Friday, September 26, 2014

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

A Beautiful Blue Death is the first book in a mystery series set in Victorian London. Charles Lenox is a gentleman with an interest in solving crimes. Lady Jane Grey is his good friend from childhood, now a widow.

This book reminded me of Anne Perry's mysteries and of the stereotypical perception of Sherlock Holmes. However, I never felt I got to know Lenox or Lady Jane very well. There are extremely subtle hints of a possible romance, but nothing of note happens in this book.

The book is very readable, but I found it a bit slow, and the mystery convoluted but not clever.  In particular, the last chapters after the climax felt – well, anti-climactic. The historical details seem well researched. I had a hard time believing Lenox's familiar relationship with his butler. Lenox's good friend Thomas McConnell is somewhat of a cardboard cut-out of a doctor who drinks. We are told that McConnell’s marriage to his wife Toto is pretty much over, but that's not how it comes across the rest of the book. The police inspector of course is not clever enough to solve anything without Lenox's help. The book feels like a cookie-cutter Victorian mystery. 

My favorite character was Sir Edmund, Lenox's brother and a baronet, but also an eager partner in investigating with Charles.

This series is now up to eight books, so it must be popular and fairly well received. The Beautiful Blue Death is a fine beginning. I'm not sure whether I will give the second book a shot or not but I might, for Edmund’s sake. If you are a fan of Anne Perry's series, you may want to give Charles Finch a try. His books can be found at the Galesburg Public Library in the adult fiction and large print sections under his last name.

No comments:

Post a Comment