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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Cut to the Quick - Kate Ross A few months after Julian Kestral, a fashionable lounger, helps Hugh Fontclair out of a scrape, he's invited to be best man at Hugh's wedding. Kestral is surprised--he's only met Hugh that once--but intrigued. He travels to the Fontclair estate, hoping for a restful vacation in the country, only to find that the family members are all at each others' throats. Then someone is found murdered. First because he's curious, then because he's worried for his manservant, Kestral insists on investigating.

The mystery itself is meaty and delightfully difficult. I guessed a few hints of it, but the resolution was a total surprise to me. But although her plot is excellent, where Ross really shines is her characters. The supporting cast is unique and interesting, each a well-rounded character in their own right. (The women are particularly good. Every single one of them was someone I'd have read an entire book about.) But Julian Kestral is the one that truly shines; he's like a Regency-era Peter Wimsey, but without the education or blue-blood. He's too smart and perceptive for his own good, and far too tender-hearted to do well in the maneuvering Regency society.

I love him beyond all reason, and hanker for more.