A Stranger in Mayfair

A Stranger in Mayfair

Book - 2010
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Returning from a continental honeymoon with his lifelong friend and new wife, Lady Jane Grey, Charles Lenox is asked by a colleague in Parliament to consult in the murder of a footman, bludgeoned to death with a brick. His investigation uncovers both unsettling facts about the family he served and a strange, second identity that the footman himself cultivated.Going into the boxing clubs and public houses, the Mayfair mansions and servants' quarter of Victorian London, Lenox gradually realizes that an old friend may be implicated in the footman's death. Soon a suspect is arrested, but Lenox has his doubts. Desperately trying to balance the opening of Parliament and what he feels sure is a dark secret, he soon discovers that the killer is someone shockingly innocuous-who may be prepared to spill blood again, even a detective's.In Detective Lenox, Lady Grey, and their circle of close associates, Charles Finch has created a cast of inviting, flesh-andblood characters. His evolving series, with its keen eye for period detail and razor-sharp plotting, offers readers an unparalleled brand of charm, sophistication, and suspense.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312625061
0312625065
Characteristics: 308 p. ; 22 cm

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g
ggmu
Jun 13, 2012

I picked this one up because a blurb on the back compared this series to Dorothy L Sayers' Peter Wimsey series - which I love.

An interesting story in its on right, for me it didn't live up to the Wimsey comparison. I felt a little frustrated at the pacing - Finch moves quickly from scene to scene, not really taking time to develop his characters or plot points.

Not sure I'll read any more from this series, but it was fun to give this one a go.

b
bibliofinn
Sep 06, 2011

A worthy successor to Finch's earlier novels about aristocratic amateur detective Charles Lenox and the love of his life, Lady Jane Grey. Finch has thoroughly immersed himself in the study of Victorian London and creates an atmosphere you can sink into as you would into a warm bath. Excellent plotting, with red herrings and plausible suspects galore. The domestic scenes are sometimes stiflingly cosy and twee, but the portrait of the tensions between Lenox and his new wife is well--drawn. Finch is particularly adept at detailing the silences and evasions between people who love each other but suffer from Victorian reticence.

My only quibble is that there are lots of minor anachronisms. No mid-Victorian Englishman would say "I haven't a cent" nor would he say a colleague "hit the ground running" or that a suspect was working a "scam". These little slips do break a spell Finch has worked hard to create. And there are other slips as well: at one point a character is smoking a cigar but a few paragraphs later discards his cigarette. I don't know whether these errors are the result of haste by the author or sloppy work by his editor, but hopefully they'll be absent in the next volume of this fine series.

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