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Kate Ross Books In Order

Publication Order of Julian Kestrel Books

Cut to the Quick (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Broken Vessel (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Whom the Gods Love (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil in Music (1997) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Kate Ross was a well known American writer of mystery, thriller, and historical fiction novels. She is best known for creating the popular fictional character Julian Kestrel. Ross’s books are generally set in the Regency era and revolve around historical mysteries. The four books of her Julian Kestrel Mysteries were released in the 1990s and are widely popular even today. Ross won the Gargoyle award for her first book in 1994. Her last book featuring Julian Kestrel, The Devil in Music (1997), won the Agatha Award in the Best Novel category. In addition to the four full-length novels, Ross wrote a short story called The Lullaby Cheat that also featured Kestrel in the lead role. This short story later became a part of the mystery anthology called Crime Through Time after being edited by Sharan Newman and Miriam Grace Mondfredo. In 1998, Ross published another short story, The Unkindest Cut.

Author Ross was born as Katherine Jean Ross on June 21, 1956. She studied at Wellesley College and later at Yale Law College. Following her graduation, Ross began practicing law as a trial lawyer. After several years, she thought of trying her hand at novel writing and went ahead with the idea with her instincts in spite of having an illustrious law career. As Ross’s interest in being a novelist grew more, she decided to pursue it as a full-time career and thus gave up the law career completely. She died at the young age of 41 due to breast cancer. Ross breathed her last on March 12, 1998, and was buried in her hometown in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The character of Julian Kestrel created by Ross appeared in 4 books. He is shown living in Great Britain in the Regency era. Ross has described Julian Kestrel as a trendsetting dandy. People often compare him with Beau Brummel.

Julian likes to take up detective activities in order to stay out of boredom that he feels is present widely in society. As the series progresses, it is learned that Julian’s mother was a popular actress, who died at the time of his birth. It is also revealed later that Julian’s father was a squire from Yorkshire, whose wealthy family disowned him following his marriage to Julian’s mother. A French nobleman mentored him to learn how society functions and how to dress appropriately. Julian Kestrel receives help in detection from his valet named Thomas Stokes. He is commonly referred to as Dipper, a name he got when he used to do pickpocketing during his younger days. Julian met Dipper when he caught him trying to steal his watch. Dipper promised to not indulge in pickpocketing again and got hired by Julian as his assistant and valet.

Other essential characters mentioned in the novels by Ross include Sally Stokes, Dr. Duncan MacGregor, Philippa Fontclair, and several others. Duncan MacGregor is depicted as a Scottish physician, who helps Julian in his solving his cases; Sally Stokes is shown as the sister of Dipper, who works as a prostitute and assists Dipper and Julian is solving the murder mystery od a woman. Julian and Sally become lovers later. Philippa Fontclair is another charming girl mentioned in this series, who makes frequent appearances every now and then. The Julian Kestrel novels are highly influenced by the fictional British detectives, Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey. Author Ross intended to write more books featuring Julian Kestrel, but she was tragically taken away because of cancer. The fans of this series had speculated the marriage of Julian and Philippa in the later books as there were many indications that Philippa was too impressed by Julian and had feelings for him in her heart.

The Julian Kestrel Mysteries series written by author Kate Ross is comprised of 4 books released between 1993 and 1997. Ross has set this series in London, England during the 1820s and has featured the chief protagonist in the form of Julian Kestrel. A widely famous book of this series is entitled ‘A Broke Vessel’. It was released by the Penguin Books in 1995. The book opens by introducing Sally Stokes as a bewitching and bold prostitute living in the notorious Haymarket region in London. One night, she picks up 3 men, one after another and names them Blue Eyes, Blinkers, and Bristles. Sally steals the men’s handkerchief after sleeping with them and mistakenly gets hold of a letter from one of those men. The letter contains a distraught woman’s cry for help.

Sally takes the letter to her brother Dipper, who is a former pickpocket and now works as a hand for the gifted amateur detective Julian Kestrel. Later, the letter’s writer is discovered dead and the local police declare that the woman committed suicide. Kestrel thinks that the woman was killed and sets out to find the murderer. He joins Sally and Dipper in tracking down the 3 clients in search of some clue that will get them closer to the culprit. In doing so, Sally and Julian come close. Their attempt to unmasking a dangerous murderer takes them from the poor communities of London to its highest-ranking families. In the end, they succeed in proving that the woman was murdered and the man they caught is the one who committed the brutal act.

Another wonderful novel of this mystery series is called ‘Whom the Gods Love’. It was also published by Penguin publication in 1996. This novel features the central characters in the roles of Alexander Falkland, Julian Kestrel, and Thomas ‘Dipper’ Stokes. Initially, it is mentioned that Alexander Falkland has no enemy. He is charming, young, and talented and succeeds with flying colors in whatever field he chooses, be it architecture, investment market, or the law. But, bad luck enters his life one night and everything changes forever. At one of the parties organized by him, Alexander is discovered dead in his study with a brutal blow to his head. The local authorities to solve the crime initially and fail miserably. Then, Alexander’s father approaches Julian Kestrel and asks for his help in finding his innocent son’s killer. With his typical style of investigation, Julian comes up with a long list of suspects, each with a strong motive to murder Alexander. It makes it clear that Alexander Falkland had too many enemies that wanted him dead, only he was ignorant about it and paid a huge price. The investigation also reveals a lot of things about Alexander that others did not know and helps Julian in finding the killer.

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