Book Review: The Laws of Murder by Charles Finch—and a Giveaway!

The Laws of MurderThe Laws of Murder
A Charles Lenox Mystery #8
Charles Finch
Minotaur Books, November 2014
ISBN 978-250-05130-1
Hardcover

From the publisher—

It’s 1876, and Charles Lenox, once London’s leading private investigator, has just given up his seat in Parliament after six years, primed to return to his first love, detection.  With high hopes he and three colleagues start a new detective agency, the first of its kind.  But as the months pass, and he is the only detective who cannot find work, Lenox begins to question whether he can still play the game as he once did.

Then comes a chance to redeem himself, though at a terrible price: a friend, a member of Scotland Yard, is shot near Regent’s Park.  As Lenox begins to parse the peculiar details of the death – an unlaced boot, a days-old wound, an untraceable luggage ticket – he realizes that the incident may lead him into grave personal danger, beyond which lies a terrible truth.

I’ve been a fan of this series since the very first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, came out in 2007. Somehow, I always know that I can count on Charles Finch to make the newest adventure just as fresh and entertaining as the one before and The Laws of Murder did not disappoint me in any way.

Scotland Yard hires Charles Lenox to aid in the investigation into the murder of one of its own, Inspector Thomas Jenkins. This is much more personal than some of his earlier cases since he had counted the inspector as a friend despite the unkind comments Jenkins had made in the newspapers about the agency and its unlikelihood of success.

The inner workings of the detective agency Charles formed with his partners—Lenox, Dallington, Strickland and DeMaire—are a real treat as we get to see more of how crime fighters did things back in the 1870’s with none of the fancy tools we have today like DNA testing, ballistics and technological gadgets such as cellphones and computers. Not everyone wishes the agency well, as seen in the territorial distrust and contempt coming from most of the Yard and the antipathy of the press, and Lenox seems to be having a bit of trouble getting back into the business of investigation after his seven years in Parliament.

As the investigation proceeds, Lenox and his partners find themselves drawn into a very shady mix of the criminal world and the highest levels of society. What could Jenkins have had to with the Slavonian Club and its dirty secrets and who is trying so hard to destroy Lenox, Dallington, Strickland and DeMaire?

Along with the principles, especially Charles, John and Polly,  I enjoyed spending time with old favorites Graham and Lady Jane in The Laws of Murder. Mr. Finch has a particular talent in both plot development and in building vibrant characters, including the city of London itself. This entry in the series is one of my favorites because it brings Charles Lenox out of the worthy but stultifying halls of the House of Lords and back into the vocation he loves, detecting. It’s nice to have him back in the thick of things.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2014.

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The Laws of Murder by Charles Finch
will be released on November 11th but
you could win
an Advance Reading Copy
from publisher Minotaur Books! To enter
the drawing, leave a comment below. The
winning name will be drawn Tuesday
evening, October 14th. This drawing is
open to residents of the US and Canada.