A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries)
by Charles Finch
Cover Artist: Photo: Lisa Adams
Review by Mel Jacob
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312625061
Date: 09 November 2010 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The fourth Charles Lenox novel by Charles Finch finds Lenox, now a new Member of Parliament, asked by an acquaintance, Ludo Sparling, to solve the murder of a young footman. Torn between his love of detecting and his new duties, Lenox calls upon Lord Dallington, his sometime assistant, to solve the case to the chagrin of Ludo who desires confidentiality.
Recently married to his longtime friend Lady Jane Grey, Lenox struggles to move from his old profession of detecting to fulfilling his duties as a new Member of Parliament. His wife much prefers his parliamentary role and wants him to avoid danger. Once best of friends, they now must adjust to a different life. When their close friends have a child, Lenox wants one too, but Lady Jane isn't so inclined, which adds to the tensions between them.
His former butler, Graham, becomes his personal secretary and a major asset in Lenox's parliamentary career. He understands better than Lenox the intricacies of the political process and does what he can to smooth the way. Despite Lenox's dedication, he finds his new position takes a heavy toll of his energy and some tasks cause boredom.
The lure of the murder draws Lenox despite his best intentions. He works with his protégé, Lord Dallington, to solve the case even when Ludo demands he cease his efforts. Grayson Fowler, the Scotland Yard detective in charge of the case, informs Lenox his help is not welcome and won't provide any information.
Set in late Victorian London, Finch provides plenty of local color. His characters remain true to the period. Lenox shows close attention to detail and a sharp intelligence like Sherlock Holmes. His major blind spot is his lack of understanding of women, especially his wife. It will be interesting to see in what direction Finch takes this series.