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 likeabl..Show More »e aristocratic detective...in the mold of Wimsey and Campion but a real original. Highly recommend!
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..Show More » 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.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was a fun mystery with a favorite character as always. But it also provided excellent historical context of what ..Show More »it was like to be at sea as the naval sailing vessels were about to become obsolete. As usual, we received a detailed portrayal of class differences and how "gentlemen" actually lived. It was very enjoyable and I was so glad it was a bit longer and more involved than the earlier mysteries.
The book opens in 1874, and yet by the third chapter the characters have referred to Jack the Ripper who didn't do his deeds for another fourteen year..Show More »s. When the author makes a mistake as glaring as that early on, I'm distracted with listening for other anachronisms and errors throughout. Which is all the odder as the book staggers along beneath a burden of English legal and trade trivia, with all the entertainment value of a 6th grade text book. I love books with gobs of historical trivia (I'm a great lover of the Aubrey-Maturin series for example) but Mr. Finch seems incapable of delivering his load of information in any manner that could pass as story telling. I wish Mr. Finch had stuck to telling his story, as derivative of other and better detective fiction though it is.