WHY MERMAIDS SING
Harris' deft layering of plot over historical references and character insights creates a page-turning, richly textured novel that offers a horrifying glimpse into the social mores of Regency England.
Somebody is murdering young men, butchering each horribly, before dumping their bodies in a public place, to be found by the local constabulary. Aristocratic ex-spy Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin -- with help from his young servant Tom, Irish doctor Paul Gibson and Sebstian's lover, actress Kat Bolyn -- agrees to look into the nasty business. The hunt takes them from London's docks to the drawing rooms of the upper crust in 1811 London, and Viscount Devlin is hard-pressed to discover the connection between the victims -- sons of men ranging from a wealthy banker to a country vicar -- until he discovers information that all the men were apparently guarding a dangerous secret. (OBSIDIAN, Nov., 352 pp., $23.95)