Published by Macmillan in 2007
Charles Lenox Series #1 of 6 books
Read an excerpt
On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.
One of Jane’s former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead – an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl’s death.
When another body turns up during the London season’s most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again – disturbingly close to home?
I ‘read’ this on audiobook I got from the library and I adored it! James Langton was the narrator and his voice and accents added so much to the atmosphere of the era. Full of wonderful descriptions of the Victorian era and lifestyle. The lead character Charles Lenox is a great , well rounded character. There is the hint of a budding relationship with his long time great friend widow Jane Grey and of course his butler Graham is his friend and crime solving partner. His brother is the one who inherited the seat in Parliament and we get glimpses into the political scene of the time thru him.
Scotland Yard Inspector Exeter is portrayed as such a bumbling oaf. I was amazed at how stupid he could be. Of course this is set at the time forensics and finger printing etc. was just beginning to come into play. Lenox was intermittently helped and hampered by Exeter, who always wanted to be in control. Of course Lenox is the one who solves the crimes and always gives Exeter the credit. Scottish Dr. Thomas McConnell is a great friend of Lenox and married to heiress Victoria Phillips (Toto) and no longer ‘practicing’ medicine. His help is invaluable to Lenox. I also enjoyed the relationships between this couple and Lenox and Jane Grey.
This book was a little unique in that we find the culprit with still several chapters to go. In the last few chapters we are lead thru the hows and whys of the crime and then what happened to the criminal after. I enjoyed that too. Mr. Finch really wrapped the story up nice and thorough for us. I am really looking forward to reading the rest in the series and pleased to see my library has all the books. Lenox loves to sit by his fire with tea and toast and read more than anything else and somehow Finch delivers that image so well that as you read you feel like your sitting by the fire with your feet up. I’m sure that will be the case with each book in the series.
In January of next year Finch’s first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments, is due to be released.