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)
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!
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
This is a worthwhile listen. It is English murder mystery in the 1860's set in Oxford and London.
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!
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.
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.
I like the reader's voice very much, but also enjoyed reading the book a while back.
Of course it matches to the other books of this series, as the books are strongly rooted in Charles Lennox' character and world view. Hearing his thoughts about life and the world is as pleasurable to me as the mystery.
I like his reading style in general.
I was touched and moved by many of Lennox's thoughts and musings and bookmarked a lot.
Yoga & Pilates teacher, dog & cat mom, vegan pastry chef (formerly professional, now strictly amateur), Sacred Harp singer, ukulele lover
I read "A Beautiful Blue Death" and, while I enjoyed it intellectually, I didn't really connect emotionally with the characters. This second novel fleshes the main characters out and I enjoyed it a great deal, even if a few of the characters (Toto, in particular) still seem a little thin and two-dimensional.
I really enjoyed this book because I liked Charles Lennox. He's a kind man who makes mistakes and is mature enough to evaluate and regret them. He sacrifices position and relationships to serve humankind as a detective, seeing nobility in his calling. A *good* man. A human man without the cockiness or certitude of a Holmes or Poirot.
The pace is slow, with the clues unfolding gradually - not a good choice for readers who want a lot of action or an all-knowing detective. But it has heart. And there are a number of historical tidbits as a bonus, if one enjoys that sort of thing, as I do.
The narrator is wonderful, really differentiating the characters with different voicings and traits.
I'll definitely read more in the series.
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