In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate, he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to "The September Society".
Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play. What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of his devoted friends in London's upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home.
Investigate more mysterious doings with Charles Lennox.
©2008 Charles Finch (P)2011 Tantor
"Even the most astute reader will be guessing to the end. Another triumph." (Library Journal)
One of the very best on audio--takes a bit to get used to narrator's slightly diffident tone, but a fascinating, well developed mystery, and a likeable aristocratic detective...in the mold of Wimsey and Campion but a real original. Highly recommend!
I must say this series is growing on me! This book has the lightness and humor of the first book, but has an added depth which I enjoyed. Charles Lennox is more ruminative and we are let to know more about the painful emotions he experiences when the murder takes place, and one can see that his consistently light tone is a proper, class-appropriate Victorian cover for his deeper feelings.
I enjoyed his visit back to the haunts of his university days, and his reflections on youth, maturity and his change of perception of family and friends. I guessed most of the mystery, but not quite all! So, there was a bit of surprise at the end. However, I read mysteries more as good stories and character studies, so the complexity of the mystery is not an issue for me.
I was surprised to actually enjoy his description of Oxford, the buildings and the history. Fascinating. These mysteries are giving me a window to the Victorian past, and the author manages to draw parallels to our modern world without making me feel the characters themselves are leaping out of their time-frame to do it.
All in all, I highly recommend this author and this series of books.
Oh -- and by the way, the reading is really top-notch. A British actor who knows how to differentiate the characters without grating on the ear! Lovely. Enjoy!
A little slow, a bit obvious, and the "friendship" between Charles and Jane! Even a Victorian romance couldn't move this slowly. There were interesting possibilities at every turn, but it took way too long to bring them to light and the excitement always fizzles out in the numerous trips from Oxford to London and back and the endless thinkin' that old Charles does. Weighs the story down and gets it nowhere. Meanwhile his assistants find out all manner of interesting things off-stage and merely report back to him. Maybe the narrator's rather flat delivery makes the story seem even stodgier than it is.
The mystery was compelling, plenty of clues and twists and an interesting setting.
However the characters were not very engaging, I didn't care a jot for the main character's love interest and for some reason the narrator chose to give the main character a voice more suited to a simpleminded, aristocratic idler.
More convincing characters, better grounding in the time period, clearer story line and omitting copy-pastes from Oxford tour guide could have made it better. This book is an exceptional failure, in my view.
I did not mind the narrator one way or the other, the story, however, was week, to say the least.
I would definitely try to cut down on pontificating about Oxford and the Parliament a bit. It's better to "show" those things than to "explain" them.
After the first book which was so-so, I decided to give the series a try, and I feel sorry I did. That's it for me, personally!
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