I received this book from Siege as part of the Pajiba gift exchange, and it really was the perfect read for me - I'm quite a fan of mysteries, especially ones set in the past, including the Mistress of the Art of Death series, and Stefanie Pintoff's works. This novel is actually came before many of the ones I've read recently, and is the first of a four part series starring Julian Kestrel. I will definitely be picking up the next three at some point in the near future.
While to the general public, Kestrel seems like just another dandy (a term and type of person that really started becoming a thing in the late 18th century), the reader quickly learns that there is more to him, and he is not just another self important, shallow narcisist. Since no good deed goes unpunished, Kestrel soon finds himself wrapped up in the Fontclair family drama after he helps the heir, Hugh, out of a minor scrap. Invited to a weekend in the country with the family, Kestrel finds himself in the middle of a very tense situation. Hugh has recently become engaged to the daughter of a former employer, and no one in the family is happy about the situation, especially since the proposal is the result of black mail. Hugh's fiance wants to know what power her father holds over the Fontclair family, and finds an accomplice in Kestrel.
As if things weren't bad enough in the house, Kestrel returns from a ride in the country only to discover a body in his bed. The head of the family is also in charge of the investigation, and Kestrel's servant Dipper finds himself under suspicion. Kestrel becomes an essential part of the investigation as he tries to clear his servant while also making sure no one is cleared without reason.
Ross did a really good job with keeping the story going, and answering questions throughout without giving too much away at once. The different strands came together nicely, and even the red herrings provided good information. Kestrel also develops relationships with some of the other members of the community, and while the novel shows that there is much more to Kestrel than meets the eye, she could definitely still develop his past in future novels (or keep it simple - either way would work). I'm glad to have discovered this series thanks to Siege!