Oo – I’d better blow the dust off the old html “skills”!
A couple of years back, I was wandering through one of the only remaining (as far as I’m aware) independent book stores in the area, a used book store. ‘Twas the mystery section, to be precise, and I noticed a little block of green-spined books. (The same color as many of the Jane Langtons, which may be why they caught my eye.) They were four books by the same author: Kate Ross. (There should be a picture of her here – >; … I used to know how to do these things. Blogging is a whole ‘nother animal.) (ETA: Aha! And also – duh!)
I took a flyer and bought all four. This kind of gamble doesn’t always pay off – usually quite the opposite – but then again I’ve bought just one book of a series when I could have picked up a few, and regretted it when I loved that first book … Anyway.
The books turned out to be Regency-era mysteries featuring as their budding amateur detective a young dandy named Julian Kestrel. With whom I fairly promptly fell in love. I devoured Cut to the Quick, the first book from 1994, moved on to A Broken Vessel (1995), then Whom the Gods Love (1996), and finally The Devil in Music – – and that was it. That is all there is, because Kate Ross died ridiculously young … “After a long battle with cancer, Kate passed away on March 12, 1998.” (See: I Will Follow.) She stands with Eva Cassidy in my mind, that magnificently bluesy lady who died of much the same cause, I believe, and around much the same age.
I started a reread of the four books last month, and I just began the last of them, The Devil in Music, with regretful pleasure. The writing in all of these is gorgeous. The characters are rounded and real; the only quibbles I would have there is that the cant of characters like Sally feels a little self-conscious, and that the bad guys are so very very bad. As to the latter, though, the context takes care of any real qualms: in this version of Regency London (and the environs thereof), you might just have the misfortune to run into people like these… It’s heartbreaking to see how Kate Ross and Julian Kestrel are both really hitting their stride in Devil.
I have no idea what I’m going to read when I finish this. The classic reader’s dilemma – how do you follow up the perfect book? Hm… Maybe Guy Gavriel Kay…
There’s the reason Kate Ross is in the title; what am I doing here, other than paraphrasing James Stockdale? Lord knows. One reason is that I’m trying to finish my book, and the webpage I used to host it on for those mad enough to want to read it (hi, Ginger!) started giving me fits on this browser. And … Once upon a time I had a niche in the web (on the web?) where I could go and talk about books and music and tv and movies. That was taken away from me (the main reason I Hate Valentine’s Day), and, having tried and failed to get it back in some form or other, I eventually decided to follow a similar(ish) path to those who went off and started their own damn message boards. Except I don’t want my own damn message board – and even if I did I wouldn’t have time to run the thing. So: blog? Why not. Even if I end up talking to myself, it’ll be html practice. :) I’m sure I was talking to myself rather a lot on TOR – I mean, in the old days, too. I’ve missed reviewing books and movies; I’ve missed having a place to go play on the ‘net. So we’ll see what happens.