What I've Read This Week . . .
A Broken Vessel (Julian Krestrel #2) by Kate Ross -- Historical Mystery
One evening in Haymarket, Sally plying her trade, picks up three men whom she nicknames Bristles, Blue Eyes and Blinkers. Bristles is timid and hasn't been with a woman in a long time, Blue Eyes is rich, as good looking as sin and is considerate of his health. Sally takes a liking to them both. Blinkers (so named on account of his spectacles) is a tough customer who roughs Sally up and leaves her for dead but not before she got in a good whack of her own and pockets his handerchief as she did with the others. Sally picks herself up and heads back to work where the next customer she solicits turns out to be her own brother. Sally's brother is none other than Dipper, valet and friend to Julian Kestrel, the notable dandy. Dipper takes Sally home to get her patched up and when Julian arrives, he is kind and caring. Sally tries her hardest to win him over but he resists - for now anyway! Julian believes Sally should return the handkerchiefs until a mysterious note hidden inside one of them falls out. The note is from a girl who is in trouble and not all of it her own making. Julian feels they have to investigate and find the woman and help her. They must be discreet so Sally doesn't get into trouble and because Julian is acquainted with "Blue Eyes", the son of a notable peer, Julian takes an especial interest in the case. Their search leads them to a Reformatory for prostitutes, a murder and a monumental scandal that shakes Society. The mystery also reveals the true natures of each of Sally's conquests. Sally falls completely in love with Julian but can she convince him of his feelings for her? Will she survive the investigation and live long enough to make one more conquest? I liked this book much more than the first one in the series. Though it's more gritty and realistic than the stories I prefer, the historical details seemed well-researched. The mystery grabbed me from the beginning and I could not put the book down until it was solved. There were so many twists and turns that it was impossible to guess what really happened. I was completely wrong about the murderer which I'm grateful for because then the plot would have been cliched. I liked the relationship between Sally and Julian. It helped the reader learn a bit more about Julian though he's still very one-dimensional. I'd like to know more about him, who he is and why he poses as a dandy but possesses a keen mind. What does he think and feel? I was saddened to learn of the untimely death of the author. Perhaps I will never learn more about Julian Kestrel but maybe the last two books in the series reveal more depth.