Matt Schiariti's Reviews > A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
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Nov 19, 2012

it was amazing
Read in March, 2010

After just having finished Charles Finch's debut novel, I'm very glad I decided to start the series. It seems like every book I'm reading these days is part of an ongoing series (which I'm usually several books behind from the start!) but I decided to give it a shot based on my Amazon recommendations.

Long story short, Charles Lennox is a well respected 'man of leisure' in 19th London society. He also happens to be an amateur detective. When his long time friend and neighbor Lady Jane Gray asks him to look into the recent murder of a former servant of hers while under her current employer's roof, Charles can't help but accept the offer, both out of friendship and his genuine love for detective work. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of the book. However, it's not nearly as simple as that. Over the course of the novel the plot thickens as they say and Finch tells a tale that ends up in a very different place from which it started.

So often in period pieces such as this when the main character or characters are people of high station in life, they can come off as rather stuffy and boring to read. While Lenox is in no way hurting for money and is a London socialite, he brims with personality. Lenox is smart, sharp and likable in every way. One of his best friends is his butler, Graham. Being close with the help was really seen as below station back in those days but it's simply something that Lenox doesn't care about. Graham is his friend AND his sleuthing helper (think Watson and Sherlock Holmes). Lady Gray, also well off and of a high station, is equally likable. Both Charles and Jane never come off as bores or snobs.

The mystery itself as it unfolds is fun to read. Finch managed to make London come alive as Lenox seeks out the mystery, but he strikes a nice balance between depiction of place and movement of plot so the story never stalls. Each detail in the mystery as Lenox discovers it also has a purpose.

The characters are all well written and have their own voices. They're all very human too. Lenox debases himself when he makes a mistake, is quick to compliment people on a job well done, and the villains aren't super villains that can do no wrong. No moustache twisters one step ahead of the coppers at all times here!

All in all a great novel, even better considering it's Finch's debut, because it comes off as very polished.
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12/20/2016 marked as: read

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