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The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Series #3)

The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Series #3)

4.0 58
by Charles Finch, James Langton (Narrated by)

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Called "absorbing" (Publishers Weekly) and "beguiling" (The New York Times Book Review), The Fleet Street Murders finds gentleman detective Charles Lenox investigating the mysterious, simultaneous deaths of two veteran newspapermen, while engaged in a heated race for Parliament.


Called "absorbing" (Publishers Weekly) and "beguiling" (The New York Times Book Review), The Fleet Street Murders finds gentleman detective Charles Lenox investigating the mysterious, simultaneous deaths of two veteran newspapermen, while engaged in a heated race for Parliament.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It is Christmas 1866, and gentleman sleuth Charles Lenox (The September Society; A Beautiful Blue Death) is waging a political campaign for a seat in Parliament. Meanwhile, his fiancée, Lady Jane, wants to postpone their wedding, and then there is the matter of the murders of two journalists and an investigation run amok in the hands of Scotland Yard. VERDICT Unfortunately, the mystery gets buried beneath too many scenes covering Lenox's political aspirations and his interaction with his would-be constituents. However, fans who have fallen under the spell of Finch's storytelling skills will still enjoy this third Victorian series entry. Anne Perry readers may also want to discover Finch.
From the Publisher
"With its vivid evocation of Victorian England and an appealing protagonist, this is a worthy addition to a fine series of historical whodunits." ---Booklist

Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Charles Lenox Series , #3
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

chapter one

Lenox woke up with a morning head, and as soon as he could bear to open his eyes, he gulped half the cup of coffee that his valet, butler, and trusted friend, Graham, had produced at Lenox’s fi rst stirring. “What are Edmund and Molly doing?” he asked Graham. “Lady Lenox and her sons have gone to the park, sir. It’s a fi ne morning.”

“Depends what you mean by fine,” said Lenox. He looked at his window and winced from the sun. “It seems awfully bright. My brother’s in as much pain as I am, I hope?”

“I fear so, sir.”

“Well, there is justice in the world, then,” Lenox reflected.

“Would you like me to close your curtains, sir?”

“Thanks, yes. And can you bring me some food, for the love of all that’s good?” “It should arrive momentarily, sir. Mary will be bringing it.” “Cheers, Graham. Happy Boxing Day.” “Thank you, sir. Happy Boxing Day, Mr. Lenox.” “The staff got their presents?”

“Yes, sir. They were most gratified. Ellie in particu lar expressed her thanks for the set of—”

“Well, there’s a present for you in the wardrobe if you care to fetch it,” said Lenox.


“I would do it myself, but I doubt I could lift a fork in my present state.”

Graham went to the wardrobe and found the broad, thin parcel, wrapped in plain brown paper and tied with brown rope.

“Thank you, sir,” he said.

“By all means.”

Graham carefully untied the rope and set about unwrapping the paper.

“Oh, just tear it,” said Lenox irritably.

Nevertheless, Graham stubbornly and methodically continued at the same pace. At last he uncovered the present. It was a broad charcoal drawing of Moscow, which he and Lenox had once visited. Both of them looked back on it as the adventure of their lives.

“I hardly know how to thank you,” said Graham, tilting it toward the light. He was a man with sandy hair and an earnest, honest mien, but now a rare smile dawned on his face.

“I had it commissioned—from one of those sketches you drew us, you know.”

“But far surpassing it in size and skill, sir.”

“Well—size anyway.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Graham.

“Well, go on, find out about breakfast, won’t you? If I waste away and die you’ll be out of a job,” said Lenox. “The papers, too.”

“Of course, sir.”

“And Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Lenox.”

Soon breakfast came, and with it a stack of several newspapers. These Lenox ignored until he had eaten a few bites of egg and bacon and finished a second cup of coffee. Feeling more human, he glanced at the Times and then, seeing its subdued but intriguing headline, flipped through the rest of the stack. The more populist papers positively screamed the news. Two of the giants of Fleet Street were dead, their last breaths exhaled within minutes of each other, according to household members and confirmed by doctors. Both the victims of murder.

Lenox picked up one of the papers at random. It happened to be the cheapest of the weekly Sunday papers, the threepenny News of the Day, a purveyor of shocking crime news and scurrilous society rumor, which had come into existence a few decades before and instantly vaulted to popularity among the London multitudes. Most men of Lenox’s class would have considered it a degradation to even touch the cheap newsprint the News came on, but it was the detective’s bread and butter. He had often found stories in the News of the Day that no other paper printed, about domestic skirmishes in Cheapside, anonymous dark-skinned corpses down among the docks, strange maladies that spread through the slums. The paper had recently played a crucial role in reporting the case of James Barry. A famous surgeon who had performed the first successful cesarean section in all of Africa, he had died—and after his death was discovered to have in fact been, of all things, a woman. Margaret Ann, by birth. It had been for a time the story on every pair of lips in London and was still often spoken of.

shock christmas murder of fleet street duo, the headline on the front page shouted. Eagerly, Lenox read the article.

The shock murder of two of London journalism’s finest practitioners has shocked London this morning. “Winsome” Winston Carruthers, London editor of the Daily Telegraph, and the catholic Simon Pierce of the Daily News died within minutes of each other on christmas night. An unknown assailant shot Pierce in the heart at Pierce’s South London home, waking his entire house hold and throwing his wife into fits of hysteria, at approximately 1:07 a.m. this morning. No witnesses have contacted the Metropolitan Police: come forth if you saw anything, readers.

Not five minutes before, according to police reports, scarcely an hour into Boxing Day, Winston Carruthers was stabbed in his Oxford Street apartments. Police found Carruthers still warm after a resident of Oxford Street reported seeing a tall, disguised man climbing down a rope ladder!

Exclusively, the notd has learned that Carruthers’s landlady and housekeeper, a Belgian woman, was on the scene and cooperated with the police officers—only to vanish this morning, leaving her apartments and their contents behind save for several small bags. Her two children left with her. Word has been sent to the ports of England with a description of the housekeeper. She is fat, with a prominent nose and a shriveled left hand. if you see her, readers, contact the police, or the notd’s editorial offi ces.

According to inspector exeter, reliable and much decorated officer of Scotland Yard, the housekeeper (name withheld at our discretion) is not a suspect: At the same brief moments of the murder and the murderer’s absconding, she was witnessed by a few dozen people along Oxford Street visiting a local alehouse. however, readers, she may still be an accomplice to murder! If you see her, contact the police.

carruthers, forty-nine, was a native of our fair city, a childless bachelor who leaves behind a sister in Surrey. pierce, fifty-four, leaves behind a wife, bess, and a daughter, eliza, who is stationed with her husband in bombay. The news sends its sympathy to all of the bereaved.

added for second printing: inspector exeter has already cracked the case, according to a reliable source, and found a definite link between the two men besides their

profession. watch this space for more.

Below this piece of sensationalism were two lengthier profiles of the men. Turning to the other papers, Lenox found much the same stories, with minor variances of biography. A shooting and a stabbing, five minutes apart. He wondered what the “definite link” between Carruthers and Pierce might be. Straightaway he thought it must be some story they had both covered. Perhaps he would try through covert means to discover what it was. A fascinating case, certainly—but did he have time to try to help solve it?

It was a busy period in Lenox’s life. Recently he had solved one of his most difficult cases, a murder in Oxford, and been shot for his efforts. Only grazed, but still. After a long life of solitude, too, he was engaged to be married. Most pressing of all, soon he was to participate in a by-election for Parliament in Stirrington, near the city of Durham. His brother and several other Members of the Liberal Party had approached him to ask him to run. Though he loved his work as a detective and bravely embraced the low esteem in which the members of his class held his profession, to be in Parliament was the dream of his lifetime.

Still—these murders would be the great story of the day, and Lenox felt a longing to be involved in their solution. One of his few friends at Scotland Yard was a bright young inspector named Jenkins, and to him Lenox wrote a short query, entrusting it to Mary’s care when the maid came to fetch the remains of his breakfast. He felt better for having eaten. A third cup of coffee sat on his bedside table, and he reached for it.

Just then Edmund knocked on the door and came in. He looked green around the gills.

“Hullo, brother,” said Charles. “Feeling badly?”


“Did eating help?”

“Don’t even mention food, I beg of you,” said Edmund. “I would rather face Attila the Hun than a plate of toast.”

Charles laughed. “I’m sorry to hear it.”

“Molly had the heart to take the boys out earlier. Not even a word of reproach. What a treasure she is.” A sentimental look came into Edmund’s eyes.

“Do you have meetings today?”

“Not until fi ve o’clock or so. The Prime Minister has remained in town.”

“You said last night.”

“I need to sharpen up before then, to be sure. Perhaps I’ll go back to sleep.”

“The wisest course,” Charles assured him.

“Then I’ll have a bath and try to put myself into some decent shape. At the moment I feel like the offspring of a human being and a puddle on the fl oor.”

“Have you seen the papers, by the way?”

“What happened?”

“Two journalists were murdered last night—opposite sides of town within just a few minutes of each other.”

“Oh yes? Well, you’ve other things to concentrate on at the moment.”

“I do, I know,” said Charles rather glumly. “I wrote Jenkins, though.”

Edmund stopped pacing, and his face took on a stern aspect. “Many people are counting on you, Charles,” he said. “Not to mention your country.”


“You should spend this month before you go up to Stirrington meeting with politicians, granting interviews, strategizing with James Hilary.” Hilary was a bright young star in the firmament of Liberal politics and a friend of Charles’s, one of those who had entreated him to stand for Parliament. “This time can be quite as productive as any you spend in Durham.”

“I thought you were sick.”

“This is crucial, Charles.”

“You never did any of that,” the younger brother answered.

“Father had my seat. And his father. And his father. World without end.” “I know, I know. I simply feel irresponsible if I stay out of things, I suppose. My meddling ways.” “Just think of all the good we’ll do when you’re in the House,”

said Edmund. “Especially if we don’t stay up late drinking.” Edmund sighed. “Yes. Especially then, I grant you.” “See you downstairs.” “Don’t let them wake me up before I’m ready.” “I won’t. Unless it’s nearing fi ve.” “Cheers,” said Edmund and left the room.

Excerpted from the Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch.

Copyright © 2009 by Charles Finch.

Published in November 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and

reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in

any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Charles Finch is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the acclaimed Charles Lenox mystery series.

James Langton trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks. James was born in York, England, and is now based in New York City.

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The Fleet Street Murders (Charles Lenox Series #3) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
bookscoutDR More than 1 year ago
It isn't often that a mystery brings a tear to my eye, but this one did. Charles Finch's detective, Charles Lennox, has always admired his brother's dedication to his Parliamentary duties. Charles now, too, has an opportunity to run for a seat. It's far from a sure thing, and when he's asked to investigate a murder, he's torn between his profession and his avocation. The books are more than mysteries: what made the book especially touching for me is the brothers' relationship. Their mutual respect and support for each other is moving. But the book also shows us something of where their morality comes from: parents who were loving and dutiful as well. The relationship of Jane and Charles doesn't avoid hard questions of whether a longtime friendship can be the basis for a marriage or whether they are risking the friendship by marrying. And Jane expresses the fears every Victorian woman must have had about childbirth. So the book is firmly rooted in the period. I highly recommend the entire series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this adventure with Victorian gentleman Charles Lenox the reader is taken on a journey through the toils of running for office, the pull of friendship, and the fine balance of love. The reader watches the development of the characters from the first two books in the series as they suffer some grave losses in this book, some quite personal in nature. While running for office, Lenox is simultaneously trying to solve a double homicide and maintain the love of his fiance -- all from a distance! The story is written with intelligence and emotional understanding. Each section of the story is well developed and not rushed, leaving the reader guessing until the end. This book would be enjoyed by men and women alike.
Noticer More than 1 year ago
Enjoy this author as he doesn't use sex the way most authors do and like the twists and turns through his novels. Would recommend this book to anyone interested in mysteries and especially those who have read his two earlier books.
MD53 More than 1 year ago
I stumbled on this series and can't get enough of them and can't read them fast enough. The period is very authentic and the author keeps you turning pages. I'm really enjoying Charles Finch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Charles Lenox series. The books won't be mistaken for serious literature, but they do make for good, light reading - summer type fare. A pair of journalists are murdered almost simultaneously, but in very different manner. At the same time, Charles Lenox has been encouraged to run for an open seat in Parliment in a northern town far from London. His loyalties are mixed. He very much wants to do well in the election, a task which requires that he be present in the local district, and, at the same time, have a hand in investigating the two murders. Like other Charles Lenox mysteries, you do learn something about Victorian England, in this case, mainly about how elections were conducted and won in times past. Lenox and his butler are somewhat reminiscent of Wooster and Jeeves (although Lenox is more accomplished than Wooster). All in all, a fun read.
Asphyxiate More than 1 year ago
I've read the whole series thus far and do very much enjoy Mr. Finch's books. In my opinion they aren't especially original or profound but they are light-hearted and entertaining. I also enjoy the writing style and the author does paint a good picture without being redundant. To be honest, I'm usually way more interested in the main characters personal lives rather than the crime Lenox is solving. It reminds me a bit of Sherlock Holmes and Watson sometimes but in a good way. :) Looking forward to the next installment.
SHG-4913 More than 1 year ago
Well written and stylish mystery. Characters are very engaging and would personally like to meet and have tea or a pint with each of them (if it was not fiction and they lived in this century). I have read Charles Finch's other books in the series and loved each of them. Cannot wait for the 4th book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Amateur sleuth (Now called private investigators) Charles Lennox is busy and torn in different directions. Two men in London of 1866 are killed minutes apart. Winston Caruthers, writer and editor of the conservative Daily Telegraph and Simon Pierce who worked for the liberal Daily News are the victims. Besides working for newspapers, the only other thing they had in common is each testified against Jonathan Poole, a traitor to England. Inspector Exeter believes Hiram Smith killed them, but he dies in his jail cell in what looks like a suicide. Exeter arrests Poole's son, but there are people close to the case who believe the inspector has the wrong man in custody again. They ask Charles to look into the matter, but he has no time to take on the complex homicides because he is running for Minster of Parliament from Stirrington. His opponent uses dirty tricks to win by a hundred votes so Charles turns back to the case and begins to put the puzzle pieces together until he believes he knows who the culprit is, but lacks proof. Trying to catch evidence against a diabolical killer puts Charles in harms way with the distinct potential of being the next investigation for Exeter to bungle. Charles Finch writes about the birth of Scotland Yard and how the police there change their methodology to meet their mandate. Amateur sleuths, the forerunners of private investigators, used whatever was available in mid nineteenth century London to solve cases. Charles is one of them, but works closely with Scotland Yard to bring down the shadowy puppeteer pulling everyone's strings. This is an entertaining Victorian mystery as the audience and Mr. Lennox try to solve who is behind the homicides and why. Fans will want to read Charles' previous investigations (see A BEAUTIFUL BLUE DEATH and SEPTEMBER SOCIETY).
TexasGrandmaKK More than 1 year ago
This book was exciting in that Charles Finch kept your interest throughout in the search for the killer. The twists and turns were good. Charles Lenox's sideline story of the Parliament election brought much insight into village life of the time. Great read!
Briannook OReilly More than 1 year ago
Very slow moving for the first 150 pages, all devoted to Lennox standing for Parliament in a faraway town. A lot of pages devoted to the marital difficulties of Lennox's friends, too, which did not advance the plot. And laughable lines lifted from Sherlock Holmes, such as "we haven't a moment to lose." Overall, amateurish writing.
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