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An Old Betrayal: A Charles Lenox Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries) Hardcover – November 12, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A simple favor for a friend turns into much more for Charles Lenox in Finch's engaging seventh Victorian mystery featuring the former private investigator turned MP (after 2012's A Death in the Small Hours). While Lenox's political star is on the rise and he's happily married, he welcomes the chance to resume sleuthing when his protégé, Lord John Dallington, is unable, due to a cold, to attend a rendezvous with a prospective client who has sent a cryptic note inviting Dallington to meet at a London restaurant. Lenox fills in, but, uncharacteristically, botches the job, failing to recognize in time the client-to-be, a woman later identified as being connected with Buckingham Palace, who flees the restaurant. The mystery gets progressively more complex, with an impersonation and murder, though it's less clever than Finch's best. Still, the combination of a simpatico lead and old-fashioned detection will appeal to golden age fans. Agents: Kari Stuart and Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Nov.)

From Booklist

While Charles Lenox is making a name for himself as a member of Parliament, thanks in part to his secretary and former butler, Graham, he misses his old life as a detective. So when his former colleague and protégé, John Dallington, is ill and asks his help in meeting a prospective client in distress, Lenox is happy to oblige. The client is a secretary to Queen Victoria, who’s being blackmailed for her less-than-reputable past, and the case turns into one based on long-festering revenge, leading to murder and touching the monarchy itself. Lenox also must look into his wife’s concern that her dear cousin’s husband is straying with a flirtatious young widow, meanwhile considering what to do about malicious rumors besmirching Graham. The seventh in this series proceeds at a leisurely pace suitable to 1875 London, dealing with betrayal in both the case at hand and in parliamentary politics. But Lenox’s instincts as a sleuth are keen and his wit is sharp as he handles adversity in an eminently satisfactory fashion. A fine addition to this impressive series. --Michele Leber
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Product Details

  • Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition, First Printing edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250011612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250011619
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #472,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Finch is the author of seven Charles Lenox mystery novels, including the forthcoming "An Old Betrayal." His first standalone novel, "The Last Enchantments," about a group of students at Oxford University, will be published in January of 2014. Come find out more at facebook.com/charlesfinchauthor or twitter.com/charlesfinch!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charles Finch's "An Old Betrayal" is the seventh in his "Charles Lenox" series of mysteries set in London in the 1870's. I think many of us read series books because we want to see "old friends", whose lives and adventures we've followed for years. I've read most of the Lenox series and I'm basing my review on comparing this latest book to the previous ones and also to other historical mysteries.

Charles Lenox is a Harrow and Oxford graduate who has lately retired from his amateur sleuthing business to take up "real life" as an MP from the northern English area of "Stirrington". He has a wife and toddler daughter and a fair amount of time on his hands as Parliament meets in night sessions. What to do during the day? In "Betrayal", Charles Lexox helps out an old friend who has taken over his business and the two - joined eventually by another sleuth - find themselves involved in a murder case, a case of future thievery, and a missing person/attempted identity theft. Of course, this being a novel, all these cases lead back to the same source. It's up to Lenox and his friends, along with an assist from Scotland Yard, to bring this somewhat complicated case to a final ending. Which they do in grand style.

Writing an historical novel is not an easy task. The author has to immerse himself in the times, learn to think like a contemporaneous person, and be able to pass his knowledge in smooth writing to the reader. Some eras are easier than others to use. I think 1875 is a bit on the difficult side. After all, train travel and the telegraph were in use at this time, but motor cars and telephones were to come later. Electricity in private homes was gaining acceptance but was still not widely available.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's 1875, and Charles Lennox, Member of Parliament, still misses the days when he indulged in the role of private investigator. That job was beneath his social standing, but he loved it. And his powers of acute observation, logical deduction, and his sudden, brilliant flashes of realization made him a standout in that not quite respectable profession.

So when his protégé, young Dallington, calls on him for help on a case, he's more than ready to do him this favor.

In the course of his investigations, Lennox meets with a charming young woman who's being blackmailed. He discusses security issues with Queen Victoria, and he encounters a clever lady detective. In fact, Lennox meets three detectives in this book, whose doings are quite interesting.

I really like the ambience in these books. Lennox puts in long hours, reading blue books, meeting with people who want to influence his vote, listening to dull debates and making speeches of his own. He also has to deal with the internal politics in Parliament.

There are glimpses inside the royal palace, aristocratic dinner parties, and visits to gentlemen's clubs. As Lennox moves around Victorian London, the author indulges in some fun linguistic tidbits, like the Victorian origins of terms like "soup kitchen" and "hogwash." Charles Finch's scholarship is never intrusive, always engaging. This mystery also involves a bit of ancient British history.

The Charles Lennox mysteries unfold at a civilized pace, yet are replete with murder and suspense. I look forward to each new book. If you're following the series, you should enjoy An Old Betrayal. If not, might be best to start at the beginning with A Beautiful Blue Death. Lennox's butler, in particular, is a character whose development throughout the series is intriguing.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An Old Betrayal is the seventh book in Charles Finch's series of Victorian mysteries starring Charles Lenox. The series began with A Beautiful Blue Death in 2007, and the succeeding books have been great fun to read. Set in the 1870's in London, they offer a good feel for life in those days.

Charles Lenox has moved on from his days as an amateur sleuth to become a Member of Parliament. He has a family, is leading a nice comfortable life, and has the time available to get involved in a case with his previous business associate. Future developments lead the two of them into a murder case and identity theft. Scotland Yard gets involved, and the case gets complicated. However, the two manage to resolve things in grand style. They also manage to spend time with Queen Victoria.

Mr. Finch creates excellence ambience in his books. You find yourself drawn back to 19th century London with interesting characters. If you enjoyed his previous books, you will like this one. I would not recommend starting the series with this book. Go back to A Beautiful Blue Death and at least get a feel for the characters. Then work your way through the series. I suspect you will enjoy the journey.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Here they are, old friends again -amateur detective Charles Lenox, now member of Parliament, and his lovely wife Lady Jane; their good friends Toto and Thomas; Charles's former servant and now his political secretary, the hard working, perspicacious Graham; the former roué, now detective Lord Dallington; even Inspector Jenkins of Scotland Yard. They're all here, settled in a few more years but appealing as ever. Charles and Jane have a baby now, two-year-old Sophia. Charles is a bit embarrassed how much of his time he wants to spend with her. ("After a lifetime of polite boredom when confronted with children, he had finally found one whose companionship seemed a delight.") Charles is rising in statute in Parliament. He's a junior Lord of the Treasury, but not always sure it's worth it. It's important work but he misses detecting.

His blood rises when his former protégé Dallington asks Charles to take his place at a meeting with a mysterious client. He needs to be in a certain place at a certain time; there's a forty-five minute window of time to meet. The client hasn't given Dallington his name, only how to recognize him -look for the person carrying a black and white striped umbrella. Charles goes to the rendezvous. Things turn belly up. From then on, it's catch-up, all carried out in the interstices of Charles's increasingly busy parliamentary schedule -a critically important Factory Act is on the floor, which , if passed, will protect children and women from abuse.

The main story line of this period thriller, set in London, 1875, is twisty -a little too twisty at points but that's common for Finch's enjoyable but not always plausible mystery stories.
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