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Posted December 17, 2005
A Broken Vessel is part of the Julian Kestrel series. It's the first in the series I've read, and it won't be the last! Set in Regency or Dickens' Edwardian London, (there's a definite Dickensian feel), the plot involves the mysterious identity and circumstances surrounding the death of a young woman at a 'reformation house'. When Sally, a prostitute in London's seedy Haymarket, steals the handkerchieves of three of her 'clientele' one night, she also unintentionally steals a letter, which turns out to be an obviously heartfelt plea for help from a young woman. Shortly after, Sally runs into her brother, Dipper, a reformed pickpocket who is now valet to the high-class, gentlemanly sleuth, Julian Kestrel. The three, Sally, Dipper and Julian work together to discover the identity of the letter-writer. Unfortunately they discover her identity too late. They identify the letter-writer as a young inmate of a reformation house who was purported to have commited suicide, and who was using the anonymous name of Mary at the time of her death. Circumstances surrounding the purported suicide do not add up, and the three begin a determined effort to learn the truth about Mary's identity and her death. This was the best historical mystery I've yet read! It has a page-turning plot, vivid, sympathetic characters and is quite well-crafted. I will definitely be reading more of these Julian Kestrel mysteries. Sadly, the author passed away in 1998, so there are only four in the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.