Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Death in the Small Hours-Charles Finch

A Death in the Small Hours

Charles Finch

Minotaur, Nov 13 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250011602

In 1874 Charles Lenox is in Parliament, but misses his days as a private detection investigator though his former apprentice John Dallington allows him some precarious thrills by consulting with him. A new dad, Charles is excited that he will provide the opening remarks of the next parliamentary session.

While he prepares for the honor; Charles, his wife Jane, their baby Sophie and Miss Taylor the nursemaid visit his beloved Uncle Frederick Ponsonby in Plumbley. Dallington joins them as he lays low after a recent scandalous intoxication. He learns someone vandalizes the small Somerset village. This unknown individual has drawn a picture of a man hanging on the doors of two merchants and the Roman number XXII on the door of the church. When a teenage constable is stabbed to death and Uncle Freddie abducted, Charles investigates wondering if the vandal is now a murderer and kidnapper.

The latest Charles Lenox Victorian whodunit (see A Burial at Sea and A Stranger in Mayfair) is a terrific historical village mystery. Lenox is at his best with this case as he feels a reprieve from his Parliament duties with a chance to dabble in his preferred vocation of detecting. His obsession turns desperate when his uncle is snatched while his family round out a strong late nineteenth century investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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