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A Burial at Sea (Charles Lenox Mysteries) Hardcover – November 8, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"A rousing nautical adventure ... Finch’s descriptions of life at sea are so fascinating it’s a shame Lenox must bring this case to an end."
-- The New York Times
"Agatha Christie meets Patrick O’Brian in Finch’s accomplished fifth whodunit set in Victorian England ... the best in the series to date."
-- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"An agreeable spin on the classic locked-room mystery yarn; it’s Murder on the Orient Express as reimagined by Patrick O’Brian."
-- Daniel Stashower, AARP
"The murder mystery that Finch weaves keeps readers guessing...an intriguing read on several levels."
-- The Seattle Times

About the Author

Charles Finch is a graduate of Yale and Oxford. He is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Fleet Street Murders, The September Society and A Stranger in Mayfair. His first novel, A Beautiful Blue Death, was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2007, one of only five mystery novels on the list. He lives in Oxford, England.

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Product Details

  • Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312625081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312625085
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,558 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

Fun characters and interesting stories.
L. Walker
The story takes place largely at sea and Finch's account of life on a nineteenth century British warship is both interesting and, I think, realistic.
Hal Jordan
This the second book I have read in the Charles Lenox Victorian-set mystery series written by Charles Finch.
Ms Winston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've read all the Charles Lenox novels, and they continue to be fresh and surprising. This one, fifth in the series, has all the charm of a sea adventure and a Victorian mystery.

In earlier books Lenox was an aristocratic amateur detective. Now at age forty-two, he's a solid Member of Parliament on a sensitive mission to Egypt. He has many reasons to stay alive - a beloved pregnant wife and a promising career among them - but staying alive won't be easy for Lenox in the next two months.

Lenox sails on the Lucy, a naval vessel that seems particularly happy and efficient. The brutal murder of an amiable young officer puts an end to this idyllic picture.

Lenox starts an investigation at the captain's request. His detecting skills are rusty, but he still feels the thrill of the hunt. The ship, being an isolated world unto itself, neatly contains all his suspects. Unfortunately there are hundreds of seamen and dozens of officers on board, none of them the least bit suspicious. Read on to become thoroughly perplexed along with Lenox!

There are several wonderful characters. My favorite is McEwan, the steward who becomes Lenox's personal servant on the ship. An enormous fellow constantly munching on something, McEwan is terribly concerned to keep Lenox lavishly fed and awash in tea and alcohol.

The plot has multiple climaxes - and one rousing scene that brought tears to my eyes. I never for a moment guessed the identity of the murderer. Charles Finch is good at keeping the reader guessing. He also shows flashes of a very Victorian sense of humor.

You can read this novel with pleasure independent of the series. But I'd suggest reading all the books in order: A Beautiful Blue Death, The September Society, The Fleet Street Murders, A Stranger in Mayfair and finally, perhaps most enjoyably, A Burial at Sea.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jane Doe on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have read all the books in the Charles Lenox Mysteries series and have thoroughly enjoyed them. This most recent book is a bit of a departure from the others, in that it takes place on the high seas, as Charles travels to Egypt on behalf of his country and at his brother's request.

While I found the setting to be interesting, the mystery itself was not very compelling and I found the secondary story (his mission in Egypt) somewhat distracting. Charles's steward, McEwan, was very engaging and I agree with a previous reviewer that he very nearly stole the show, but the other characters were not that appealing.

All in all, while I enjoyed the book and I am already looking forward to the next one, it didn't seem like it was up to the standards of the others and I didn't find myself staying up late at night to read "one more chapter". Maybe it was the setting (I'm a landlubber through and through) or it could be the absence of Jane, his wife, who always offers perspective and objectivity and his brother who is always supportive and encouraging. In Burial at Sea, Charles seems out of his element and somewhat incomplete.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In New York-born Charles Finch's fifth historical whodunit (after A STRANGER IN MAYFAIR), former detective and now freshman member of Parliament Charles Lenox is dispatched in 1873 on a covert mission to France's newly opened Suez Canal, aboard HMS Lucy. Several British spies have been killed on French soil, war seems imminent, and control of the canal is in Queen Victoria's best interest. Lenox is called away from his later-in-life wife, Lady Jane Grey, who now expects their first child.

On the first night out, Lieutenant Thomas St. James Halifax is murdered, "cut open straight down the middle from his throat to his stomach." Captain Jacob Martin summons Lenox to investigate, waking him not only from sleep but from the dormant desire to return to sleuthing. Astoundingly obvious clues that implicate various officers found at and in the body vanish from Lenox's cabin. Even his portly steward, "a Scot called McEwan," falls under suspicion. Clues abound, and there is a virtual sea of red herrings.

Unraveling a murder mystery in the claustrophobic confines of a small ship is a throwback to Agatha Christie's MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, here on a British naval vessel instead of a luxury train. "The problem was the preponderance of suspects," with 220 aboard. Complicating matters is "that most dreaded movement...mutiny." Lenox finds a bloody smudge on a note in his cabin, effectively stating The Lucy is ours. "Then there was the widespread illiteracy of the sailors. [F]ew sailors on the ship can write or read." Lenox shifts his suspicion from crew to officers, not excluding Captain Martin. But Martin has a dead-on alibi.

Predictably, Lenox faces death from those who would commit murder and mutiny.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ron Jenkins on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of this series from the beginning. Setting this one at sea with Lenox alone was a mistake. This is all about period-seafaring, which is fine except that isn't what I want in a Charles Lenox mystery and if I did want it there are lots and lots of other books that cover that genre ad nauseum.

In short, Lenox doesn't do much, doesn't interact with interesting characters or in any depth and the characters and milieu that have given the series its previous charm are absent.

I'm surprised that reviews here generally have been so generous. I'm glad that others enjoyed this book, I didn't.
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