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A Beautiful Blue Death

Finch, Charles (Book - 2007 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Beautiful Blue Death
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Baker & Taylor
When a servant girl is found dead, a supposed suicide, Victorian gentleman and amateur sleuth Charles Lenox is called in by his old friend, Lady Jane, to investigate and begins to suspect that the girl has fallen victim to a rare and deadly poison, in a case that is complicated by the discovery of a second body in the middle of London's most fashionable ball. A first novel. 20,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.

One of Jane’s former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead – an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl’s death.
When another body turns up during the London season’s most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again – disturbingly close to home?


Blackwell North Amer
Equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Gosford Park, and P. G. Wodehouse, this Victorian debut introduces an appealing detective and his friend, the lovely Lady Jane.
On most days during London's long winter, Charles Lenox, a Victorian gentleman and armchair reporter, likes to relax in his private library with a cup of tea, a roaring fire, and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox finds himself in the heart of another mystery - one more complicated and layered than any he's ever faced.
One of Jane's former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead, an apparent suicide. But Lenox immediately suspects something more sinister: murder by a rare and deadly poison. The patrician house where the girl worked and lived is full of suspects, and while Prudence played with more than a few hearts, even Lenox is baffled by the elusive motive behind her death.
When another body turns up during the season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle the web of loyalties and animosities surrounding the Barnard mansion. He has friends to help him with the task, not least his faithful valet, Graham, and his assistant and friend, Dr. Thomas McConnell. But suddenly their work grinds to a halt: Lenox's rival at Scotland Yard, Inspector Exeter, has taken a personal interest in the case.
Did jealousy kill Prudence Smith? Was it the mysterious treasure secretly inhabiting an upstairs room in the house? Or was it something else entirely - something that the brilliant Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again, dangerously close to home?

Baker
& Taylor

When a servant girl is found dead, a supposed suicide, Victorian gentleman and amateur sleuth Charles Lenox is called in by his old friend, Lady Jane, to investigate and begins to suspect that the girl has fallen victim to a rare and deadly poison.

Authors: Finch, Charles (Charles B.)
Statement of Responsibility: Charles Finch
Title: A beautiful blue death
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 309 p. ; 22 cm.
Subject Headings: London (England) Fiction Private investigators England London Fiction Women household employees Crimes against Fiction
Genre/Form: Historical fiction
Mystery fiction
Topical Term: Private investigators
Women household employees
LCCN: 2007011273
ISBN: 0312359772
9780312359775
Research Call Number: JFD 07-4147
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Jun 06, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It is impossible not to compare Charles Lenox to Lord Peter Wimsey. They are both amateur gentleman detectives with a quiet and calm way of solving crime.

When Lady Jane asks long-time friend and neighbour, Charles Lenox, to look into the death of a former maid, he immediately leaves the comfort of his fire and heads to the girls place of death. While investigating the murder, Charles finds himself involved in affairs of state and with his brothers help he unravels a web of deceit and greed.

I quite liked this story. It slowly unfolded in a staid and quiet manner and yet there was no time I thought that the tale got boring or the descriptions were overpowering the story. It was peaceful and clever, Charles was interesting and the mystery had a great ending.

Jan 15, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I love old English mysteries!

May 27, 2013
  • MissEavis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I dunno, I liked the book on a whole. Good murder mystery all around, but I found that sometime the dialog was super annoying between the charecters. I've read a lot of victoiran literature and this is the first time I've thought that about a book....

May 07, 2013
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch is the first in his series about Charles Lennox, a Victorian gentleman who enjoys playing the sleuth occasionally when cases are presented to him. This particular case is brought to him by his childhood friend and close neighbour Lady Jane . A former maid of hers has been found dead of an apparent suicide, but it isn’t long before Lennox knows the young woman is a victim of foul play.

The mystery itself moves along at a quick pace and has Lennox visiting both the grandest places in London and some of it’s lowest as well. Lennox himself is a likeable, slightly eccentric character that is fun to read about. There were a few other characters that I am hoping will reappear in future episodes. Overall an enjoyable, light read that held my interest and gave me a few giggles along the way.

Aug 13, 2011
  • hgeng63 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Somewhat slow pacing for this 1st in the series. Don't worry; it gets better!

a very good victorian murder mystery.

Dec 15, 2010
  • e_long rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A pleasant historical mystery. Finch does a decent job integrating historical aspects without being overwhelming, as so many authors do. However, the mystery itself is fairly transparent and the ending is rather drawn out and unsatisfying. For a first shot, it's not bad. I would be interested to see if Finch grows as an author.

Dec 20, 2009
  • karo rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent snapshot of upper class life in Victorian London! A lovely vacation from the modern day.

Dec 18, 2009
  • TooLittleTime rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A light mystery. Somewhat loosely based on Sherlock Holmes - a mystery solving detective with a brother secretly active in government.

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