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A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death

Написано Charles Finch

Озвучено James Langton


A Beautiful Blue Death

Написано Charles Finch

Озвучено James Langton

оценки:
4/5 (73 оценки)
Длина:
8 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 27, 2011
ISBN:
9781452674544
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, likes nothing more than to relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox cannot resist the chance to unravel a mystery.



Prudence Smith, one of Jane's former servants, is dead of an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The grand house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prue had dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by the motive for the girl's death.



When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence Smith? Or was it something else entirely? And can Lenox find the answer before the killer strikes again-this time, disturbingly close to home?
Издатель:
Издано:
Sep 27, 2011
ISBN:
9781452674544
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

Charles Finch is the USA Today bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Vanishing Man. His first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments, is also available from St. Martin's Press. Finch received the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Washington Post, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.


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3.8
73 оценки / 77 Обзоры
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  • (3/5)
    I think I'm being generous with this rating as I'm spoiled with the wonderful Regency mysteries of C.S. Harris and Anne Perry's Victorian William Monk series. This story was somewhat convoluted while not really adding to the murder mystery. As other reviewers noted, there is a lot of anachronisms and inaccuracies that a little research would have fixed. Charles Lenox is likable enough though Lady Jane is a bit of a cipher, more of a cardboard cutout for a female role. I did find the relationship between Lenox and his butler odd. Sometimes they're friendly and other times strictly employer/employee for no particular reason (no one else is there). All the men in love and having sex with the murdered maid was also strange to me; why aren't they all suspects right away? Lenox's reasoning just didn't work for me.
  • (2/5)
    I finished this book, but it took awhile. The synopsis sounding interesting and I loved the cover, but I had a hard time getting into the story. I think the main reason I struggled was that there were too many tedious details about everyday things like lunch, tea, and idle conversation. The mystery was interesting, but the ending left me unsatisfied. This is the debut novel in the Charles Lenox series, so perhaps the rest are better as it is a long series, so it must get readers.

    The story takes place in 1865 London with Charles Lenox as the protagonist and Lady Jane Grey his friend. They grew up together and their friendship is charming and sweet and very well written. In the story, Lady Jane's previous maid has died at her new place of employment and it is being put down as a suicide. Neither Lady Jane or the maid's friends believe she would have killed herself. The owner of the home and the master of the maid, want it taken care of quickly and put to rest. He certainly does not want a criminal investigation going on in his house as he is preparing to give the "Ball of the Season. As Charles investigates, he is a Sherlock Holmes type sleuth, not a policeman, he believes it it murder. When another murder occurs in the house during the ball, Charles eventually figures out the culprits, but the ending seems forced and there seems to be no closure.

    This was an okay read for me, I did not dislike it, but I did not gobble the story up as I had expected I would. I might try one more in the series to see if I enjoy it, but I will not be moving it to the top of my TBR list. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    Victorian gentleman, Charles Lenox, is called on to solve a mystery by his close friend and neighbour Lady Jane Grey. He can't say no to his friend or to solving a mystery.Prudence Smith, a previous servant of Lady Grey's, has been found dead in her room. Suicide is the immediate determination, but when Lenox examines the scene he suspects it is something more. Results from analysis of evidence reveals poisoning by a rare and deadly poison. People residing under the roof of the house the girl works in provide a good list of possible suspects. Add to that the fact that Prudence has flirted with a few of them and the solution becomes even more complicated.I enjoy reading books set in various eras. In the last few years I've added the Victorian era. Finch does a good job in descriptives, dialog and plot lines. I am not an expert in the era, so something can easily slip by when it comes to authenticity, but his style, flow and use of language make the story move at a good and fairly steady pace. I plan on reading more of his work.
  • (4/5)
    This Victorian era murder mystery seems to have been inspired by both Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves. Like Holmes, the protagonist, Charles Lenox, uses his mind to solve the crime and is a better detective than his counterpart at Scotland Yard. Lenox’s clever butler, Graham, is reminiscent of Jeeves. Although the mystery is not riveting. the main characters are finely drawn and the small details of life in Victorian London make this a pleasant and engaging novel.
  • (4/5)
    The first book in the Charles Lenox mystery series sets an ambition challenge for Charles Lenox, English gentleman and amateur detective. A young house maid is poisoned with the rare bella indigo - the beautiful blue - and the evidence points to a suicide, but Charles immediately suspects that the young girl was murdered. But why? And who among the house guests committed the crime? As Charles digs deeper he begins to unravel a complex scheme of murder tied to potential financial gain. I really enjoyed this first mystery by Charles Finch. It easily fits the mold for the quintessential English detective novel, and with the character of Charles Lenox I see hints of other great fiction detectives, from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot. The story is set in 1867 and we get a wonderful glimpse of Victorian London. Lenox is an interesting character, a man of wealth and means, second son to a lord, so he has the time available, and the pedigree necessary, to investigate crimes among London's upper crust. Lenox has cultivated a great list of friends and acquaintances who he depends on for their expertise, from his good friend Dr. McConnell, his brother Edward, his butler Graham, and his good friend Lady Jane. As Holmes was an expert in many areas, able to deduce the smallest details from simple clues, Lenox is an expert on people, and uses a large and growing group of experts to aid him in his case. The case is suitably complex, and Charles Finch does a great job of leading the reader down the paths of dead ends, red herrings, and important clues. When the killer and motive are revealed, the vital clues are explained, and you learn that everything needed to solve the crime had been presented. There were no mysterious clues or off the page deductions, and I really enjoyed this. In a few places Finch tended to ramble, as Lenox goes off on a tangent about travelling, or discussing the goings on of society. These added to the setting, but slowed a the novel a bit in the middle, but not enough that I would not recommend this book. It is still a great mystery and a great read, and I am looking forward to the other books in the series.I listened to the audiobook narrated by James Langton. Langton does an excellent job of bringing the characters and story to life, easily jumping between the voices, from Scottish burr to standard English, upper class and lower class. I found all of the characters distinct and the production did not have any flaws in it. If you are looking for a good mystery, featuring a wonderful amateur detective, then I recommend you pick up A Beautiful Blue Death. Like me, I am sure you will find yourself entranced by Charles Finch's world.
  • (3/5)
     good story, but I figured out who the killer was fairly early so not that much of a mystery. This is an easy read and I was able to read it all in one day. This is the first book by Charles Finch. Overall a good book to take on a day trip or to the beach.
  • (4/5)
    It's 1865, and Charles Lenox is a gentleman, the younger brother of baronet Sir Edmund Lenox, living in London and pursuing his hobbies and passions.

    One of his hobbies is planning foreign travel. He rarely takes these carefully planned trips, because one of his passions is solving crimes. He has a friend who sometimes assists him, Dr. Thomas McConnell, but that fact and his ability to deduce interesting facts about people from evidence that others miss is really where the resemblance to that other great Victorian-era detective ends. Lenox is not a professional, a consulting detective. He's an amateur, doing this for love and usefulness. When his neighbor and friend, Lady Jane Grey, asks for his help, he immediately cancels his latest planned trip.

    A former housemaid of Lady Jane's, Prudence Smith, has died, either by murder or suicide, at the home of her new employer, George Barnard. Barnard is an acquaintance, and also the head of the Royal Mint, and is more interested in preventing scandal than finding the truth.

    It's a delicate case, and gets a bit more challenging when Inspector Exeter, a senior man at Scotland Yard but inclined to be resentful of Lenox's interference, is assigned to investigate it.

    Finch leads us through an intricate puzzle involving Barnard's two nephews, both living with him, Prudence Smith's multiple lovers, as well as two Members of Parliament and a wealthy industrialist of low birth who are all guests in the Barnard home. Everyone with even a remote motive has an alibi, and everyone without an alibi seems to have no conceivable motive.

    And then one of the Members of Parliament is murdered, during Barnard's annual ball. It seems improbable that the two murders are unrelated, yet what connects them? There's also the awkward fact that the dead man had been one of the best suspects in the murder of the maid, and the nephew that had no alibi for her murder, has an unbreakable alibi for the murder of the MP: Lenox's brother Sir Edmund was watching him the whole time.

    This is a carefully built puzzle grounded in the personalities and constraints of the different players, with economical but effective character development of each significant individual. I did find the epilogue a bit drawn out, and there mainly, I think, to lay the groundwork for developments in later volumes in the series, but that's a minor complaint in a generally very satisfying mystery.

    If you enjoy a good mystery, this is one to seek out, especially since, if you enjoy this one, there are several more already in print.

    Recommended.

    I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
  • (3/5)
    Lady Jane Grey's former maid, Prudence Smith (who has changed households to be w/ her Fiancee), had been found poisoned. There was a suicide note addressed to her Fiancee James.... However it was soon brought to light that Pru only ever called James, Jem, and Pru was illiterate, so she never could have written the note. Also coming to light was the fact that although there was Arsenic in a bottle next to the glass, there was only arsenic on the rim of the glass, not in it. Also odd was an absence of finger prints on the glass and another very rare type of poison that actually killed Pru.

    Pru was working for a rather gruff man, George Barnard in charge of the mint. The mint had recently been under attack as there was a large amount of new gold coinage soon to be released to the public, and Barnard was set to guard it. The gold coinage was secretly stored in Barnard's house until such a time when it was to be released. Staying in Barnard's house were his two nephews and two men from Parliament (who were also guarding the gold coinage).

    I do like Charles Lennox..... He is so different a person from the prescribed Gentlemen of the times. He was intelligent, curious, and interested in humanity. He's not stuffy, erudite, nor arrogant. I also like his relationship with; his childhood friend & neighbor Lady Jane Grey, his butler Graham, his brother Edmund, friend Thomas, the semi-incompetent Scotland Yard Inspector Exeter, as well as the local merchants & workers.

    I am taking this down 1 star because of the way the conclusion was written. Basically the conclusion jumped ahead ten years for Claude Barnard and then went back to the present time to conclude for his uncle George Barnard. I believe the book would have been so much better had the author stuck to the time line rather than follow the characters' individual stories.
  • (2/5)
    I didn't read any more of the series after this one. It was just meh. I don't know why anyone would waste time on this with all the amazing mysteries out there. Re-read Agatha Christie or something.
  • (3/5)
    Charles Lenox is a Victorian gentleman who solves crimes. He's no Sherlock Holmes, but I like him. In this first recorded outing, he comes to the aid of his neighbor and childhood friend, Lady Jane Grey, who is concerned about the suspicious death of a former maid. With the able assistance of his doctor friend Thomas McConnell (who is not Dr. Watson, either; in this pair, HE's the one with the substance abuse issue) and his valet Graham (you guessed it, he's not Jeeves, but he's every bit as useful) Lenox sets out to determine who killed the girl and why. Excellent setting and character development. I'll definitely be reading more of these.June 2016
  • (3/5)
    Charles Lenox is a gentleman of leisure who enjoys solving mysteries in his spare time. His good friend, Lady Jane Grey, requests his help when a former servant is found dead of an apparent suicide. Charles of course discovers the girl has been murdered, and there is no end of suspects or motives in the case. I enjoyed the story and the mystery and, although a bit convoluted, it was impossible to guess the resolution. Where Finch really excels is in his interpersonal relationships between the characters. You can't help but feel Charles and Lady Jane both might possibly feel more than friendship between them. And I enjoyed reading about the history of Charles unique friendship with his butler, Graham. This was a good historical cozy mystery and I will be reading the second book so see what develops between the characters. Three and a half stars.
  • (2/5)
    Too cozy. Bland.
  • (2/5)
    For some reason this book didn't grab me the way I expected. It could mean that my first and only reading slump isn't over or that this was simply a miss for me (which is strange because I like this genre). Whatever the reason, I found the characters' conversations annoying and some of ordinary things the protagonist does are way too detailed (having tea, breakfast and such).
    Still, take this with a grain of salt. For now it was simply an okay story. I might return to this book when I am in better mood for it. This doesn't mean I'll give up on the series though.
  • (5/5)
    Chakra Finch writes beautifully. He creates wonderfully details characters and interesting complex logic. I loved this book!
  • (4/5)
    I find it amazing that the author penned this in one sitting. It is well written and the characters are great. The setting is very soothing and comfortable. I'm not sure I want to read more of this author's work.
  • (4/5)
    Such a wonderful debut novel by American born Charles Finch - a double murder mystery set in the year 1865 amidst the haves and have-nots of Victorian England. His writing style is elegant and most engaging. His research into the goings on of the day is most commendable. Admittedly, this reader was a little late to party and read the three subsequently written prequels before launching into the series. However, it still is a wonderfully engrossing read twelve years later. I eagerly look forward to amateur detective Charles Lenox's next case. Synopsis (from book's dust jacket):Equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Gosford Park, and P. G. Wodehouse, this Victorian debut introduces a wonderfully appealing detective and his friend, the lovely Lady Jane.On most days during London's long winter, Charles Lenox, a Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, likes to relax in his private library with a cup of tea, a roaring fire, and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox finds himself in the heart of a another mystery - one more complicated and layered than any he's ever faced.One of Jane's former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead -- an apparent suicide. But Lenox immediately suspects something more sinister: murder by a rare and deadly poison. The patrician house where the girl worked and lived is full of suspects, and while Prudence played with more than a few hearts, even Lenox is baffled by the elusive motive behind her death.When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle the web of loyalties and animosities surrounding the Barnard mansion. He has friends to help him with the task, not least his faithful valet, Graham, and his assistant and friend, Dr. Thomas McConnell. But suddenly their work grinds to a halt: Lenox's rival at Scotland Yard, Inspector Exeter, has taken a personal interest in the case. Did jealousy kill Prudence Smith? Was it the mysterious treasure secretly inhabiting an upstairs room in the house? Or was it something else entirely - something that the brilliant Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again, dangerously close to home?
  • (3/5)
    When Lady Jane Grey's former house maid turns up dead under suspicious circumstances she turns to her dear friend and amateur detective, Charles Lenox to solve the case. I enjoyed the characters in this book and the sharp British humor but the mystery fell a bit flat. When the big reveal came it just wasn't all that shocking or intriguing. Although this wasn't one of my favorite cozy mysteries I enjoyed this first book enough to continue the series.
  • (2/5)
    How can I write a fair review when I have only read about 1/2 of this mystery. I guess that kind of says it all IMO. By mid read it turned awful. What a boring detective. He reminds me of a Victorian version of Allingham's Campion what with his butler friend, but that is all the resemblance there is. Please see Stewarty's review below. I wish I had read it before I even ordered the book. Her review is right on and funny. I hope Mr. Finch does a better job with his later mysteries and gives some depth to the Character of Lenox. However I dare not take the chance to find out.
  • (3/5)
    Wasn't good enough for me to be interested in continuing the series. I felt it was flawed and loaded with cliches; mediocre.
  • (4/5)
    I listened to this one as an audiobook - it was read by James Langton, who is one of my favorite narrators.

    I especially appreciated what the author did with the characters, who could very easily have been nothing more than stock characters in an Victorian amateur detective story. He gives little twists of grit that are surprising and make them more than expected. For example, the brilliant young doctor does, as one would expect, marry the young society heiress, BUT their relationship isn't perfect, he takes to drink, and stops practicing. The hearty English country squire turns out to be indispensible to the running of the Empire. And so on.

    The story itself is ingenious, although I think the author cheated a little bit - I like stories where all of the clues are at least graspable, even if I don't see them. The winding-up of the story felt a little forced, and introduced new information that hadn't come up before. Still, I've started the second book and was thrilled to learn that there are five in total. I'm looking forward to reading them all.
  • (2/5)
    I didn't read any more of the series after this one. It was just meh. I don't know why anyone would waste time on this with all the amazing mysteries out there. Re-read Agatha Christie or something.
  • (3/5)
    Although I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I was a little disappointed. It felt like Lenox was a non cocaine addicted version of Sherlock Holmes, right down to his pipe. The end also bothered me a little. I wanted him to have a peaceful holiday in the country with his family, not begin formulating another case, which was only partially developed and almost felt like an after thought, although I did like the concept of it and how it tied with the other case.

    I will say that I really enjoyed the supporting characters. Graham was exactly what I wanted him to be and more. Lady Jane was charming, and had moments of unexpected cunning. Others sparked my interest as well, but none so much as these two.

    Overall, this IS an enjoyable book, and I would definitely recommend it to others. It's a great beach read.
  • (2/5)
    I am on a Victorian England kick it seems - and here is another book set in that time frame. Charles Lenox is the English amateur detective and aristocrat called to the scene of the startling death of a young maid...perhaps a suicide, perhaps not. Charles and his butler, Graham, set about investigating this puzzling death - it looks like she drank arsenic - but Charles is not fooled..in the bottom of the glass he discovers something else, the remains of a much more deadly and rare poison. But, why would someone want to murder a maid?Charles is helped in this investigation by by a cast of other characters - Lady Gray, his neighbor and confidante, a Scotland yard cop, an investigator and a one-time chemist.It's been a while since I've read a straight up mystery. This took me a while to get involved in. There were many mentions to previous cases that I didn't really get, and an overall assumption that I understood all about footmen, and poor nephews and much of English class structure.So, although I liked the characters and the mystery itself was rather intriguing. It moved a bit slowly for me.
  • (2/5)
    Charles Lenox is an armchair sleuth, so when a servant is found dead (suicide? Murder?) and a bottle of poison discovered nearby, he has to get involved.I rather wish he hadn't. While I like the Victorian setting, the story on a whole just bored me. I didn't feel empathy for the characters, didn't especially like or dislike any of them. The murder mystery didn't draw me in. Lots of talk and speculation, little action. Ho-hum. However, I did learn a great deal about what Charles ate, when he ate what he ate, and with whom he ate what he ate. He is a rather prissy character, but not even prissy enough to be interesting.I have the next book in this series, and will probably listen to it, but unless it is a good deal better than this book, I'm done with the series.I listened to the Audible version, and the narration was quite good.
  • (4/5)
    Charles Lenox and Lady Jane Grey have been friends since childhood so when the death of one of her former servants doesn't seem right, Lady Jane asks her friend to check into the circumstances for her.Inspector Exeter doesn't want to offend George Barnard, the employer of the victim so he's perfectly happy to call the death a suicide until Charles convinces him that the death may be more than that and be critical to saving a major government problem from occurring.
  • (3/5)
    I'm loving this book - the setting is ideal - London, in the mid-1800's, Christmas time, in the affluent society circle - the main character's favourite place is his library, with the fireplace and tons of books with tea. Aaah, now that is my nirvana.

    Hope that there are many more by Charles Finch to come.
  • (2/5)
    I enjoyed the characters in the story, but found the writing and the mystery lacking. I probably liked the characters because they were similar to Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey. We had the 2nd son in a titled family with nothing much to do with his time other then solve puzzles", a butler much like a friend who helps solve the mysteries, and friends who buck the traditional rules of society (the Scottish doctor and the BFF who is a woman). However I didn't find the writing or the mystery as interesting as Sayers' prose. The storylines dragged on at points and I kind of got sick of hearing about the boots. I also didn't like how Finch skipped back and forth in time to reveal the ending to the mystery. However, I liked the characters enough to read at least one more book in the series to give the author another chance to establish his writing style in this series."
  • (3/5)
    Lenox is a confirmed bachelor of aristocratic background who works as a private investigator in 1860's London. When a former maid of his friend, Lady Jane, is found poisoned, he sets out to find the murderer. The investigation is complicated by a second murder, and it takes him a while to figure it all out. Lenox is a likable main character, and I enjoyed the audio narration by James Langton.
  • (5/5)
    What a wonderful book this was to cozy up with on a cold, blustery day! Charles Lennox uses his deductive reasoning skills (slightly reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes) and social graces to get to the heart of a mystery that has a nice surprise ending. The sincere desire of Lenox to get to the truth without overstepping any of the dictates set by social decorum add a nice tension to an already absorbing plot. Charles Finch has a particularly enjoyable way of folding London's history into a great mystery with lively characters and great twists without "showing off" his research, as some historical fiction are wont to do. The fact that Big Ben has only recently been built and the current political climate of the day are simply observations made by the emminently likeable and affable Lenox make both London and Lenox eminently likable. It is also through Lenox that Finch gracefully displays the disparity of London's social pecking order, contrasting Lenox's titled, independantly wealthy status with his servants' (and the servant who is killed in the book) lifestyles.
  • (3/5)
    Another series I'm going to keep up with. I do like historical mysteries.