A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death

by Charles Finch

On any given day in London, all Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, wants to do is relax in his private study with a cup of tea, a roaring fire and a good book. But when his lifelong friend Lady Jane asks for his help, Lenox

What People Think about "A Beautiful Blue Death"

This time I am making the exception because I hope to spare someone, who has similar tastes to mine, the pain of reading this book. I looked at the reviews of this book on Amazon and on GoodReads before I chose to read it, they are overwhelmingly favorable. Let me tell you how I generally read a book. I do not read a book like I chew gum, mindlessly. Charles Lennox is a dear friend to Lady Jane Grey. Lennox has some experience in discreet investigative work and offers to look into the matter for her. Yet later tells the butler "No, no, just take the money on my dresser before you go out." Lennox follows a suspect to his club. Lennox gives a second apothecary two pounds and a note from a first apothecary. That seems like a very generous payment to the apothecary for being cooperative and assisting Lennox with his investigation. The last straw for me was when Lennox began contemplating his carriage driver's feeling of dislike for all of the traveling to lower-class sections of London.

The title, however, is pedantically explained away very quickly in the book and that is pretty much how the rest of the writing runs as well. Repetition and a strong case of the Captain Obvious is obvious make up the dominant style here: the first chapter is spent largely on explaining how Our Hero Lenox has just come home and its cold and he doesnt want to go out again. One character, McConnell, whom Lenox brings in for medical advice, is a drunken failure. There is one sentence that stood out for me as a great example of why I just didnt enjoy this book: You could have knocked Lenox over with a feather. These boys and their cryptic private codes There are two threads running, quite annoyingly, through the whole blessed book: Lenox has bad boots which leave his feet cold and wet, and every meal or snack or beverage he partakes of is detailed. (Not even lovingly detailed just detailed.) It goes back to the feeling that this is a childrens book: and then Charles had four pieces of toast! I find it a bit of a stretch to believe that this drunken failure of what used to be a good doctor (remember him?) could take a five-minute look at the corpse and pronounce it death by bella indigo, repeatedly stressed to be a rare and expensive poison. They may be just fine; they may be down to Lenoxs odd character (or Finchs attempt to be unique); it all just felt very off. Example: Lady Jane promises Lenox the first dance at some shindig, and then partners someone else. Example: People drink a great deal of water in the book, which may be just fine, but maybe I was thinking of medieval London, when to drink water was to court some brand of dysentery. And one more: Lenox belongs to multiple clubs. That was kind of the point of a club, I thought to belong, for there to be a sort of pied-à-terre or comfortable place away from home. Not eight, mind you, but I was at least partly wrong about the one.) Next door to Lenox lives his best friend, called Lady Jane, who brings him into the case. Now, naturally, a relationship such as Lenox and Jane have could easily be seen as inappropriate, i.e. sexual but its okay! Another special relationship for Lenox is that with his butler, the aforementioned Graham. In other reviews folks noted that Lenox is supposed to echo Lord Peter in some ways, and I have to say I feel that that is pretty silly. The bond between Bunter and Peter was built over the course of the whole series of books, with a revelation of their past here and a present-day moment there, and it was beautiful. Graham is no Bunter, and I cant believe the universe even allows me to put Lenox and Lord Peter in the same sentence. The single solitary real Lord-Peter-esque thing about him is that hes the younger son of a peer who investigates crimes as a whim. The way Lenox treats his books did not endear him to me. Lenox tries it a couple of times, and just annoys people.

That's what servants are for) I really wasn't much count (I really wasn't very good at it) I'll go see him (I'll go and see him) Came by the house (called) Say... Why set a book in Victorian England if you're not going to write in the idiom of the country and period you've chosen? And if he replaced them, they would be leather-soled, not cork (Trollope wrote a whole comedy episode about Lady Glencora buying cork-soled shoes - just not good enough quality for the aristocracy!) So much just didn't ring true.

For some reason this book didn't grab me the way I expected.

The main character is opposite day Sherlock Holmes. I really wanted him to reach a terrible end, but since this is the first book in a 11 book series, there was not much hope of that. Hence the name "A Beautiful Blue Death." Lenox really is just a boring type of Sherlock Holmes. I have never read so many boring descriptions about what a character was doing in one book before. Everyone in this book is a version of a character in a Sherlock Holmes novel. Once we find out the guilty party it's like another 50-70 pages before the book ends.

Its charm makes me feel all squooshy inside. (Still getting used to the decimal star system.) I think the mystery was nicely handled, and I think the period details were very well sprinkled in the book.

Im just a little bit in love with Charles Lenox, the hero of Charles Finchs charming debut Victorian mystery.

All in all the sense of time in the book is very successful, Finch has obviously done his research into the Victorian era.

I also write book reviews for the New York Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune and essays in many different places. A bit about myself: I was born in New York City, and since then I've lived all over the place, in America, England, France...at the moment I'm in Chicago, where I just recently moved.