Whom the Gods Love by Kate Ross is one of the Julian Kestrel mysteries. The action takes place in Regency-era England. There will be no more in this series, as the author died of breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 41.
Historical fiction was a favorite of mine in junior high and high school (favorite authors were Thomas B. Costain and James Michener), but I haven't read much in that genre since. I picked up 2 of Kate Ross' Kestrel books in a used book store because she had won the Agatha Award for 1 of them. I enjoyed the setting, characters and writing, and I'll be on the look-out for the other 2 in this series.
from the back of the book:
Alexander Falkland hasn't an enemy in the world. Young, talented, and charming, he shines in every field he enters: law, architecture, the investment market. But one night his luck runs out with a vengeance. In the midst of one of his famous parties, he is found in his study with his head smashed, a blood-stained poker beside him. No wonder the inscription on his gravestone reads: Whom the Gods Love Die Young.favorite quotes:
When the Bow Street Runners fail to solve the crime, Alexander's distraught father turns to Julian Kestrel, elegant dandy and intrepid amateur sleuth. Soon Kestrel is up to his ears in suspects -and enigmas. Who was Alexander really? Social reformer or butterfly, devoted husband or rake? Kestrel must peel off one mask after another, until at last he discovers an Alexander no one knew -except, perhaps, the killer.
"I'm inclined to think," said Julian slowly, "that people are responsible for themselves. I know a father's influence is far-reaching. I'm very much the product of my own father's upbringing. But I think, as Shelley said, a man must rule the empire of himself. ..."Kirkus Reviews calls it "An 1825 remake of Death on the Nile, with enough time for red herrings and subplots aplenty".
I have also read the 4th one: The Devil in Music.