An engaging detective series set in Victorian London

detective seriesMystery stories set in the past hold a certain fascination for me, so I turned to the Charles Lenox detective series with anticipation. The Laws of Murder, the eighth and most recent addition to the series, is a workmanlike effort but fell short of delivering the thrill I get when a mystery or thriller truly captivates me.


The Laws of Murder (Charles Lenox #8) by Charles Finch

@@@@ (4 out of 5)


The book begins with promise, serving up the dead body of an aristocrat (a marquess, which is apparently a big deal, outranked only by dukes) on a sidewalk in front of his elegant London home.

Charles Lenox is a Victorian gentleman who is married to a much-admired aristocrat, Lady Jane. In The Laws of Murder, set in London in 1876, Lenox has recently left his seat in Parliament to open the city’s first detective agency with three partners: a Frenchman, an extremely resourceful young woman, and a younger man Lenox considers his protege. Apparently, he has long been engaged in solving the occasional mystery. Now he’s determined to go about it full-time. Lenox is especially keen on tracking down seven vicious criminals who escaped justice during his days as an amateur detective. As Lenox and his partners dig into the mystery surrounding the death of the marquess — clearly, a murder — mystery piles on mystery . . . and just about everything goes wrong at the new agency.

Charles Finch is an American writer, educated at Yale and Oxford, who now lives in Oxford. In addition to the eight books in the Charles Lenox series, Finch has recently written a contemporary novel.

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