Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2021
Charles Lenox, British private investigator extraordinaire, doesn’t get a murder to solve until page sixty-nine. It takes that long to find out why the prime minister wants Lenox to make himself scarce for a bit, to follow Lenox on his sea voyage to New York, and to hear his first impressions of America.

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.
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4.7 out of 5
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