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A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #1)
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A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries #1)

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  5,817 ratings  ·  784 reviews
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 some
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Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Published (first published June 26th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

I submerged into 1865 London with surprising ease in this debut mystery. I was irked by lots of little picky detail boo-boos, but charmed by the characters of Charles Lenox and Lady Jane Grey, who *should* be called Lady Deere or the Dowager Countess of Deere, but whatever. Their interspecies friendship, as the Victorians would see it, is charming and sweet and very vibrantly drawn. Its charm makes me feel all squooshy inside.

And that's the real reason I've only rated this 3.
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Barb
Let me first make a few disclaimers, I did not finish this book. I almost always believe that reviewers who do not finish the book should not be leaving reviews with stars.

I am going to make an exception with this book as I have with only one other. This time I am making the exception because I hope to spare someone, who has similar tastes to mine, the pain of reading this book.

I looked at the reviews of this book here and on GoodReads before I chose to read it, they are overwhelmingly favorabl
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Magdalena
Six books in this series is available on kindle daily deal and I just bought the first book. My question is to those who have read the books, is this series good enough to buy more of them? I usually buy one book in a series to try them out first before I buy more but the price for these books today are quite cheap...

Update: I bought all six of them. I read a little in the beginning of the first book, liked it and thought what the heck!
Jessica Howard
This is not a highly suspenseful mystery, but rather a quiet, Victorian, armchair-detective type book.

I liked Charles Lenox, the main character, and his ruminations on the oddity of Victorian culture and the impossibility of getting properly made boots. I do think that some of the minor characters (most notably servants and those of lesser class) weren't sketched out fully, but it seems appropriate given the mindset of the era that a gentlemen would think of these types of people in broad sterot
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Mona Temchin
Pleasant Crime Novel, A Bit Soporific



"A Beautiful Blue Death" had some good qualities, but I can't say it's one of my favorites.

I think it was trying a bit too hard to be clever. Also the settings and characters were a trifle boring at times. They were a little too removed from everyday life to be entirely believable.

British aristocrat Charles Lenox has inherited such a comfortable sum from his father that he doesn't need to work.

He is an amateur detective, but amateur only in the sense of being
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Mary Gilligan-Nolan
This is one I had recommended to me by a Goodreads friend and I would like to say a thank you for putting me on to this series. I really enjoyed it. It's a great old fashioned crime/mystery set in the late 1800's in London. A gentleman of leisure, Charles Lenox, who likes to dabble in solving crimes in his spare time, free of charge, as he is well set up financially. His life-long friend, Lady Jane Gray asks him to look into the death of her former maid, who has taken up a new position with anot ...more
Hollie Bush
The author owes a serious debt of gratitude to Dorothy L. Sayers. If you believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this book is downright effusive. The author is also a little too eager to demonstrate his mastery of historical trivia, which can take you out of the narrative - and wears a little thin as the novel progresses.
That being said the book is a fun and charming historical mystery that will undoubtedly be enjoyed by those of us who love Dorothy L. Sayers, Sir Arthur
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Michelle
This was a quick read, and quite enjoyable. I love a good series, and I couldn't resist checking out this mystery when I saw book 5 of the series on the New Books shelf at my library. The author is an American who graduated from Yale, and then got a master's degree at Oxford in England, where he now resides. I have developed an affinity for all things English, especially historically English, and in a small way I like to imagine that I was meant to be born in England in a different time entirely ...more
Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
I'm trying to immerse myself in this series of a noble Victorian armchair sleuth and a Watson-esque butler, and I just can't get into it. This is the first book in the series, and I've since read two sequels, and they were just progressively worse. I kept reading hoping to get more...anything from the series, more background information, more insight into their characters, some kind of depth. There's nothing. No passion, no greatness, just a dull, lukewarm historical whodunnit.
Sara Poole
I’m just a little bit in love with Charles Lenox, the hero of Charles Finch’s charming debut Victorian mystery. Lenox is smart, decent, upstanding and oh, so devoted to the delightful Lady Jane. The two join forces to plumb the truth behind a young maid’s death. Finch writes with confidence and verve, drawing us into Victorian London without resorting to cliches. The plot moves along smartly, the resolution satisfies completely. Curl up with a cuppa; you’re in for a treat.
Kathy
This book wasn't bad, it just wasn't interesting. There was no suspense and I often felt like the author was trying to interject his vast knowledge of English history but it just didn't flow with the story.

I managed to finish it, but I won't be reading any more of the series. Just too darn dull.
Tracey
I have reviewed this book; the review can be found here, on Booklikes, and here, on my blog. However, I will no longer be posting reviews on Goodreads, due to its changes to terms of service and, far worse, the boneheaded and incomprehensible way it proceeded with the new policy. Deleting content, almost randomly, and without warning (whatever they may have said) is wrong, and a half-hearted apology later doesn't make it all better. Failing to provide a sitewide announcement is wrong. Failing to ...more
Emily
Friends, I have discovered an excellent new series. By far my favorite mysteries are ones where the detective drinks a lot of tea and does a lot of thinking; I secretly desire to be Miss Jane Marple when I grow up. Set during the days of Queen Victoria, A Beautiful Blue Death is a gem; it's thoughtful, detailed, funny, and engaging, and I didn't want it to be over once it actually was. Happily for me, there are several more books already published with another one coming out later this year. I l ...more
Mike
May 31, 2010 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I picked this up after inadvertently reading the third book (The Fleet Street Murders) in the series. I liked that enough to see if the series started out well or it had developed into something during the previous two books.

I'm happy to say that the author began with a good footing and that all three books are pretty decent reads. To be fair, I'd probably give this more of a 3.75 that a full-blown 4, but c'est la vie.

It is definitely a detective story but like the other two novels the actual cr
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solaret
I was browsing the mystery section and found this. Most of the other books there were the sensationalist type, or from series that go on and on and on (Sue Grafton, just by its side). But the cover of this book was gorgeous. (At least, the version with all the pretty glass bottles.) And I like pretty covers. Other influences that may have biased me include the cheesecake and cappuccino I was consuming while reading this. You have been warned.

A Beautiful Blue Death is the first of a series. I thi
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Min
I'm not quite sure what it was about this book that bugged me. Frankly, I'm surprised I finished it at all. There was just something lacking in the prose - that certain something that makes a good book really come together and catch you up in the tale - that was lacking in this one. I felt as if I was reading the outline of a novel and only some of the major plot points had been fleshed out. There was far too much of Charles' boots and tea; instead of acting as lures into the life of the charact ...more
Jaret
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 ...more
Sylvester
2.5* It's not easy, writing a Victorian mystery these days. It's been done, well done - and I don't envy the person who tries the task on. This was a decent try, as they go, a quiet, almost snug mystery - but it had no edge whatsoever. And used a sandwich of unoriginal plot devices (1. The single, wealthy gentleman with a whip-smart manservant/friend/sidekick. 2. A thick-headed official who asks for help and then takes all the credit, albeit with the heroes' blessing.) These are a few of the thi ...more
Shan
My Aunt Meg, a huge fan of mysteries of all sorts, recommended this and I found it quite charming. Finch has a tendency to overexplain our hero's actions and motivations -- normally I'm not a fan of telling over showing, but this sort of thoroughness started to grow on me after a while. I ended up quite liking Lenox, and the sidekicks -- old friend Lady Jane, big brother Sir Edmund, and Graham the shrewd and loyal butler -- are charmers as well. On to the next volume in the series!
James
If there is a definition of a "cozy mystery" then it is this novel. It takes place in 1865 Victorian England and gentleman detective Charles Lennox investigates the poisoning of a maid in an acquaintance's home. Lennox is aided by several people including his lifelong friend Lady Jane, his alcoholic physician friend, a lower class investigator, his politically involved brother, and his faithful manservant Graham. Author Finch creates a pure visualization of a wintery London circa the 19th centur ...more
Naomi
Great Victorian mystery. I listened to it and LOVED the narrator. His voice was smooth and changes in voices didn't sound like nails on a chalkboard as they normally do. Was the feeling of the book "been there, done that"? Yes, I read a large number of these books and they generally have the same feeling, but this was definitely one of the better ones.
June
This book started off a bit slowly but with a likeable main character and quickly picked up pace. I will definitely try and get my hands on the other books in this series as soon as possible.

Recommended for:
Sherlock Holmes fans, people who like to read books set in London in the 1800s (1865 in this case).
Cathy Cole
Charles Finch's first mystery to feature Charles Lenox moves a bit slowly from time to time, and the information he shares about such subjects as London gentlemen's clubs in the 1860s could be woven more smoothly into the narrative, but the positives far outweigh these two negatives.

A Beautiful Blue Death is filled to the rafters with memorable characters. Charles Lenox-- even if he's the "leftover" son and not heir to his family's title-- is a true gentleman in both his beliefs and in his deali
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Phair
Wasn't particularly fond of this one. For me there was no sense of the period. In fact I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't set in the 1700s. Listened to this in audio and it bothered me that Lenox and his manservant were voiced a little too much like Bertie Wooster and especially Jeeves. Another annoyance was the way Lenox kept referring to previous investigations he had done even though this is the first in the series. Unless the author plans to jump around in the timeline and go ba ...more
Scott
It's 1865 London and we meet Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer who just happens to be an amateur detective. His closest friend, Lady Jane, finds out a former maid of hers has died and asks Charles to look into the death. And it begins...

This is a mystery in the vein of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot EXCEPT this author knows how to write a fully formed multi-dimensional character who has believable dialogue with other wonderfully written characters. Don't get me wrong I love Hol
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Judy
Thank you Barbara for sharing this delightful book with me. What a great find. Charles Lenox isn't quite Inspector Gamache, but he will do nicely until another Gamache book comes along.
The story is set in England before WWI and has a sort of Downton Abby feel to it. Lenox is of the upper class and likes to dabble in solving myteries. He isn't appreciated by Scotland Yard, but his advice is sought out from time to time when an odd crime has been commited.
Charles Finch pays close attention to d
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Heather
It was the cover of this book, that particular yellow and the three shelves of interestingly-shaped bottles with their lovely old labels, that made me pick it up from a pile of books someone left in the lobby of the apartment building where I live. It sat on my shelf for a few months, and then I picked it up on a chilly January night, and these were the sentences that made me decide now was the time to read it: "It was a bitterly cold late afternoon in the winter of 1865, with snow falling softl ...more
Rebecca
Lord Peter Wimsey wannabe Charles Lennox is a wealthy, forty-something Victorian bachelor living in London next to his BFF Lady Jane (the author makes sure to point out how unusual this relationship is, particularly for the time, as if acknowledging that he knows it's unrealistic will help us suspend our disbelief), and with his faithful and loyal manservant Graham. Like Lord Peter, Lennox likes puzzles and murders, so when Lady Jane asks him to look into the death of a former housemaid of hers, ...more
Jane Gorman
I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the series. Charles Lenox is endearing, engaging and entertaining. He seems to have it all – but he has his flaws, too. There’s nothing worse than a protagonist who’s nothing but perfect, and Lenox is just the right amount of imperfect.

The only thing better than the characters was the description and setting. I feel like I just got back from a trip to Victorian London! Which is exactly what I look for in my books – a fun escape.
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Clockstein Lockstein
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch is the first book in the Victorian mystery series featuring investigator Charles Lenox. Lenox has developed a reputation in London for being able to solve mysteries that others, even Scotland Yard, have trouble with. As a gentleman, the wealthy feel they can trust his discretion, but the poor also seek him out as a good man. In this case, his neighbor and best friend from childhood, Lady Jane Grey, asks for his help determining the truth behind the death o ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads' database with this name. See this thread for more information.

My name is Charles Finch - welcome! I'm the author of the Charles Lenox series of historical mysteries, as well as a recent novel about expatriate life in Oxford, THE LAST ENCHANTMENTS. I also write book reviews for the New York Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune an
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More about Charles Finch...

Other Books in the Series

Charles Lenox Mysteries (9 books)
  • The September Society (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #2)
  • The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #3)
  • A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #4)
  • A Burial at Sea (Charles Lenox Mysteries #5)
  • A Death in the Small Hours (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #6)
  • An Old Betrayal (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #7)
  • The Laws of Murder (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #8)
  • Home by Nightfall (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #9)
The September Society (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #2) The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #3) A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #4) A Burial at Sea (Charles Lenox Mysteries #5) A Death in the Small Hours (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #6)

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“Her strength was in the integrity of her actions; she never compromised what she believed she ought to do.” 22 likes
“...It had been a perfect nap -- the sort a man runs into now and again by chance...” 7 likes
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