"Agatha Christie meets Patrick O'Brian in Finch's accomplished fifth whodunit set in Victorian England (after 2010's A Stranger in Mayfair), the best in the series to date."
—Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly 9/12/2011
Charles Lenox, Member of Parliament, sets sail on a clandestine mission for the government. When an officer is savagely murdered, however, Lenox is drawn toward his old profession, determined to capture another killer.
1873 is a perilous time in the relationship between France and England. When a string of English spies is found dead on French soil, the threat of all-out war prompts government officials to ask Charles Lenox to visit the newly-dug Suez Canal on a secret mission.
Once he is on board the Lucy, however, Lenox finds himself using not his new skills of diplomacy but his old ones: the ship's second lieutenant is found dead on the voyage's first night, his body cruelly abused. The ship's captain begs the temporarily retired detective to join in the hunt for a criminal. Lenox finds the trail, but in the claustrophobic atmosphere on board, where nobody can come or go and everyone is a suspect, he has to race against the next crime—and also hope he won't be the victim.
At once a compulsive murder mystery, a spy story, and an intimate and joyful journey with the Victorian navy, this book shows that no matter how far Lenox strays from his old life, it will always come back to find him.
Agatha Christie meets Patrick O'Brian in Finch's accomplished fifth whodunit set in Victorian England (after 2010's A Stranger in Mayfair), the best in the series to date. Although aristocratic sleuth Charles Lenox has become a member of Parliament and is expecting his first child, his brother, Sir Edmund, a close adviser to Prime Minister Gladstone, taps Charles in March 1873 to undertake a delicate espionage mission to Egypt, where five British agents have been killed, apparently by the French. But soon after Charles's ship sets sail, the captain calls on him to dust off his deductive skills when a crew member is murdered and left eviscerated on the deck. Charles is under pressure to solve the shocking crime quickly to limit its emotional aftershocks. While Finch may not be the first to set a murder mystery at sea, he perfectly integrates the ship's routines and customs into the fair-play plot.