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A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

A Beautiful Blue Death (2007)

by Charles Finch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1619610,847 (3.47)212
When Victorian gentleman Charles Lenox begins to investigate the apparent suicide of a friend's former servant, he suspects murder--but to find the killer, he must untangle a complex web of loyalties and animosities before it's too late.

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» See also 212 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
I think I'm being generous with this rating as I'm spoiled with the wonderful Regency mysteries of C.S. Harris and Anne Perry's Victorian William Monk series. This story was somewhat convoluted while not really adding to the murder mystery. As other reviewers noted, there is a lot of anachronisms and inaccuracies that a little research would have fixed.
Charles Lenox is likable enough though Lady Jane is a bit of a cipher, more of a cardboard cutout for a female role. I did find the relationship between Lenox and his butler odd. Sometimes they're friendly and other times strictly employer/employee for no particular reason (no one else is there). All the men in love and having sex with the murdered maid was also strange to me; why aren't they all suspects right away? Lenox's reasoning just didn't work for me. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Aug 7, 2019 |
good story, but I figured out who the killer was fairly early so not that much of a mystery. This is an easy read and I was able to read it all in one day. This is the first book by Charles Finch. Overall a good book to take on a day trip or to the beach. ( )
  TheYankeeIrregular | Mar 22, 2019 |
The first book in the Charles Lenox mystery series sets an ambition challenge for Charles Lenox, English gentleman and amateur detective. A young house maid is poisoned with the rare bella indigo - the beautiful blue - and the evidence points to a suicide, but Charles immediately suspects that the young girl was murdered. But why? And who among the house guests committed the crime? As Charles digs deeper he begins to unravel a complex scheme of murder tied to potential financial gain.

I really enjoyed this first mystery by Charles Finch. It easily fits the mold for the quintessential English detective novel, and with the character of Charles Lenox I see hints of other great fiction detectives, from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot. The story is set in 1867 and we get a wonderful glimpse of Victorian London. Lenox is an interesting character, a man of wealth and means, second son to a lord, so he has the time available, and the pedigree necessary, to investigate crimes among London's upper crust. Lenox has cultivated a great list of friends and acquaintances who he depends on for their expertise, from his good friend Dr. McConnell, his brother Edward, his butler Graham, and his good friend Lady Jane. As Holmes was an expert in many areas, able to deduce the smallest details from simple clues, Lenox is an expert on people, and uses a large and growing group of experts to aid him in his case.

The case is suitably complex, and Charles Finch does a great job of leading the reader down the paths of dead ends, red herrings, and important clues. When the killer and motive are revealed, the vital clues are explained, and you learn that everything needed to solve the crime had been presented. There were no mysterious clues or off the page deductions, and I really enjoyed this. In a few places Finch tended to ramble, as Lenox goes off on a tangent about travelling, or discussing the goings on of society. These added to the setting, but slowed a the novel a bit in the middle, but not enough that I would not recommend this book. It is still a great mystery and a great read, and I am looking forward to the other books in the series.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Langton. Langton does an excellent job of bringing the characters and story to life, easily jumping between the voices, from Scottish burr to standard English, upper class and lower class. I found all of the characters distinct and the production did not have any flaws in it.

If you are looking for a good mystery, featuring a wonderful amateur detective, then I recommend you pick up A Beautiful Blue Death. Like me, I am sure you will find yourself entranced by Charles Finch's world. ( )
  GeoffHabiger | Feb 21, 2019 |
This Victorian era murder mystery seems to have been inspired by both Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves. Like Holmes, the protagonist, Charles Lenox, uses his mind to solve the crime and is a better detective than his counterpart at Scotland Yard. Lenox’s clever butler, Graham, is reminiscent of Jeeves. Although the mystery is not riveting. the main characters are finely drawn and the small details of life in Victorian London make this a pleasant and engaging novel. ( )
  Jaelle | Feb 16, 2019 |
Victorian gentleman, Charles Lenox, is called on to solve a mystery by his close friend and neighbour Lady Jane Grey. He can't say no to his friend or to solving a mystery.

Prudence Smith, a previous servant of Lady Grey's, has been found dead in her room. Suicide is the immediate determination, but when Lenox examines the scene he suspects it is something more. Results from analysis of evidence reveals poisoning by a rare and deadly poison. People residing under the roof of the house the girl works in provide a good list of possible suspects. Add to that the fact that Prudence has flirted with a few of them and the solution becomes even more complicated.

I enjoy reading books set in various eras. In the last few years I've added the Victorian era. Finch does a good job in descriptives, dialog and plot lines. I am not an expert in the era, so something can easily slip by when it comes to authenticity, but his style, flow and use of language make the story move at a good and fairly steady pace.

I plan on reading more of his work. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Feb 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
On the whole, though, most Sherlockians can skip this unengaging debut without risk.
added by rretzler | editKirkus Reviews (Apr 16, 2007)
Lovers of quality historical whodunits will hope this is the first in a series.
added by rretzler | editPublisher's Weekly (pay site)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Finchprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gurova, Irina GavrilovnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sohns, MarionTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother
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The fateful note came just as Lenox was settling into his armchair after a long, tiresome day in the city.
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Average: (3.47)
1 10
1.5 2
2 31
2.5 10
3 118
3.5 49
4 148
4.5 6
5 34

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