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An Extravagant Death: A Charles Lenox Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries, 14) Hardcover – February 16, 2021
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In what promises to be a breakout in Charles Finch's bestselling series, Charles Lenox travels to the New York and Newport of the dawning Gilded Age to investigate the death of a beautiful socialite.
London, 1878. With faith in Scotland Yard shattered after a damning corruption investigation, Charles Lenox's detective agency is rapidly expanding. The gentleman sleuth has all the work he can handle, two children, and an intriguing new murder case.
But when Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli offers him the opportunity to undertake a diplomatic mission for the Queen, Lenox welcomes the chance to satisfy an unfulfilled yearning: to travel to America. Arriving in New York, he begins to receive introductions into both its old Knickerbocker society and its new robber baron splendor. Then, a shock: the death of the season's most beautiful debutante, who appears to have thrown herself from a cliff. Or was it murder? Lenox’s reputation has preceded him to the States, and he is summoned to a magnificent Newport mansion to investigate the mysterious death. What ensues is a fiendish game of cat and mouse.
Witty, complex, and tender, An Extravagant Death is Charles Finch's triumphant return to the main storyline of his beloved Charles Lenox series―a devilish mystery, a social drama, and an unforgettable first trip for an Englishman coming to America.
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From the Publisher
|A Beautiful Blue Death||The September Society||The Fleet Street Murders||A Stranger in Mayfair||A Burial at Sea|
|Read all these Charles Lennox Mysteries—these five are a great place to start!||“A fine specimen of the genre.” –The Washington Post||“Intriguing.” –Rhys Bowen, author of Tell Me, Pretty Maiden||“A beguiling Victorian mystery.” –Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review||An absolute delight.” –USA Today||“A rousing nautical adventure.” –Daniel Stashower, AARP|
“The novelty of bringing Lenox to America works well... Using actual historical figures as characters, Finch does justice to the nouveau dazzle of Newport, and writes with Wharton-worthy acuteness about the horse-trading of marriageable young women.” –Airmail
“Witty... Finch sketches the manners of this snooty resort town with a Jane Austen-like precision... graceful prose and keen observations.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Lenox’s latest adventure has humanity, heart, and humor; it offers a captivating glimpse of America’s richest citizens in the late 1800s; it delivers a gripping and cleverly plotted mystery; and, of course, Lenox remains a thoroughly charming lead character. A pleasure to read on every level.” –Booklist (starred review)
"A solid historical mystery that will change its hero’s mind about life and death." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Entertaining... Finch effectively juggles the various plot threads." --Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Last Passenger:
“Smashing...That’s the charm of Finch’s style and [Lenox’s] own manner of sleuthing ― a brilliant display of brainy deduction...classy writing and beguiling details.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Atmospheric.” ―Seattle Times
"No mystery writer except perhaps Anne Perry is as successful as Charles Finch at evoking the atmosphere of Victorian London." ―The Washington Post
“Seriously satisfying.” ―AirMail
“Finch smoothly integrates the era’s politics, fashion, culture and views, including how American issues have infiltrated British society. [He] also cleverly delves into Lenox’s personality, which has fueled this beloved series.” ―Florida Sun-Sentinel
"A well-written mystery that moves quickly...[provides] insight into European politics vis-a-vis the United States just prior to the American Civil War." ―Mystery Scene Magazine
“Finch outdoes himself in the latest Charles Lenox mystery…[he] superbly weaves facts, interesting historical tidbits and emotions in a book so rich one hates to see it end.” ―Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"Finch’s plotting is excellent, his characters well developed, but it is his prose that truly shines. He evokes the writing style of 19th-century English authors―Wilkie Collins jumps to mind―lending a degree of authenticity to the narrative found in comparatively few historical novels. Finch also incorporates then-contemporary international politics, especially the burgeoning abolitionist movement in the U.S., in this exceptional and atmospheric mystery." ―Bookpage
“Avid mystery readers will enjoy Lenox’s thorough review of his sleuthing process…choose this if you revel in atmosphere.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This tightly plotted mystery…is rich in historical detail…[Lenox] coming into his own as a detective is a delight.” ―Booklist
"Finch effectively integrates the politics of the time, including pre–Civil War tensions in America... a clever murder puzzle. Anne Perry and David Dickinson fans will be satisfied." ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
- Publisher : Minotaur Books; 1st edition (February 16, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 125076713X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250767134
- Item Weight : 1.01 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.37 x 1.05 x 9.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #119,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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For me, it was the best one he's done so far - and I've enjoyed all of them. Honestly I found it to be one of the sweetest, yet cruel mysteries I have ever read. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense.
All I can say in that regard is that the villain was truly dastardly. And the hero was a very sympathetic person. And I'm still thinking about the characters today as if they were real - even though I know full well they aren't.
Okay. Actually that's not all I can say about it. There's more...
Another odd thing about it from my perspective: although the detective, Lenox, is a British character - in this novel he goes to America. Basically I'm not that crazy about American historical mysteries - much prefer a British setting. Nor have I ever really been that interested in the fabulously wealthy inhabitants of Newport, Rhode Island in the late 1880's.
And yet I absolutely loved this book. Seriously!
There's more I could say but it seems appropriate to end this by talking about the book's, um, ending. The final few chapters had a haunting, almost wistful effect on me in spite of the fact that the novel had the requisite amount of murder and mayhem.
So I can't really explain why the book affected me this way except it's sort of like sitting down to what looked like fictional oatmeal to me (American historical setting among a bunch of fabulously wealthy snobs) and finding it's the best dessert I've ever eaten.
Yeah, that's about all I can say about it.
But Lenox’s itinerary is interrupted by a summons to Newport, where an elite group of fabulously wealthy Americans spend their summers. A nineteen-year-old society beauty has been found murdered on a beach.
Lenox doesn’t want this problem but finally lets himself be persuaded to investigate. The case exposes him to the over-the-top luxuries and extravagances of the Astors, the Vanderbilts and other privileged people awash in old and new money. Lenox is rich in suspects because beautiful Lily Allingham had dozens of suitors. The investigation turns up a plethora of surprises as well as a few false leads — and Lenox risks his life with his deductions.
The case is intriging, and the portrait of nineteenth-century Newport in season is fascinating. As usual in this series, the author has fun exploring the origins of certain words and phrases (like backlog, shrapnel, and white elephant). I always look forward to these flights of entomology.
It’s true the story starts slowly. But once it gets going, it’s a riveting read.
The characters are like family at this point, their triumphs our own to revel in and their defeats ours to shed a tear over. I adore these books and will be despondent at best when they are no longer being written. The historical notes that are slipped seamlessly into the story are interesting and not out of place or forced. The detail is crisp and well written.
If you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to start the Charles Lenox series. They’re truly wonderful.
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