Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Broken Vessel by Kate Ross


"In London's notorious Haymarket district, Sally Stokes, a bold and bewitching Cockney prostitute, picks up three men one after the other and nicknames them Bristles, Blue Eyes, and Blinkers. From each of them Sally steals a handkerchief--and from one she mistakenly steals a letter than contains an urgent plea for help from a distraught young woman.

Luckily, Sally's brother is none other than Dipper, reformed pickpocket and valet to gifted amateur sleuth Julian Kestrel. After the writer of the letter is found dead, the authorities dismiss her death as suicide. But to Kestrel it looks like murder, and he forms an unlikely -- but highly entertaining -- alliance with Sally to track down the three clients. The two embark on a quest that leads them from a house of reclamation for fallen women to the abodes of England's highest ranking families as they race to unmask a dangerous killer."


(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

In a word, this book was fantastic! If you can read the first chapter and then put this book down, you have more willpower than I do! I read the first Julien Kestrel mystery in the series, Cut to the Quick, and while it was a well-crafted plot, I wasn't enthralled. Thankfully, I've read glowing reviews about the remainder of the series, so I continued with A Broken Vessel, and I'm so glad I did. It's destined to be a favorite of mine....it was that good!

An unlikely trio of characters (Julien, the London dandy amateur sleuth, his reformed pickpocket valet, Dipper, and Dipper's spunky, Cockney prostitute sister, Sally), become entangled in a web of secret scandals, plots of murder and suicide, and the sinister dark side of three of Sally's "encounters." From the seedy, gritty underworld of Regency London to the drawing rooms of the gentry, there are plots and counterplots, secret identities, skeletons in the closet, and a dangerous killer (or killers) who will stop at nothing to keep long-buried secrets hidden.

A raw, edgy mystery with authentic Regency cant and a truly fascinating, puzzling plot...kept my heart racing! Highly, highly recommended!

5/5 stars
Title: A Broken Vessel
Author: Kate Ross
1994
289 pages
Penguin Books
genre: Regency mystery

4 comments:

Christy said...

Great review! I'm glad you liked it. The series just gets better with each book.

Joanne said...

Yes, Christy, I'm reading this series because of your glowing recommendation! It's superb and I can't wait to read the next one. I'm so sorry we will only have these four novels due to the author's tragic early death.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

oooh - this sounds good! I'll have to read the first, so it's a series?

Thanks for the great review!

Joanne said...

Julie - Personally, I don't think you need to read the first one to enjoy this one. There are a few references in the book about their first case, but it is in not connected to the present story. I'd start with Broken Vessel. Enjoy!

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