer tossed over a nearby chair back. Both were worn but, other than for the new stains, clean and respectable. This was no common woman of the streets.

“And the dead man? What do you know of him?”

“He’s a French physician named Dr. Damion Pelletan.”

“A Frenchman?”

Gibson nodded. “According to his papers, he registered as an alien just three weeks ago.” He raked his disheveled hair back from his face with splayed fingers. “The fools who pass for the authorities in St. Katharine’s are convinced the attack was the work of footpads.”

“St. Katharine’s is a dangerous place,” said Sebastian. “Especially at night. What the devil were you doing there?”

Gibson’s gaze drifted away. “I . . . I sometimes feel the need to walk, of an evening.”

Sebastian studied his friend’s flushed, half-averted face and wondered what the hell would drive a one-legged Irish surgeon to wander the back alleys of St. Katharine’s on one of the coldest nights of the year. “You’re lucky you didn’t fall victim to these footpads yourselves.”

“Footpads had nothing to do with this.”

Sebastian raised one eyebrow. “So certain?”

Gibson nodded to the middle-aged matron who dozed in a slat-backed wooden chair beside the fire. “Keep an eye on the woman,” he told her. “I won’t be long.”

To Sebastian, he said, “There’s something I want you to see.”

Chapter 3

At the base of the frost-browned, unkempt yard that stretched to the rear of the surgery stood a low stone outbuilding where Gibson conducted both his official postmortems and the surreptitious, illegal dissections he performed on cadavers filched from the city’s churchyards by body snatchers. Of one room only, with high windows to discourage the curious, the building had a flagged floor and was bitterly cold. At its center stood a granite slab with strategically placed drains and a channel cut into the outer edge.

The body of a man, still fully clothed, lay upon it.

“I haven’t had a chance to begin with him yet,” said Gibson, hooking the lantern he carried onto the chain that dangled over the slab.

It sometimes seemed to Sebastian as if every suicide, every bloated body pulled from the Thames, every decaying cadaver that passed through this building, had left a stench that seeped into its walls, their muted howls of anguish and despair echoing still.

He took a deep breath and entered the room. “If St. Katharine’s authorities are convinced he was killed by common thieves, I’m surprised they agreed to an autopsy.”

“They weren’t exactly what you might call enthusiastic. To quote Constable O’Keefe”—Gibson puffed out his cheeks, narrowed his eyes, and adopted a decidedly nasal accent—“‘Wot ye want t’ be botherin’ wit’ all that fer, then? Sure but any fool can see wot killed him.’” The lantern swung back and forth on its chain, casting macabre shadows across the slab and its grisly occupant. He put up a hand to still it. “I had to promise I wouldn’t be charging the parish for my services. And I paid the lads who carried the body here myself.”

Sebastian studied the slim, slightly built man upon the surgeon’s slab. He was young yet, probably no more than twenty-six or twenty-eight, with a pleasant, even-featured face and high forehead framed by soft golden curls. His clothes were of good quality—better than the woman’s and considerably newer, fashionably cut in the Parisian style and showing little wear. But what had once been a fine silk waistcoat and linen shirt were now ripped and soaked with blood, the chest beneath hacked open to reveal a gaping cavity.

“What the hell? He looks like he was attacked with an axe.”

“It’s worse than that,” said Gibson, tucking his hands up under his armpits for warmth. “His heart has been removed.”

Sebastian raised his gaze to the Irishman’s solemn face. “Please tell me he was already dead when this was done to him.”

“I honestly don’t know yet.”

Sebastian forced himself to look, again, at that ravaged torso. “Any chance this could be the work of a student of medicine?”

“Are you serious? Even a butcher would have been more delicate. Whoever did this made a right royal mess of it.”

Sebastian shifted his gaze to the dead man’s face. His eyes were large and widely spaced, the nose prominent, the mouth full lipped and soft, almost feminine. Even in death, there was a gentleness and kindness to his features that made what had been done to him seem somehow that much more horrible.

“You say he was a physician?”

Gibson nodded. “He was staying at the Gifford Arms, in York Street. The constables brought round a gentleman from the hotel—a Monsieur Vaundreuil—to identify him.”

“Yet he couldn’t identify the woman?”

“Said he’d never seen her before. He also said he’d no notion what Pelletan might have been doing in St. Katharine’s.” Gibson rubbed the back of his neck. “I should mention that, along with his papers, the constables also found a purse containing both banknotes and silver.”

“Yet they’re convinced he fell victim to footpads?”

“The theory is that the thieves were interrupted.”

“By you?”

“I certainly didn’t see anyone. But then . . .”

“But then—what?” asked Sebastian.

Gibson colored. “I was rather lost in my own thoughts.”

Sebastian watched his friend look pointedly away but remained silent.

Gibson said, “If he were English, the circumstances might be strange enough to prod even St. Katharine’s authorities into taking action. But he’s not; he’s a Frenchman—a stranger—which makes it all too easy to simply dismiss the murder as the work of footpads and forget it.”

Sebastian lowered his gaze to the pallid corpse on the slab between them. For some reason he could not have named, he knew a faint, unsettling echo of that night’s troubled dream and all the unwanted memories it had provoked. For two years now he had dedicated himself to achieving a measure of justice for murder victims who would otherwise be forgotten. And it occurred to him, not for the first time, that those faraway events in Portugal had more to do with his preoccupation than he cared to explore.

He said, “Where exactly in Cat’s Hole were they?”

“There’s a small passage that opens up between a cooperage and a chandler’s shop, on the river side of the lane. I suspect he was attacked in the street and then dragged back into the passage before this was done to him.”

“And the woman?”

“Was lying in the lane, just before the passage.”

Sebastian nodded and turned toward the door. “I’d best have a look around the area now, before the neighborhood begins stirring.”

“Now? It’s the middle of the bloody night.”

Sebastian paused to look back at him. “You think it unwise of me to go wandering about St. Katharine’s, alone, in the dark, do you?”

Gibson grunted and reached to unhook the lantern. “Here. At least take this.”

“Thanks. But I don’t really need it.”

Gibson gave a rueful laugh, his fist tightening around the lantern’s handle. Sebastian was as famous for his ability to see in the dark as for his keen hearing and sharp eyesight. “No, I don’t suppose you do. But, Devlin . . . be careful. Whatever this is, it’s ugly. Very ugly.”

•   •   •

The ancient district known as St. Katharine’s ran along the northern bank of the Thames, just to the east of the ancient Tower of London. A warren of crooked lanes, crowded tenements, and dark courts, it was named for the hospital of St. Katherine’s that lay at its center.

Although called a “hospital,” St. Katharine’s was not so much a medical institution as a benevolent establishment dedicated to the care of the poor. As one of London’s medieval “liberties,” the area surrounding the old monastic buildings had long been a haven for foreign craftsmen seeking the protection it offered from the city’s powerful guilds. But along with the Flemish coopers, French artisans, and German brewers who flocked to the area had come thieves and whores, beggars and vagabonds. It was not an area a wise man wandered after dark, and Sebastian found himself wondering, again, what the hell Paul Gibson had been doing here, alone, on such a cold winter’s night.

Or what Damion Pelletan and his unidentified female companion had been doing here.

Sebastian walked up the dark, narrow lane with one hand on the double-barreled pistol in his pocket, his footsteps echoing hollowly in the icy silence, his senses alert for the slightest hint of movement or whisper of sound. The wind had died, and with the approach of false dawn a mist was beginning to creep up from the water’s edge, thick and stealthy. In another hour, these streets would begin to fill with costermongers, apprentices, and dustmen. But for the moment, all was still.

He found the passage readily enough, just beyond the battered, shuttered facade of a cooperage. Like virtually all the lanes in St. Katharine’s, Cat’s Hole was too narrow for footpaths; the dilapidated, closely packed tenements and tumbledown shops rose directly from the worn, ice-glazed cobbles of the roadway itself.

It took Sebastian only a moment to find the smear of blood near the corner of the passage. The woman’s blood? he wondered. Or Pelletan’s?

Squatting beside the bloodstain, he studied the surrounding jumble of muddy footprints and crushed ice. But between Gibson, the constables, and the men who’d helped carry Pelletan and his injured companion to Gibson’s surgery, any traces left by the murderer had been hopelessly trampled over and destroyed.

The sound of a soft snort brought up his head, and he found himself staring into the soft brown eyes of a half-grown pig that had been rooting through a nearby pile of garbage. “So,” said Sebastian. “Did you see anything?”

The pig snorted again and trotted away.

Sebastian rose thoughtfully to his feet, his eyes narrowing against the thickening fog as he turned to consider the deserted lane. From here he could see the massive, soot-stained walls of the Tower rising at the far western end of the lane. Which direction had Pelletan and the unknown woman been traveling? he wondered. Toward the relatively open ground surrounding the old medieval fortress? Or had they been headed east, deep into St. Katharine’s warren of dark, dangerous alleys and courtyards?

He turned his attention to the foul passageway beside him. Unlike the lane, the passage had never been paved. Beneath the soles of his Hessians, the thick, ice-crusted muck reeked of offal and manure and rotting fish heads. Yet despite the trampling of so many feet, Sebastian was able to find the impression left by the dead man’s body in the lee of a pile of broken crates and hogsheads.

He hunkered down, his gaze carefully assessing the surrounding area. He noted the blood-splattered wood of a nearby crate, the piece of torn, bloodstained linen trampled into the mud, more footprints, hopelessly muddled. Then he widened his search, looking for something—anything—that might give a hint as to who had killed Damion Pelletan. He was also looking for the dead man’s heart.

He did not find it.

Frustrated, he brought his gaze back to that blood-splattered pile of broken crates. What kind of a murderer hacks open his victim and steals his heart? Sebastian wondered. A madman? It was the obvious answer. Yet Sebastian had known British soldiers—even officers—who laughingly collected from their fallen enemies mementos ranging from severed fingers to ears. It was, after all, the British and French who had taught the American natives to collect scalps.

Was that what they were dealing with here? Some half-mad collector of war trophies? He supposed it was always possible. But a heart? Why would a murderer steal his victim’s heart? The heart was a potent symbol of so many things: of love, of courage, of life itself. Was the theft of Damion Pelletan’s heart symbolic? Or was it something else, something darker, something more . . .

Evil.

And he knew it again, that whisper of memory, elusive and troubling.

He pushed quickly to his feet.

He was turning to leave when he saw it: the clear imprint of a shoe left on a broken slat of wood half trampled into the mud. It wasn’t an entire footprint, only the heel and part of the sole. But there was no mistaking that mingling of mud and blood. The shoe’s wearer had obviously trod here after Damion Pelletan’s death.

Reaching down, Sebastian freed the piece of wood from the muck, careful not to disturb the telltale outline of mud and blood it bore.

He stared at the imprint thoughtfully. It was always possible that the shoe’s owner had come through the passage in the last several hours and had nothing to do with the murder. So Sebastian began, again, to study the confusion of footprints in the garbage-strewn muck.

It took some time, but he finally found a place where a similar shoe print had been clearly pierced by the imprint of a peg leg. Whoever left these footprints had been in the passage after Pelletan’s death, but before Gibson.

Sebastian shifted his gaze, again, to the slat of wood in his hands. The shoe print wasn’t much to go on—certainly not enough to identify the killer. But it forced Sebastian to reassess completely every assumption he’d made about that night’s events, for there was no mistaking the curve of that arch or the fashionable shape of the small, narrowed heel.

It was the print of a woman’s shoe.

Chapter 4

When Hero Devlin was twelve years old, she came to three life-altering conclusions: There were just as many stupid men as stupid women in the world—if not more; she would never, ever hide her own intelligence or knowledge in a craven attempt to conform to her society’s expectations and prejudices; and as long as England’s laws gave a husband virtually the same powers over his wife as those exercised by slave owners over slaves, Hero herself would never marry.

She had announced these convictions one evening at dinner. Her father, Charles, Lord Jarvis, simply continued eating as if she’d never spoken, while his mother snorted in derision. But Hero’s own mother, the gentle, slightly addlebrained Annabelle, Lady Jarvis, had whispered softly, “Oh, Hero.”

Over the next several years, Hero’s critical assessment of society had continued unabated. She read Mary Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Condorcet. She refused to allow her revulsion at the excesses of the French Revolution to diminish her admiration for its fundamental principles. And she began to write, using her research skills and reasoning abilities to work to change the numerous injustices she observed around her daily.

Now in her mid-twenties, Hero’s radical opinions remained intact. But her determination never to marry had fallen victim to a certain dark-haired, golden-eyed viscount with a mysterious past and a powerful passion of his own.

She felt the baby kick again, hard enough this time to take her breath, and she set aside the new article she was writing on London’s working poor to go stand at the drawing room window overlooking the street below. A thin white mist drifted between the tall houses, dulling the rising sun to a glowing red ball and muffling the sounds of the waking city. It was just the kind of morning for a good gallop. Unfortunately, one did not gallop in Hyde Park—especially when one was nine months heavy with child.

She fought down an uncharacteristic upwelling of impatience and frustration. She had borne most of her pregnancy with ease, continuing her normal activities here and in the country, and sallying forth frequently to conduct interviews for her series of articles. But over the past few days the baby seemed to have settled. Even sitting was becoming difficult, sleep nearly impossible. And she found herself filled with a restlessness that was becoming increasingly difficult to stifle.

She was about to turn back to her article when she heard the front door open and Devlin’s quick tread on the stairs. He drew up in the entrance to the drawing room to swing off his greatcoat and set aside the broken slat of wood he carried.

“I was hoping you’d lie in this morning,” he said, coming to catch her to him and give her a long, lingering kiss that made her breath quicken—even now, big with his child. “You aren’t sleeping much these days.”

He smelled of wood smoke and frosty air and all the invigorating scents of early morning, and before she could stop herself, she said, “What I’d really like to do is go for a walk—a real walk, in the park.”

He laughed, his hands tightening on hers. “Then let’s go.”

She shook her head. “Dr. Croft warns me that I may take a brief turn around the garden, once in the morning and again in the evening, but no more.”

Richard Croft was London’s most respected accoucheur, a pompous and self-important little man utterly convinced of the efficacy of what he called his Lowering System for the Treatment of Ladies Facing Confinement. He had tut-tutted in horror when Hero and Devlin finally returned to London after spending three months at Devlin’s estate down in Hampshire, going for long walks in the bracing rural air and enjoying the countryside’s abundant fresh foods. In Croft’s professional opinion, anything more than a severely restricted diet and ladylike, restrained exercise could be disastrous for the safe outcome of a confinement.

“Is that before or after you have the bowl of thin gruel he allows you?” asked Devlin.

“Oh, definitely before. To exercise after taking sustenance can be fatal, you know—if you call walking in the garden exercise and thin bouillon sustenance.”

He laughed again, his smile fading slowly as his gaze searched her face. “How are you feeling? Truly?”

“Truly? I’m hungry, uncomfortable, and beyond cranky. But never mind that. I want to hear about Gibson.”

Another man might have sought to spare his pregnant wife the more macabre aspects of Damion Pelletan’s murder. Devlin knew better. As she listened to him describe his search of Cat’s Hole and the passageway where the body was found, she went to pick up the broken slat.

“A woman’s shoe? Are you certain?”

“Have you ever seen a man’s shoe with that kind of heel?&...

Produktinformationen

Titel: Why Kings Confess
Untertitel: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery
Autor:
EAN: 9780451418111
ISBN: 978-0-451-41811-1
Format: Kartonierter Einband
Herausgeber: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Romane & Erzählungen
Anzahl Seiten: 368
Gewicht: 211g
Größe: H23mm x B172mm x T107mm
Jahr: 2015