Charles Finch is back with the third, and I believe final, prequel to the Charles Lenox Mysteries series – and I think this might be my favorite. We have a well-crafted mystery that involves two continents and some really vile villains. We also get to know and like Lady Jane’s husband and a young Charles falls in love. Add in tragedy and misery and goodness – there is everything you could possibly want in this book.
In October of 1855, it seems that all of his friends and relatives – at his mother’s behest – are trying to get Charles married off. Charles doesn’t have a particular objection to marriage, he just hadn’t really considered it. He’s been busy developing his chosen career as a private detective. Although the rest of the aristocracy looks down upon him for that choice, he still can’t give it up.
Lenox was sitting in his study playing chess with his neighbor – Jane’s husband, Lord Deere – when he received a visit from Inspector Hemstock of Scotland Yard. Hemstock is disinterested and inept and is asking Charles to accompany him to Paddington Station where there has been a murder.
Thus began an intriguing mystery that is filled with twists and turns. Just when you (and Charles) think you have it all figured out, the clues take them off in another direction. The victim was horribly murdered and anything that could possibly identify him had been removed from the body. So, not only do they have a murder, they don’t know who the victim is nor any clues to help identify him.
Charles pursues his investigation even though some in Scotland Yard want him to leave it alone and are really irate when he seems to be the only one who is finding any clues. When Charles identifies the victim and his mission in England, the investigation takes off in a whole new direction. When Charles finds additional victims, he finds himself in danger as well.
I loved getting to spend time with Jane’s husband and getting to know him better. He was such a sweet and honorable man that you can easily see how Jane came to love him. Charles also spent some time falling in love, but – well – I never did come to understand her at all.
This was an intriguing and mystifying read and I loved every page. I hope you will as well.