A Beautiful Blue Death is my first Charles Lenox mystery. And all I can say is that I am hungry for more. Fans of British Crime novels are sure to love this gentleman sleuth.
The 1920s may be the golden era of detective fiction. But the Victorian era was certainly not devoid of crime. After reading a few Colin Pendragon mysteries where there is certainly a dark element, Charles Lenox was a pleasant surprise.
Charles Lenox is a middle aged bachelor who lives in London. His household works like clockwork. His childhood friend Lady Jane lives next door. They both have a convenient arrangement where they can meet any time they want. Lady Jane is shocked to find that one of her prior employees, a maid has been found dead. She ropes in Lenox to investigate.
The girl, Prue Smith was working for George Barnard, a powerful rich man. He insists that the girl committed suicide. But Lenox and his Scot doctor friend soon determined that she was poisoned with the exotic bella indigo – hence the name blue death.
Lenox traverses the nooks and crannies of London looking for clues. It is stressed that he does this out of passion or vocation. He does not do it for the money, nor does he need any since he is so comfortably placed. The story moves along at a good pace. There are many suspects, and the character of the girl is not that great since it turns out that there were many men hankering for her. It is worthwhile noting that she is never maligned, though.
Is jealousy the motive, or revenge. Or is it the simplest one, money? Charles ropes in his butler, his brother, Lady Jane and other friends to help him shadow suspects. And as happens in mystery books, the story gets worse before it gets better.
The last 15% or so seemed unnecessary. I am all for closure, but I am not sure why a reader would continue reading after the mystery is solved, just to bask in the pastoral warmth and Christmas cheer of Charles Lenox’s vacation? A certain thread is left hanging, in my opinion. Maybe it will be addressed in future books?
I am all for reading more of Charles Lenox, the gentleman sleuth. A must read for mystery lovers.