It took me a while but I finally got around to reading A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (Book #1 in Charles Lenox Mysteries). And my or my… I believe I found another ‘bookish’ friend.
Charles Lenox is Sherlock’s contemorary but as different from him as chalk and cheese. Set in Victorian London, Charles Lenox Mysteries are much funner, warmer, cozier and ‘friendly’ then creations of Sir Conan Doyle.
We meet Mr Lenox at home and are immediately trasnferred into ‘Wooster and Jeeves’ like environment of friendly banter between muster and butler, where the master loves his slippers and is religious about his tea and cakes, and butler is the best sidekick a detective can have.
A detective for London establishment, Charles Lenox has carte blanche for every house and every party in town. He uncovers crimes as ‘favours’ for his friends and family. He goes about sleuthing in a very gentlemanly, even a bit lazy way. But he gets to the point. He solves the mysteries. And he gets to have his tea most of the days.
A Beautiful Blue Death is the murder mystery that starts very prosaic but ends up being very complicated and dangerous. A servant girl is found dead in the house of one of the British most prominent figures. Lenox is asked by his lady friend to solve this incident as a favour to her. What Lenox uncovers is way more than a death by posioning by beautiful blue death (name of the poison).
The solving of the mystery will take Lenox across London, will put him into danger and will make him question his beliefs and loyalties. At the same time, Lenox will strengthen his belief in his friends and family (his old friend, his lady friend and his brother). I found this part of the story especially endearing.
This detective is not cold and aloof. This detective is homely and friendly. He has strong beliefs and strong ties to people. He has feelings and attachments. He is alive.
I guess, I will have to read the rest of the books in the series
This books is published by Minotaur Books in 2007. It is out now and is available in all good bookstores