Home by Nightfall

After a brief career in Parliament, gentleman sleuth Charles Lenox is finally enjoying some prosperity as a partner in his own detective agency. When a German pianist disappears after a spectacular performance at a London concert hall, Lenox and his two partners hope to convince Scotland Yard to call them in on the case. But before they can begin investigating, Lenox is called away to spend a few days at his childhood home in Sussex with his recently widowed brother, Edmund.

In his ninth Charles Lenox novel, Home by Nightfall, Charles Finch (The Laws of Murder) again paints a richly detailed portrait of daily life and crime solving in 1870s England. While keeping up with the case in London, the Lenox brothers find themselves drawn into a puzzling series of events in the village of Markethouse: a break-in, an eerie drawing chalked on a doorstep, a spurious telegram. Lenox welcomes the case as both an intellectual challenge and a means to distract Edmund from his grief, but the clues refuse to add up. When the village's mayor is viciously attacked, the brothers must solve the case before the assassin strikes again. Meanwhile, Lenox's agency partners are worried someone is trying to undercut their business from the inside.

As ever, Lenox is a thoughtful, honorable man, quietly determined to bring about justice for the victims of crime. Although both cases have rather unconventional endings, Home by Nightfall is a satisfying and well-plotted entry in Lenox's--and Finch's--detective career. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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