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Julian Kestrel, the hero of Kate Ross’s series of historical mysteries, is the walking definition of a Regency dandy. He cares about little beyond the perfection of his tailoring, he lives for the bon mot, and his life has the gravity— and the fleeting charm — of a soap-bubble. At least, that’s what he’d like you to think. In fact, it rather suits Kestrel to be perpetually underestimated, particularly when — as in this instance — his weekend at a glamorous country estate is spoiled by a dead girl’s body being found in his bed. If certain elements about Julian Kestrel’s life ring a bell — the ultra-lightweight persona, for example, or the valet who’s been plucked from the criminal classes — that’s no accident: We’re convinced that he’s the true godfather of Peter Wimsey, Albert Campion, and the other “Gentlemen Sleuths” who began cropping up 100 years or so after Kestrel first tied his cravat. Perfect for fans of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels.

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