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A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #2)
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A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries #2)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,431 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Ross' debut mystery Cut to the Quick was a world-class success. Now her "delightful detective" (Minneapolis Star Tribune), 1820s dandy Julian Kestrel, returns to solve a case of murder, kidnapping, and rape that leads to the home of one of England's highest ranking families.
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published May 18th 1994 by Viking Books (first published 1994)
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Meh. The mystery was OK, but I really didn't buy the relationship between our hero, Julian, and Sally, the prostitute sister of Julian's valet. It seemed kind of icky all around, given the power and class differential. And the part where the valet figured out they had slept together, and was HAPPY about it because it made him and his boss kind of like blood-brothers in some way? Eww. I'm also not a big fan of the Dr. MacGregor character. He's too much a caricature, and he doth protest too much ( ...more

Implausible but entertaining linked mysteries, heavy on unlikely coincidences and mistaken identities.

Also, dick jokes.
Mar 29, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dorothy Sayers
Shelves: historical, victorian
Julian Kestral is such a dandy that his style is copied everywhere, but his true gift is in sleuthing. When his valet's sister stumbles upon a chilling letter, he takes the case. The mystery is twisty and dark, and solved through a combination of legwork, wit and courage. I love the dialog in these books, which is snappy but always feels natural. The relationships between characters are my favorite part. Dipper and his master, Kestral, live together in a wonderfully symbiotic way, and his sister ...more
In some ways a lot stronger than her first Kestral novel (Cut to the Quick), in other ways weaker. Julian and co. have to deal with yet another anonymous dead woman, only this time they're aided by Dipper's sister Sally, who, while feisty and clever, ultimately embarks on a very unbelieveable romantic relationship with Julian. There's more action and actual sleuthing rather than parlor-room theoretical discussions, which makes this plot work a lot better than the somewhat exposition-heavy Cut to ...more
Our Dandy detective Julian Kestrel discovers his manservant sneaking a prostitute into the house - only the prostitute is Dipper’s sister, who’s just been beaten up by a client and who has just stumbled across a Mystery. (Busy night.) Julian becomes unaccountably interested in both the girl and the Mystery, and detecting hijinks ensue.

This is a pleasant enough read, but it lacks the charm of the first book. Julian has less personality here and we are not given any further insight into his charac
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Somewhat disappointing second book in the series. I'd hoped for more development of the two main characters in this one - individually and their relationship - but instead there's a mostly uninteresting side character who does much of the detecting. I still liked it, but I don't think it's even as good as the first, let alone better.
A disappointing sequel to Cut to the Quick. Much of the plot and narrative are spent away from the delightful Kestrel; as a secondary character, he feels more like a caricature than anything else, and (view spoiler).

The subject matter here is also darker than the previous Kestrel mystery. Ross centers A Broken V
This book lacked the charm of CUT TO THE QUICK, and much of that had to do with these problems: 1) overly & needlessly complicated plot that suffered from a lack of elucidation; 2) certain characters were insufficiently fleshed out; and 3) the most problematic, the multiple point of view approach (necessary to this novel) that left Julian Kestrel as a secondary character in a novel in which he was supposed to be the protagonist. The game gal, Sally, Dipper's sister, is the real sleuth and th ...more
This is the second book in the Julian Kestrel mystery series. I found it to be just as enjoyable as the first one. This one actually kept me guessing longer than the first one did. I thought I had it figured out and then I thought I didn't, only to find out I was right to begin with. It was very well done. I was able to get to know and like Julian and Dipper even more in this book. I would like to know more of the mystery surrounding Julian's past and as this series was left unfinished due to th ...more

This one was a supreme disappointment. I found Julian's relationship with Dipper's sister totally unbelievable. This very particular gentleman that needs his bed sheets changed daily is going to slide between them with a street walking prostitute? I didn't buy it. The mystery wasn't even ultimately resolved through superior detecting, but from a complete babbling confession by the perpetrator while being held at gunpoint. Unfortunately, I have already ordered the other two i
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I like when there is a bit of romance in my mystery novels. Unfortunately for me, I don’t care for romance between a venerated leader of the ton (who is elegant, handsome and charming) and an unabashed Cockney-speaking two-bit Haymarket prostitute (who is missing teeth). I don’t find these mental images to be agreeable.

Other than that, it was a well written story and I enjoyed the mystery part of it.
Not as entertaining as the first book. Mostly because the POV was split between Julian and Sally, and I couldn't stand Sally. Her relationship with Julian felt all kinds of forced. I kept hoping (rather uncharitably) that she'd be bumped off. And Julian spent a good part of his chapters talking with Dr. MacGregor, who's incredibly whiny and annoying. His gruff doctor shtick was tolerable while Julian was in the country, but it made no sense for him to show up in London just so Julian can bounce ...more
Mary Beth
In A Broken Vessel, Ross divides the amateur detective work between Kestrel and a new character, Cockney prostitute Sally Stokes, to mixed effect. The buoyant but vulnerable Stokes is compelling, but she’s mired in a frequently depressing, degrading mystery, and her presence tends to flatten Julian into a stalwart white knight, which isn’t his most interesting look.
I dearly needed a novel and this filled the bill. But lordy, what an anachronistic bundle of romance among the Dickensian grime. The dialogue is handled well. But the characters in this strictly proscribed historical social setting seem to have very little awareness of class or morality.
very hard to buy into. a prostitute and the man-of-the-moment in English 19th century society? I don't think so. the best part of the book was the street language, which was fun to decipher -- and pretty accurate.

Call me a prude but I really didn't care for him sleeping with a prostitute. However I will be reading the next book in the series
Though still a good book, my least favorite? Why? Umm, probably because I didn't like Sally. Why? Umm, probably because I was jealous.
Idril Celebrindal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
(3.5 stars) The second book in the Julian Kestrel series involves the sister of Julian's valet, Dipper. Sally has been estranged from her brother, and has been working as a prostitute. She meets her brother again after being with 3 clients one evening, one of whom beats her. Dipper takes her back to Julian's home to help her recover. Sally likes to take "souvenirs" from her clients to sell and earn extra money, particularly handkerchiefs. She finds a note among her takings, from a woman who is i ...more
Christy B
Another gem; I loved it almost as much as Cut to the Quick.

One night, a prostitute name Sally Stokes picks up three separate men. She swipes a handkerchief from each of their pockets in the hope of selling them later. After a bad run-in with John #3, whom she refers to as 'Blinkers', she runs into her brother, who just happens to be manservant to one Mr. Julian Kestrel.

Kestrel discovers a letter hidden in one of the handkerchiefs. Problem is, he's not sure which handkerchief it came from and, of
Ross, Kate – A Broken Vessel – G+
Julian Kestrel, the Regency dandy, teams with Sally Stokes, a cockney prostitute who helps him solve a clever and devilish murder. One night, as is her custom, Sally steals a handkerchief from each of her three clients. In one, she finds a letter from a woman being held against her will and begging for help. A concerned and frightened Sally runs into her brother, a reformed pickpocket and Kestrel's valet. Soon she and Kestrel are matching wits to find the owner o
As much as I love these books, there is something inherently sad about reading them. I know that with each passing book--as I am falling more and more in love with this series--I am getting closer and closer to the end.

I am now halfway finished and am trying to decide: should I rush forward and buy the next book, or should I wait awhile and try to draw out concluding this series as long as possible?

This book itself is every bit as charming as its predecessor. I thought Sally was a delightful cha
A fantastic follow-up to Cut to the Quick, with a very different mystery and setting, but even more of the inimitable Julian Kestrel. Julian's getting more into the swing of things, as a detective, and now he's on his own turf in Regency London. He is thrown out of his element a bit by the introduction of Dipper's sister, Sally, who brings a crime his way and provides him with an often hilarious counterpart. I'm curious to see how Sally figures into the later books, but I'm trying not to gobble ...more
I actually enjoyed this second book in the series more than the first. I quite enjoyed the character of Sally and appreciated her voice. The mystery itself was a bit convoluted, but I am willing to forgive, since it kept me engaged in spite of that. Looking forward to next.
Set in Regency England, Julian Kestrel is a dandy slightly modeled after Beau Brummel. He's not rich and not a member of the aristocracy, just well known for being extremely well-dressed and witty. He's also a bit bored and has a habit of trying to solve mysteries. In A Broken Vessel, he hooks up with his valet (and former picket pocket) Dipper's sister, a prostitute names Sally. Together the three characters work to solve the mysterious letter Sally stole from one of three men she serviced the ...more
Text Addict
In this volume, Ross visits the seamy underside of London society - the world of prostitutes, thugs, and reformers. In the 1830s, it's never far away from the 'high society' that lives just down the road.

Much of the point-of-view is not Kestrel's but of Sally Stokes, his valet's sister. The three of them work to unravel the mystery of a letter that Sally, er, found. As usual, the truth is complicated, and arrived at partly by accident, with side issues and more than one tragedy unfolding.

Robert J.
A seriously flawed effort with coincidental character relationships everywhere and central to the plot development, unbelievable social interactions even for bizarre Victorian gentlemen, and not very compelling emotional and social characterization. I couldn't finish it.
I enjoyed this for the characters and for the cant. Julian Kestrel is a dandy with a reformed pickpocket (Digger) as his valet. Digger's sister turns up. A prostitute who also practices a little light finger work, Sally starts the mystery off with a letter from a damsel in distress that she has acquired along with the handkerchiefs of 3 of her evening customers. Solving the mystery keeps Kestrel entertained for the length of the novel. There is a lot of 'telling' in this book. The story is advan ...more
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Kate Ross, born Katherine Jean Ross, was an American mystery author who wrote four books set in Regency-era England about dandy Julian Kestrel. The novels in the series are Cut to the Quick (1994), which won the 1994 Gargoyle award for Best Historical Mystery, A Broken Vessel (1995), Whom the Gods Love (1996), and The Devil in Music (1997), which won the 1997 Agatha Award for Best Novel. The Lulla ...more
More about Kate Ross...

Other Books in the Series

Julian Kestrel Mysteries (4 books)
  • Cut to the Quick (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #1)
  • Whom the Gods Love (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #3)
  • The Devil in Music (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #4)
Cut to the Quick (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #1) Whom the Gods Love (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #3) The Devil in Music (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #4) Crime Through Time (Crime Through Time, #1) Past Poisons: An Ellis Peters Memorial Anthology of Historical Crime

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