Returning from a continental honeymoon with his lifelong friend and new wife, Lady Jane Grey, Charles Lenox is asked by a colleague in Parliament to consult in the murder of a footman, bludgeoned to death with a brick. His investigation uncovers both unsettling facts about the family he served and a strange, second identity that the footman himself cultivated.
Going into the boxing clubs and public houses, the Mayfair mansions and servants' quarter of Victorian London, Lenox gradually realizes that an old friend may be implicated in the footman's death. Soon a suspect is arrested, but Lenox has his doubts. Desperately trying to balance the opening of Parliament and what he feels sure is a dark secret, he soon discovers that the killer is someone shockingly innocuous—who may be prepared to spill blood again, even a detective's.
In Detective Lenox, Lady Grey, and their circle of close associates, Charles Finch has created a cast of inviting, flesh-andblood characters. His evolving series, with its keen eye for period detail and razor-sharp plotting, offers readers an unparalleled brand of charm, sophistication, and suspense.
Set in 1860s London, Finch's middling fourth mystery featuring gentleman detective Charles Lenox (after 2009's The Fleet Street Murders) finds Lenox newly married to his longtime friend, Lady Jane Grey, and newly elected to Parliament. When Ludovic Starling, a slight acquaintance, asks Lenox to look into the bludgeoning murder of his footman, Frederick Clarke, Lenox, who wonders why Starling hasn't called in Scotland Yard, at first declines. In the end, despite the demands of his new vocation, Lenox agrees to help. The investigator, who's troubled to learn that Starling has been less than forthright with him, can't accept the police theory that a rival servant killed Clarke. Finch equips Lenox with his own Bunter in the person of a former butler turned political secretary, but the pair come across as weak, warmed-over versions of the golden age Dorothy Sayers originals. Portentous chapter endings undermine the otherwise solid prose.