Regency gentleman and acknowledged dandy Julian Kestrel doesn’t expect anything to come of his chance meeting with Hugh Fontclair in a gaming house. But soon after their encounter, the young and recently engaged Hugh asks Julian to be a groomsman and to stay with the rest of the wedding party at his family’s estate. Intrigued, Julian accepts the invitation, but he soon realizes that all is not right with the Fontclairs. Hugh doesn’t seem very fond of his new fiancée, Maud Craddock, and her father appears to have a hold over the entire Fontclair family. As Julian begins to decipher these mysteries, a much more serious one presents itself: a young and beautiful woman is found murdered – in Julian’s own bedroom, no less! He decides to assist the Fontclair family in discovering the girl’s killer, but all too soon the evidence seems to point to one of their own.
This book was absolutely fantastic! I’m always on the lookout for good historical mysteries, and this is honestly one of the best I’ve read. Julian Kestrel is everything you could wish for in a sleuth: intelligent and diligent, but also clever and charming. While he investigates into the characters of all the people around him, he manages to remain largely mysterious – but there are some tantalizing hints about his own past, and I’m definitely eager to find out more! The plot was intriguing and kept me guessing; ultimately, there are many more secrets to reveal than just the identity of the killer. I suppose some of the situations and characters weren’t entirely original – there’s the honor-obsessed patriarch, the weak and selfish young man, and the roguish valet with a criminal past. However, the book is so well written that I didn’t mind at all! I also enjoyed the period detail, which was well done. If you like mysteries, historical fiction, or the Regency period, I enthusiastically recommend this book!