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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Review - The Woman in the Water

The Woman in the Water takes readers back to Charles Lenox’s very first case and a serial killer who taunts the police.  I reviewed the third in the series, The Fleet Street Murders (click here), but somehow didn't keep up with the series.  When I saw there was a prequel (first in the prequel trilogy) of Lenox's very first case, I had to jump back into the Charles Lenox waters.

Author: Charles Finch

Copyright: Jan 2019 (Minotaur Book) 320 pgs

Series: 11th in Charles Lenox Mystery series

Sensuality: mild

Mystery Sub-genre: historical amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Charles Lenox, hopeful consulting detective  

Setting: 1850 London

Obtained Through: Personal Purchase

From the cover: "London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective…without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime―and promising to kill again―Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself.

The writer’s first victim is a young woman whose body is found in a naval trunk, caught up in the rushes of a small islet in the middle of the Thames. With few clues to go on, Lenox endeavors to solve the crime before another innocent life is lost. When the killer’s sights are turned toward those whom Lenox holds most dear, the stakes are raised and Lenox is trapped in a desperate game of cat and mouse.

In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this newest mystery in the Charles Lenox series pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money"

Charles Lenox may often be compared to Sherlock since they are both in that consulting detective classification and they use attention to detail and deduction as their tools.  But that is where the likeness ends.  Lenox wants to make a difference, has a heart for people, and is more balanced than Sherlock.

Charles’s unrequited love interest Elizabeth is his best friend yet she is married.  This gives the backstory to their relationship in the rest of the books.   The detectives at Scotland Yard don't warm up to him in this first case which makes the later books richer. But his brother Edmund and especially his ill father are such revealing interactions for this young Lenox.  The housekeeper Mrs Huggins is exasperating, pushy, and funny. She provides the counter weight to murder and mayhem with mundane demands on young Lenox.

London's Thames river and its seedier surroundings make for a great setting.  The murders and the killer's published taunts are just real enough to give goose-flesh.  The added touches of the media's fevered coverage of the second murder is realistic and adds to the overall atmosphere. It is such details that envelope the reader in the story. The murder and the subplots all make it hard to put the story down.  The killer reveal had a significant twist that was quite the surprise.  The wrap up leaves one tantalizing thread that perhaps will be revisited in later book.

I loved this book and seeing Charles Lenox as a young man full of promise and self-doubts making his way.  This is a great book for those that haven't read any of the series.  It has renewed my desire to read the others in the series.

Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

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Mystica said...

I do so like the setting as well as the story. Thanks for the review.

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