A Beautiful Blue Death

bluedeathA Beautiful Blue Death
by Charles Finch
2007 / 336 pages
read by James Langton 8h 58m
rating: B+ / historical crime

Set in London, 1865, Finch seems to capture a kind of 21st century idea of the place and time with historical accuracy and without any anachronisms – (that I noticed).  The protagonist,  Charles Lennox, is a rich bachelor of the amateur variety – solving these little mysteries is a hobby.  This is the first in a series so the main characters are possibly more thoroughly developed than in a standalone.

So now the ex-housemaid of Lady Jane Grey,  Lennox’s his long time friend, has been found dead in the home of her new employer,  George Barnard.  It’s agreed the cause of death was probably of poison but whether or not it was by her own hand or that of another is the first dispute.

What we have here is a standard closed cast who-done-it and I usually love them so I don’t know what went wrong.  Maybe it was just getting used to the characters in the first novel of a series? –  The writing is nice enough – maybe it was rather too clear cut and although I didn’t really “figure it out.”   I don’t usually try real hard –

Fwiw,  poison was a common method of murder until the development of forensics regarding it in the 19th century.  (See – The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum) The fingerprinting and forensics  information is correct,  but the rare expensive poison,  Bella Indigo is fictitious.

Many interesting clues after the fact of murder is established – type of poison, open window, “suicide” note – (no spoilers).   Everything is made clear at the end.

This series will likely be popular with some folks – these will likely be the continuing characters in some of the novels:

Charles Lennox – amateur detective extra-ordinaire, a bachelor
Graham – Lenox’s  butler, friend and long time helper in many things
Lady Jane Gray – Lennox’s good friend and neighbor  (not at the scene)
Mr. Jenkins – the police detective, young, high ranking, bright
Thomas McConnell – the doctor,
Toto McConnell – married to the Thomas
Sir Edmond Lennox – Charles’ brother
Exeter  – Scotland Yard detective


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