An Old Betrayal
A Charles Lenox Mystery, #7
Minotaur Books, November 2013
From the publisher—
On a spring morning in London, 1875, Charles Lenox agrees to take time away from his busy schedule as a Member of Parliament to meet an old protégé’s client at Charing Cross. But when their cryptic encounter seems to lead, days later, to the murder of an innocuous country squire, this fast favor draws Lenox inexorably back into his old profession.
Soon he realizes that, far from concluding the murderer’s business, this body is only the first step in a cruel plan, many years in the plotting. Where will he strike next? The answer, Lenox learns with slowly dawning horror, may be at the very heart of England’s monarchy.
Ranging from the slums of London to the city’s corridors of power, the newest Charles Lenox novel bears all of this series’ customary wit, charm, and trickery—a compulsive escape to a different time.
Years ago, when I read A Beautiful Blue Death, the first in this series, I was completely captivated by its charm and its debonair sleuth, Charles Lenox. I’m still just as entranced today with the seventh book.
It has been a while since the upper class Lenox last occupied himself as a private investigator and there have been other major changes in his life since that first adventure including getting married and becoming a Member of Parliament representing the Liberal Party. His young protege, Lord John Dallington, is now London’s lead private investigator but, truth be told, Lenox misses that life. It’s no surprise, then, that he readily agrees when Lord John requests his help with a potential client. Little does he know that even the first attempt at meeting this client will be a mystery in itself and lead to him re-thinking an expectation. He has, in fact, blown the rendezvous, and he doesn’t find out until later that this mysterious person is connected to Buckingham Palace.
Twists and turns lead Lenox to more and more complexity as he is drawn deeper into the case and murder becomes entangled with age-old animosities and the possibility of the Victorian version of terrorism. In the meantime, he is in the thick of Parliamentary concerns and comes to a surprising decision that will have significant effects on his own life. Betrayal takes many forms and becomes a common theme in his present endeavors.
It was a pleasure to visit again with old friends Lenox and his wife, Lady Jane, as well as Graham, butler turned political assistant, Lord John and Inspector Jenkins of Scotland Yard. Most readers new to the series will want to start at the beginning as that’s really the only way to fully enjoy the relationships among all these companionable people. Adding to the charm of of these characters is a vivid evocation of Victorian England and stellar plotting with more than a few puzzles and side stories along the way. Charles Finch is an author who is at the top of the historical mystery field.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2013.
About the Series
Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, likes nothing more than to relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But he can’t pass up a good mystery, and this amateur sleuth is often called on to leave his comforts behind in the pursuit of clues. Follow him into the public houses, Mayfair mansions and servants’ quarters of Victorian London, into the intrigues of Parliament and secrets of Oxford. This historical mystery series, with its keen eye for period detail and razor-sharp plotting, offers readers an unparalleled brand of charm, sophistication and suspense.
And Now, A Terrific Giveaway
Thanks to the generosity of Minotaur Books, one lucky winner will receive print copies of the first three books in the series. Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing; the winning name will be pulled on the evening of Sunday, October 20th. This drawing is open to US residents.