Returning from a continental honeymoon with his new wife, Lady Jane, Lenox is asked by a colleague in Parliament to consult in the murder of a footman, bludgeoned to death with a brick. His investigation uncovers some unsettling facts about the family he served and a strange, second identity that the footman himself cultivated.
Going into the boxing clubs and public houses, the Mayfair mansions and servants' quarters of Victorian London, Lenox gradually realizes that an old friend may be implicated in the footman's death. Soon a suspect is arrested, but Lenox has his doubts. Desperately trying to balance the opening of Parliament and what he feels sure is a dark secret surrounding the murder, he soon discovers that the killer is someone seemingly beyond suspicion, and may be prepared to spill blood again-even a detective's.
Investigate more mysterious doings with Charles Lennox.
©2010 Charles Finch (P)2011 Tantor
"With a keen eye for period detail, Finch believably portrays his Victorian sleuth skillfully managing life's demands. . . . Readers of Anne Perry should be snatching up Finch's books and clamoring for more." (Library Journal)
Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!
This is a good book, in a series about a victorian gentleman, Charles Lenox, who is undertaking the shocking new profession (for the times) of being a detective. Although he has just been voted into Parliament (in this episode), his friends and peers still look upon him with suspicion. Because despite the fact that he has a record for solving cases that even stump Scotland Yard (or more often, helping SY solve the cases and he doesn't even take the credit for himself), this is still not considered an appropriate way for a gentleman to spend his time.
In this one, he is juggling his new place in Parliament, trying to learn how to make a positive difference there--while continuing to investigate a murder that is far more interesting to him. A footman in an aristocratic household has been murdered--and he is initially asked to help solve the murder, then subsequently (and mysteriously) asked to stop doing so. This of course leads him to wonder who, in the household, doesn't want the truth to come out.
It is a good series--I have read previous books in the series, and this is the first I have listened to. The narrator is okay, but sounds just a bit fancy or pretentious somehow (which I suppose might be what is indicated to support the story). But I find myself wishing his voice were just a bit more solid and straightforward. I must say, though, that the books themselves tend to be of that ilk, as well--the dialogue seems too formal, too polite (even though it is Victorian era) to be believable at times (and that would be my main criticism of the whole series).
Were I an author writing historical fiction, I think it would be a very hard job to write dialogue faithful to the times depicted without leaving a modern reader viewing it as a little silly. So I make this criticism lightly. I would compare this series to the books of Anne Perry--who, I believe has done a slightly more credible job of dialogue from this perspective. But both authors have written good books, good mysteries & always some interesting historical information--very readable if this is your area of interest.
Charles Finch's books are good for a light read. In A Stranger in Mayfair, the author seems to be trying to determine a way his main character, Charles Lennox, can be a Member of Parliament AND a private detective. This dilemma got in the way of an otherwise good story.
I have read all 5 in his Charles Lennox series and this one is my least favorite, although it is still a good listen and did not deter me from going back to listen to the latest in the series, Burial at Sea, which will keep me coming back for more.
While I have enjoyed James Langton's narration of books by other authors, for some reason his voice for Charles Lennox seems to contradict the strong, determined, yet gentlemanly character that Mr. Finch's writing portrays. With Langton's characterization, Lennox comes across as very mannerly, yet a bit weak. But since I have enjoyed several other books narrated by Mr. Langton, his narration of the Charles Lennox books will not deter me.
I would recommend listening/reading these books in the order written to enjoy the unfolding story of Charles Lennox's life.
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