Saturday, February 1, 2014
An Old Betrayal by Charles Finch
The seventh volume in Finch's series of Victorian mysteries featuring Charles Lenox.
It is early spring 1875 and Charles Lenox gladly plays hookey from his hectic schedule as a member of Parliament and Junior Lord of the Treasury to oblige an old friend. Lord John Dallington is following in Charles' unconventional footsteps as a private inquiry agent; Lord John is unwell and Charles agrees to meet with a new client on his behalf in the restaurant at Charing Cross Station.
Because of a a series of assumptions that prove to be incorrent, Lenox does not recognize the client until too late, but has an abrupt encounter with a man calling himself Archibald Godwin, whose arrival caused Dallington's mysterious client to flee. A few days later, Lenox and Dallington are summoned by the police when Archibald Godwin is found murdered in a respectable London hotel. But the murdered man in the hotel is not the man Lenox met in the restaurant.
Then the victim's sister arrives and reveals that her brother came to town in pursuit of an imposter who was using his name and credit to commit fraud. It seems that the man Lenox encountered at Charing Cross was actually the imposter, and the police find evidence that seems to suggest this imposter murdered the real Archibald Godwin.
But what is the connection between Archibald Godwin, a quiet country squire, the imposter, and Dallington's erstwhile client, who, Lenox discovers, is one of Queen Victoria's social secretaries at Buckingham Palace. Soon Lenox begins to suspect that this murder is just one part of a much larger and very dangerous conspiracy. Somone has been nursing a grudge for a very long time and is about to take his revenge.