Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Beautiful Blue Death - Historical Review Mystery

Rating: Very Good
Source: Purchased

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 cannot resist another chance to unravel a mystery, even if it means trudging through the snow to her townhouse next door.
One of Jane's former servants, Prudence Smith, is dead -- an apparent suicide. But Lenox suspects something far more sinister: murder, by a rare and deadly poison. The house where the girl worked is full of suspects, and though Prudence dabbled with the hearts of more than a few men, Lenox is baffled by an elusive lack of motive in the girl's death.
When another body turns up during the London season's most fashionable ball, Lenox must untangle a web of loyalties and animosities. Was it jealousy that killed Prudence? Or was it something else entirely, something that Lenox alone can uncover before the killer strikes again -- disturbingly close to home?

Genre:  Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:
  I love classic style British mysteries and this series has been being recommended to me for years!

My Impression: 
This book has been on my TBR for years.  In fact I've had this particular book sitting on my shelf since at least pre-blogging times.  I'm kind of kicking myself for taking so long because I absolutely loved it.  It has the clean precise (and rather bloodless) murder mysteries of the classic mystery authors like Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers but with modern pacing.

Charles Lennox is the primary character with fantastic support from his neighbor and long time friend Lady Jane, his butler Graham, his doctor friend Thomas McConnell, and his brother Edmund.  The mystery starts out fairly simple.  A maidservant, who was formerly employed by Lady Jane, has died in what is originally believed to be suicide.  Lady Jane is not satisfied with this and neither she nor Charles are particularly fond of the maid's employer.  The mystery quickly becomes more puzzling and more intense and less and less begin to make sense until Charles manages to get everything sorted out.

I loved Charles.  His fastidious reminded me just a little of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey though I think Charles is kinder and more compassionate.  I also loved his distaste for cold, his desire for warm boots in the snow, and his reluctance to leave his warm dry house with its roaring fire on a cold dreary night.  I loved the ensemble cast feel as the mystery developed and that while Charles was clearly in charge he valued the input of those around him.

This was a delightful mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Now I need to go find book #2!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?
  Yes!  I'm already looking forward to reading more about Charles Lennox

Would I Recommend this Book?
  If you love classic mysteries than this series is a must read.


  1. There are a couple of our mystery group members that really like this series. Glad it worked well for you. :-)

  2. This one has been on my list for a while. I need to read more classic mysteries!

  3. Charles sounds great and I like his likes! Its good that after all these years of sitting on your shelf it turned otu to be a very good read.

  4. Soon after Christmas, Japanese people start preparing for the year-end and New Year’s events.
    Compared to Christmas, many of these events are based on Japanese tradition and are deeply related to religion.
    The end-of-year party is called “bonenkai” in Japanese. “Bonen” means to forget (the worries of) the past year.
    People are busy with events on New Year’s Eve.

  5. Yay! I'm glad you liked this one. I read it some time ago but remembered I had enjoyed it.