The Woman in the Water

Charles Finch (Home by Nightfall) spins a thoroughly engaging origin story for his likable detective in his 11th Charles Lenox mystery, The Woman in the Water. After graduating from Oxford University, Lenox is eager to launch his career as a private detective. But his chosen profession is nearly unheard of in Victorian London, especially for a gentleman with no need or desire to earn a salary. He nevertheless keeps a close eye on the newspapers, clipping crime reports and other items of interest. When he and his valet, Graham, discover an anonymous letter in the Challenger related to a recent murder, Lenox may have his first big case.

Readers of Lenox's other adventures will recognize the detective as well as many supporting characters: Lenox's brother Edmund, his parents and most notably Graham, whose quiet intelligence and resourcefulness know no bounds. Lenox and Graham must navigate a snarl of misleading clues in a baffling murder case and a web of tangled politics at Scotland Yard, where Lenox's pedigree opens a few doors and threatens to slam others shut. As the killer of the titular woman commits a second murder and hints at a third, Lenox races against the clock and faces some difficult family news. Finch deftly weaves Lenox's personal and professional lives, plus an engaging subplot featuring an unrelated case for Lenox to solve. Like his clients, Lenox fans (and devotees of cleverly plotted historical mysteries) are sure to walk away satisfied. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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