Richard Derus's Reviews > A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
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Dec 15, 2011

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Read in August, 2010

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 3.8 stars. (Still getting used to the decimal star system.) I think the mystery was nicely handled, and I think the period details were very well sprinkled in the book. I like the idea of the sleuth...a humane, likable Sherlock Holmes...and I appreciate the historical "huh" moments the character, born about 1827, feels as he moves through the huge, modern, scary metropolis. I feel the same way whenever I go to New York City. It's a function of middle age, this peculiarly acute recognition of time's passing and its effects on the world around us.

But in the end, it was all more fun to read than it is to remember, which I barely do. A good entertainment, but not a fine one; a decent day's read, but nothing to keep me up late finishing.

Faint praise, I fear. Not bad. Don't break a leg getting to the store to buy it.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Carolyn Bitetti Spot on review!


Richard Derus Thank you, Carolyn!


Carol Best Totally agree...I thought the mystery wrap-up was drawn out..not very crisp and finishing. Whimpy is the word I would describe. I just wonder why this book won all those awards. I will read the next in the series and see if there is any improvement.


Richard Derus Carol wrote: "Totally agree...I thought the mystery wrap-up was drawn out..not very crisp and finishing. Whimpy is the word I would describe. I just wonder why this book won all those awards. I will read the nex..."

If you'll accept my pain as your lesson, don't do it. Blah, wooly, and disorganized.


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