Saturday, February 18, 2012
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
Victorian gentleman Charles Lenox is something of hobbyist detective. When his close friend Lady Jane asks him to investigate the murder of a former servant, he sets out with his valet Graham, his doctor friend, and eager to help brother, Charles sets about trying to untangle the mystery while delicately treading around his nemesis Inspector Exeter and a lot of aristocratic and wealthy gentlemen who may not want this case solved. Add to that the fact that the home that the murder took place happens to be where the treasury was storing gold for the mint and Charles has his hands full.
Genre: mystery, historical
There's nothing not to like about this charming mystery. With a detective pleasantly upper class possessing the mind of a Sherlock Holmes, though more inclined to miss a clue now and then, Lenox and his friends are just likable. I made the mistake of looking at Amazon reviews before writing my own, something I try not to do, and was rather surprised by all the complaining about historical mistakes in the book. I didn't notice anything so terribly glaring that I couldn't enjoy the mystery part. One of the things I think reviewers tend to forget (and I do it as well) is the genre of book they're reviewing. If this were a historical novel I might have been harder on it, but it's a mystery and never pretends to be anything other than that. And it was a charming mystery that was far more readable and unpredictable than most and the characters were actually likable themselves. Lenox's brother Edmund was also a pleasant change from distant or snooty upper crust siblings in books by eagerly delighting in helping his brother. Everything is neatly answered, but not so neatly concluded, as Lenox makes a few errors that lead to not everyone being punished quite like they possibly should be. This was just a nice mystery.