The sitting room looked as familiar as the back of his hand, and immediately Lenox took a liking to the young man who inhabited it. He saw several small artifacts of the missing student's life---a frayed piece of string about two feet long of the sort you might bind a package with, half of a pulpy fried tomato, which was too far from the breakfast table to have been dropped, a fountain pen, and lastly, a card which said on the front The September Society. . . .
In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate, he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to the September Society.
Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play.
What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of his devoted friends in London's upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home.
As in Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four, a crime committed in India has consequences in England years later in Finch's less than successful second Victorian whodunit to feature amateur detective Charles Lenox (after 2007's A Beautiful Blue Death). Since a prologue set in 1847 India makes clear that a double murder there is connected to a murder in London in 1866, there's little mystery about the general nature of the motive behind the later crime. Lady Annabelle Payson consults the Peter Wimsey like Lenox after the disappearance of her Oxford undergraduate son, George, who left behind in his college room a dead cat and a note referring to the September Society. When George turns up dead as well, Lenox vows to track down the killer, aided by his manservant, the Bunter-like Graham. While neither the prose nor the puzzle are at the level of A Beautiful Blue Death, that volume showed enough promise to suggest that the author is capable of better in the next installment.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Warm, Familiar and Satisfying
This book is like an old friend if you are an Anglophile with a penchant for history and mysteries. The characters are well-drawn and likable, the mystery is solid, and London and England are as important to the story as the murderer and his motive. Finch delivers history lessons along with suspense and the result is utterly enjoyable.
A Fun Read
Lennox returns for another interesting mystery and Lady Jane provides the opposite sex intrigue which keeps story rolling along. Finch has created an easy to read and enjoy mystery series...EAF