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C.S. Harris C.S. Harris C.S. Harris

Why Mermaids Sing

Why Mermaids Sing

Readers Guide

  1. The title Why Mermaids Sing is a play on a line from a poem by John Donne. What resonance does this poem have with the murderer's motive for the killings?

  2. Each of the victims in this book is found with a strange object stuffed in his mouth-the severed hoof of a goat, a page from a ship's log, a papier—mâché star, a mandrake root. Why?

  3. Why does Sir Henry Lovejoy, the chief magistrate of Queen Square investigating these murders, ask for Sebastian's help?

  4. Sebastian is reluctant to become involved in this investigation. "He didn't want this again...didn't want to find himself sucked into the midst of the kind of tortured emotions that destroyed people's lives. Murder always seemed to lead to more killing and Sebastian was tired of killing. Tired of Death." (p. 9) Why does Sebastian agree to help Lovejoy?

  5. Sebastian continues to have valet problems in this book. Why has the author chosen to add this subplot? What do these problems tell us about Sebastian?

  6. The love of Sebastian's life is an Irish actress named Kat Boleyn. Why won't Kat agree to marry Sebastian? How do the events of the book impact her decision?

  7. Kat faces a danger of her own in this book. Why won't she tell Sebastian someone is threatening her? What secret is she hiding from Sebastian?

  8. Once again, the King's cousin Charles, Lord Jarvis, appears as a menacing figure. What is Jarvis's attitude toward Sebastian? Sebastian's attitude toward Jarvis? What is the situation between the two by the end of the book?

  9. Sebastian's relationship with his father is strained. Why? How is that relationship altered by the events in this book?

  10. Sebastian's father, the Earl of Hendon, has a secret of his own. What hints does the author give readers about the nature of this secret?

  11. In this book, Sebastian is seen searching for his mother. What do you think his attitude toward her is? How does this differ from his attitude toward his father?

  12. Many of the people in this book are hiding dangerous secrets. How do their secrets—and their reasons for keeping them—differ?

  13. In addition to the main plot—the search for the killer—this book has an important subplot involving Kat and Jarvis. How are these two threads linked, and what do they both tell us about the repercussions of secrets and lies?

  14. The main character of this series, Sebastian St. Cyr, grows and changes with each book. What effect do the events of Why Mermaids Sing have on the young viscount?

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