Set in 1878, Finch’s entertaining 14th mystery featuring Charles Lenox (after 2020’s The Last Passenger) finds Lenox, “probably the preeminent detective in all of England, professional or amateur,” dealing with the consequences of his exposure of three Scotland Yard chief inspectors being behind an armed robbery and numerous other crimes. The scandal imperils Benjamin Disraeli’s government, and the politician implores Lenox to travel to the U.S. during the trial and allow his testimony to be provided in written form to minimize press sensationalism. Lenox reluctantly agrees, but demands full access to the file on the case of Harold Wallace, who was stabbed to death in his home a few blocks away from Lenox’s own London residence. Lenox has doubts that the man charged with the crime, Wallace’s butler, is guilty. Upon the investigator’s arrival in the States, his skills are called upon by William Stuyvesant Schemerhorn IV of Newport, R.I., after an 18-year-old girl, whom his son had been courting, was found dead on a beach, apparently from a head wound. Finch effectively juggles the various plot threads. This is one of the series’ better recent entries. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Book Group. (Feb.)
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 authorsWilkie Collins jumps to mindlending 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
In Armstrong's A Stranger in Town, Det. Casey Duncan learns that off-the-grid Rockton may be cashiered (50,000-copy first printing). Award-winning YA fiction author Cosimano's first adult novel, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, features a struggling suspense writer mistaken as a serial killer (100,000-copy first printing). In Finch's An Extravagant Death, Victorian-era sleuth Sir Charles Lennox takes his first trip to America (100,000-copy first printing). In Harper's The Survivors, Kieran Elliot returns to his coastal hometown and relives a childhood tragedy (125,000-copy first printing). Harrod-Eagles's Cruel as the Grave has Bill Slider doubting that a fitness trainer was killed by his girlfriend. Ide's Smoke marks the return of Isaiah Quintabe, the Sherlock Holmes of South Central Los Angeles. Mosley's Blood Grove puts popular protagonist Easy Rawlins front and center again (40,000-copy first printing). In Robb's Faithless in Death, Lt. Eve Dallas wonders if an angry lover really did kill sculptor Ariel Byrd (750,000-copy first printing). Todd's A Fatal Lie, Inspector Ian Rutledge seeks the identity of a stranger who tumbled from a Welsh aqueduct. Westerson's Spiteful Bones has Crispin Guest, London's famed Tracker, untangle the mystery around a bound skeleton found in a manor wall.
In 1878, a famous detective is encouraged to leave England for the good of the government.
After former MP Charles Lenox uncovers corruption at Scotland Yard, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli asks him to leave the country so he'll be able to give written testimony rather than testify in open court, which would surely embarrass some important people, throwing in a knighthood to sweeten the deal. Lenox’s well-connected wife, Lady Jane, has recently given birth to their second child, and, unimpressed by honors, he’s loath to leave home. But acting on his wife’s advice, he sets off for New York, where he meets snobbish members of established families and nouveaux riches, all ruled over by Caroline Astor. Theodore Blaine, the scion of an immensely wealthy family with a desire to emulate Lenox as a detective, accompanies him on a trip to Boston that’s cut short by a request from William Stuyvesant Schermerhorn, who invites Lenox to Newport to solve a murder. At length he’s persuaded to take up the case of Lily Allingham, the season’s reigning beauty, who’s been found dead on the beach below the magnificent so-called cottages of the wealthy. The suspects are all of the highest pedigree. Lily was at the point of deciding between two well-heeled suitors, Schermerhorn’s son and one of the Vanderbilts. Lady Jane’s contacts allow him entree into the highest echelons of Newport society, including an invitation to Caroline Astor’s exclusive ball, where money and power may shield a murderer from justice.
A solid historical mystery that will change its hero’s mind about life and death.