A Beautiful Blue Death
By Charles Finch
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312359775, 320pp.)
Publication Date: June 26, 2007
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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?
Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford, and has worked in politics. This is his first novel.
“Vividly capturing the essence of Victorian England, Finch presents us with a unique sleuth who combines the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes with the people skills of Thomas Pitt. A sparkling achievement.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A fine specimen of the genre…. Particularly good is [Finch’s] delineation of Lenox’s cozy-but-proper relationship with Lady Jane.” —The Washington Post
"Finch's impressive debut introduces an appealing gentleman sleuth ... Finch laces his writing with some Wodehousian touches and devises a solution intricate enough to fool most readers." — Publishers Weekly
“The best sort of historical mystery—clever, charming, full of period detail, and a delight to read.” —David Liss, author of The Whiskey Rebels