Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross

Cut to the Quick

Trendsetter Julian Kestrel didn’t know what would follow a random act of kindness. He had no idea he would become embroiled in scandal: imagine a dead woman being found in his room! He feels emotions rather uncommon to a member of high society: worry for his servant who is suspected of the crime, sorrow for the dead woman and concern at what will happen next. It will take all the hidden wit he has to unravel the maddening puzzle of what happened and why…

Ross takes an interesting path in portraying the Regency period. She provides glimpses of dress, food and behavior. What makes her portrayal of the time come alive in a unique way, though, is including vocabulary from the time. She does this in a way which makes dialog understandable but also from the time period.  For instance, the varied ways Kestrel’s servant Dipper refers to law officers shows how a certain subsection of society is creative at their tasks and wants to avoid the attention of the law. This book is also a good read for the characters. Kestrel is multilayered: he acts like a dandy but his actions show that is not all there is to him. He is loyal, clever and not comfortable with praise (unless it’s for his clothing). Dipper can join the rogue’s gallery mentioned in the entry for The Giant Thief. The Scottish doctor MacGregor is prickly, but also kind in a gruff manner. (For fans of Star Trek, his prodding of Kestrel reminds me of southern doctor McCoy’s way of acting with Captain Kirk.) The plot also keeps the reader’s attention. How could an unknown woman get unseen into the household and killed without anyone knowing? Kestrel’s path to the answer is fast paced and delves into secrets other characters would best leave secret. Cut to the Quick is a great read for its portrayal of the time (including language), engaging characters and interesting plot.

Want more books like Cut to the Quick?

The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner is another Regency mystery with a detective drawn into mystery at least partly by kindness. Here a former captain, out if kindness and a desire to escape his past, looks into a woman’s disappearance…

The Regency Underworld by Donald A. Low explores crime in the Regency time period.

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris also features a member of high society who solves a crime in Regency England. In Sebastian St. Cyr’s case it’s the only way to prove his innocence…


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