A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

I picked this book on a whim because I wanted to make sure that I added a book to my 2015 Reading Challenge. This would be the book written by someone with the same initials as me, but it’s also a new author and said authors first (published) book. But I’ll stick with it just being the initials that are important.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I went into it without any knowledge besides the author’s name (I’d done some kind of Wikipedia search to find a list of authors with the right initials…a hah! I retraced my steps:

“List of authors initials” into Google

Took the Wikipedia link: “List of Literary Initials”

Scrolled to the bottom of the page where there is a link to “Lists of Writers”

Decided to go with the “Lists of Novelists”

Decided to go with the “Lists of Novelists by Genre”

I figured “List of Historical Novelists” seemed just as good as any for a place to start

And picked the first “C.F.” to catch my eye. I didn’t bother much with his biography since the ultimate deciding factor was whether my library had any of his books in their system and I was happy enough that it was the first in the series. If they hadn’t had the first in the series, I might have continued my search because if it turned out that I liked the book, I’d be pissed to have read them out of order.

Anyway, let me actually review the book rather than the hunt for the book.

This book was written in 2007, but is set in 1865. For the most part I thoroughly believed in the setting. I was surprised that there was no mention of the American Civil War even in passing. Charles Lenox (the main character) might have no interest in the financial news so he wouldn’t have been amongst the many British businessmen who were watching the war closely to try to foresee it’s effect on their industries, but he was surrounded by those types so he should have heard that angle. But as a self proclaimed Liberal with serious interest in social progress, he should have thought at some point about the huge social upset that was occurring in the Americas, especially since he made numerous remarks about finally(?) visiting the country! But, I can forgive this slip of a newbie writer.

Supposedly Charles Lenox is “equal parts Sherlock Holmes, Gosford Park and P.G. Wodehouse” none of whom I’ve read myself. He does seem a lot like the Sherlock Holmes I’ve encountered in television, so I assume this characterization is correct.

One problem with this book is that it is written with proper and correct grammar. I kept having to reread bits because words were simply not in the order that I expected them to be and it got somewhat confusing especially if I got interrupted. But it was a problem that I sort of enjoyed. I love shows like Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge and when I was able to find the peace to “listen” what I was reading, I happily fell into the story and wanted nothing more than to move into McConnell’s (the M.E. for lack of a proper term) library.

One thing that I absolutely loved about this book is that the story did not end with the solving of the case. I’m going to start judging other books on how well the story rounds itself out! I didn’t realize that for many of the books I’ve read in the past couple of years, once the climax happens I resort to just skimming the last 2 or 3 pages because they have rather formulaic endings, which is unfortunate.

They mystery was well done. I was half surprised by the ultimate reveal because of the actual way and why the murder was carried out (“who done it” was not very surprising for me). Anyway, this was a very good read that I highly recommend.

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