Implausible but entertaining Regency mystery of the traditional English sort: house parties, family secrets, engagements, silly servants, bumbling local authorities, ridiculous webs of lies, lots of descriptions of clothing, many cups of tea.
It's obvious that Ross is steeped in both the mystery and Regency romance traditions. Her lovers misunderstand one another, her local gentry are haughty, and her detective is smarter than anyone else around. Julian Kestrel is almost too much of a good thing -- as well-dressed as Beau Brummel, as smart as Peter Whimsey, unfailingly gentlemanly, kind, and loyal.
Ross is kind, too -- she displays a charity, a humaneness, towards even the least sympathetic of her characters that is rather touching. Even though they didn't really convince me as Regency era people (I think Ross is more heavily influenced by the golden age mysteries of the 1930s) I bought them as individuals with complex and sometimes contradictory behavior.
Sometimes the clues were a little too obvious. The coincidences were too contrived (why was the protagonist even AT this family gathering of complete strangers?). Overall, I didn't believe a word of it. But I'll still be picking up the next book.