Charles Lenox is a wealthy aristocrat in Victorian London, and though he genuinely enjoys the leisures of his class, he differs from his peers in one aspect: he's also an amateur detective. In A Beautiful Blue Death, a new take on the Sherlock Holmes formula, Finch brings us a detective whose talents far surpass the local police and who relishes in the chase of London murderers. When a maid in an acquaintance's household is found poisoned, Lenox takes the case-- not only to find closure for the girl's fiancée, but also to appease his closest friend, the widow Lady Jane Grey. As Lenox's primary suspect becomes a victim, he finds that he must carefully navigate the aristocratic and political circles that comprise his highly influential suspect pool and that he must solve the case quickly as he finds himself threatened and in danger.
I've had this book on my to-read list since March, and finally decided to seek it out at the library. I was craving a good mystery and can't say that I was disappointed. This is a good read for those who like to follow characters through a series, as it really laid the groundwork for the development of character relationships in future books. I took a liking to Lenox and his solitary, quiet ways, and liked that there is just a hint of a potential love story worked into the plot. As for the mystery aspect, I was unable to guess the culprit, so the surprise was definitely there at the end. Personally, I'm drawn to Victorian-era settings, but the biggest draw for me was the comparison to Sherlock Holmes. I'd recommend this to fans of old-fashioned mysteries (though it was quite subdued, nothing like an Agatha Christie). As a bonus, the second in the series looks especially good and I can't wait to follow along.
Bottom Line Rating: 4/5
- Title: A Beautiful Blue Death
- Author: Charles Finch
- Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2007
- Price: $8 on Amazon
- ISBN: 0312359772
- Format: Hardcover
- Source: Public Library