Monday, January 26, 2015

A Death in the Smal Hours by Charles Finch

A Death in the Small Hours by Charles Finch --- 310 pages

Charles Lenox, member of Parliament and happily married father of a newborn daughter, still finds himself occasionally hankering in his soul for his former avocation as a notable amateur of criminal detection.

But when Lenox is awarded the signal honor of making the opening speech on behalf of the government at the new session of Parliament --- a sure sign that he is an up-and-coming man in the ruling Liberal Party --- he resolves to use this opportunity to advance the cause of relief for England's poor.

He soon realizes that he will need a few weeks away from the pressures of London in order to prepare this important speech. Lenox seizes on the happy chance of an invitation from his favorite uncle Freddie Ponsonby to bring his family to visit Uncle Freddie's beautiful, secluded rural estate in Somerset.  That Uncle Freddie has appealed to Charles for assistance in solving the vexing case of vandalisms in the nearly village of Plumbley, will provide Lenox with a welcome diversion.

It seems but a minor distraction until a local constable is brutally set upon and murdered in the middle of the village in the small hours of the night. Lenox steps up his investigation, with the assistance of his rakish but gifted protege Lord John Dallington, and they identify the man responsible. Everything seems to be neatly sorted out until Uncle Freddie is kidnapped.  Then Lenox discovers that his simple case is far more complex and dangerous than he at first imagined.

Cleverly plotted and well written, Finch is developing an interesting cast of recurring characters in this series of Victorian mysteries.

Click HERE for a review from Publisher's Weekly.

Click HERE for a review from Kirkus.

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