Share This

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch

Author: Charles Finch

Copyright: 2009 (Minotaur); 320 pgs.

Series: #3 in Charles Lennox Mysteries
Sensuality: N/A
Mystery sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth
Main Character: Charles Lennox
Setting: 1866 London
Winner of any awards: Agatha Winner (author)
Obtained book through: Library Find

This book is the closest rival to the Sherlock Holmes tradition I am aware of. This was my first novel in the Charles Lennox series and I couldn’t be more pleased. 1866 London comes alive with wonderful detail. The novel begins with two journalists murdered within mere minutes of one another one night. The two are essentially opposites; one was self-righteous and the other corrupt. Charles Lennox begins to take an interest in the crimes but he has agreed to run for Parliament and must go to northern England to campaign. Telegrams are Lennox’s way of staying informed of the investigation while he is keeping a hectic campaign schedule. Another murder of a prominent official brings Lennox back to London to investigate.

The novel is deftly handled with just enough period details to richly color the tapestry without loosing the modern reader. I greatly enjoyed Lennox as the main character, he is observant and intelligent and, for a man who doesn’t have to work for a living, he has a sympathetic nature that allows him to appreciate those of a lower “class” and feel a common humanity with them. He has a charming (it is the best word to describe it) relationship with his betrothed who lives next door. They are understanding and respectful of one another and are clearly best friends. He feels deeply for a man and isn’t shamed by it.
In an aristocratic voice, the murderer said, without pity in his voice, “Stupid sot. I hope you burn in hell.”

He put the paper back and fled to the open window, the one from whence the draft that had irritated Carruthers in the final moments of his life had come. The man unrolled a rope ladder and climbed down quickly. The apartment was only on the second floor.

After he was gone, Martha came in, ignoring the body and the long knife protruding from its back, and went to the window, took the rope ladder back up, and after raking the coals again began the slow process of burning it, as downstairs her children slept.
The mystery plays out and the climactic moment involves a suspenseful chase (the chase is afoot! – I couldn’t resist). It is a well-plotted mystery in which the reader is just as in the dark as Lennox and putting the pieces together along with our amateur sleuth. If you have read the prior Lennox mysteries, I will say that a recurring character doesn’t make it to the end alive.

Many people have compared the character Charles Lennox to Sherlock Holmes and I can’t help but make the comparison too. Sherlock is a more flawed character while Lennox comes across as a balanced man who wants to help others and make a difference.

I heartily recommend this work for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries.

For your convenience you may purchase your copy here.

Until Monday I wish you many mysterious moments.
Bookmark and Share


Kaye said...

Whoo, love the cover to that one. Great review, really makes me want to rush out and get the book. Have a great week and happy reading.

Yvonne said...

This sounds great!

BTW, I gave you an award :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails