Finch, Charles 1982(?)-
Finch, Charles 1982(?)-
A Beautiful Blue Death (novel), St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.
Not long after earning his master's degree in Renaissance English literature, Charles Finch published his first novel, A Beautiful Blue Death (2007), a story the author refers to as a Victorian mystery. The main character of this novel is Charles Lenox, a wealthy man living in nineteenth-century England. Lenox is a man who enjoys acting as an amateur sleuth, and he finds himself being called from time to time to help unravel some of the more complicated crimes in London. He has assisted famed Scotland Yard detectives but does not always agree with their procedures or their findings. As it turns out, the same is true in this new case.
Snow falls outside his home, and Lenox is reluctant to leave the warmth of his library when Lady Jane Grey, an acquaintance from Lenox's childhood, sends him a message. Lady Grey's former maid, Prudence Smith, has been found dead at her new place of employment. Since Prudence has left a note, it has been presumed by Scotland Yard that she has committed suicide. But Lady Grey is suspicious. After running his own investigation, so, too, is Lenox. One of the first things that makes this supposed suicide doubtful is the same object that made the Scotland Yard detectives declare the death a suicide—the note. Prudence, Lenox learns, was illiterate. Both Scotland Yard and Prudence's new employer, George Barnard, attempt to block further investigation, but Lenox perseveres and brings in Graham, his butler, to help him.
Finch's first novel has generated impressive reviews, such as the one written by Kevin Allman for the Washington Post Book World. Allman stated that A Beautiful Blue Death "breaks no ground in the venerable Victorian mystery tradition," but he nevertheless dubbed Finch's novel "a fine specimen of the genre." Harriet Klausner, writing in the Midwest Book Review, called the plot "cleverly designed" and described Lenox as "a reluctant debonair hero whose preference is to be a couch potato rather than a field detective." Although a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews was not particularly stirred by Lenox's first mystery, this reviewer did find that the story was "enlivened" by its "bits of London history." Furthermore, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly stated that Lenox created a complicated solution "intricate enough to fool most readers." This same critic concluded the review with the hope that A Beautiful Blue Death would be only Lenox's "first in a series" of other mystery novels.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of A Beautiful Blue Death.
Midwest Book Review, July, 2007, Harriet Klausner, review of A Beautiful Blue Death, p. 35.
Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of A Beautiful Blue Death, p. 35.
Washington Post Book World, October 21, 2007, Kevin Allman, "In a Batch of First Novels, Practitioners in Other Fields Focus on Criminal Conduct," review of A Beautiful Blue Death, p. BW11.
Armchair Interviews,http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/ (January 29, 2008), review of A Beautiful Blue Death.
Charles Finch Home Page,http://charles-finch.com (January 29, 2008).
I Love a Mystery Newsletter,http://www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com/ (January 29, 2008), Carol Howell, review of A Beautiful Blue Death.
New Mystery Reader,http://www.newmysteryreader.com/ (January 29, 2008), Anne K. Edwards, review of A Beautiful Blue Death.