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A Death in the Small Hours (Charles Lenox Mysteries) Hardcover – November 13, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1St Edition edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250011604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250011602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Charles Lenox, the Victorian-era member of Parliament, doesn’t think he misses his days as London’s premier private investigator. He’s too busy climbing the political ladder, and, anyway, his young protégé, John Dallington, seems to be doing just fine on his own, turning into a first-class detective. But when Lenox accepts an invitation to spend some time at his uncle’s estate in the country, he has to admit it’s not entirely because he needs peace and quiet to work on an upcoming speech: his uncle’s tantalizing hints about a series of bewildering vandalisms in the village of Plumley tug at Charles’ not-so-dormant investigative curiosity (and when vandalism escalates to murder, Lenox is hooked). The latest in Finch’s veddy British mysteries is, like its predecessors, leisurely paced, with ornate Victorian dialogue that often comes oh-so-close to parody (“I find a walk after supper a eupeptic diversion”) and plenty of richly detailed scene-setting description. Sure to please fans of the previous Lenox novels. --David Pitt


"Superb . . . Boasting one of Finch’s tightest and trickiest plots, this installment further establishes Lenox as a worthy heir to the aristocratic mantle of Lord Peter Wimsey." —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The murder mystery that Finch weaves keeps readers guessing.” —Mary Foster, The Associated Press on A Burial at Sea

“Finch vividly brings 1860s London to life [and] effortlessly inhabits his compassionate hero.” —USA Today on A Stranger in Mayfair

“Beguiling. . . . Character is very much at the core of these whodunits.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review on The Fleet Street Murders --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

I have read the entire series and I am looking forward to his next book.
Willard Reed
With many twists and unexpected turns, the author takes you on a journey through English society and history that keeps you guessing as to who done it.
bernard tanis
I loved this novel as well as the recurring characters who grow and develop with each new story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jane Bedinger on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you liked Mr. Pettigrew's last stand....
If you like Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas series....
If you are a little sick of hard edge, perfunctory sex and gore... or at least crave a break from it...
Then read Charles Finch.

Some people like to give a taste of the story. I'm not good at that. A nice early Victorian man, sometime detective, marries his best friend (eventually) and solves mysteries. It's the protagonist's love of life that I adore, his appreciation of his nation, his friends and family, and the pleasures of early Victorian life.

I know it's not fashionable, that kind of love. It's like homemade applesauce. But to me it runs like a thread of gold or a beam of light, and makes any story better. Maybe not.

Although this books stands on its own, I recommend downloading the Kindle sample. If you like it, then stop, and start with book one.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book, Charles Lenox has put aside his beloved hobby of crime solving for a promising career in Parliament. Chosen for the honor of giving the opening speech in the House of Commons, he retreats with his family to his Uncle's country estate in Somerset to work in peace on the speech.

Happily for readers, there's no peace to be had in this country neighborhood. There have been sinister attacks of vandalism in the village, and eventually a dead body turns up. Charles gets to indulge in amateur detecting, while taking in plenty of country air, working on and off at the speech, and even playing in a village cricket match.

What I love about the Charles Lennox mysteries is the intimate portrayal of family life and social relationships in nineteenth-century England. And the atmosphere of everyday day life -- travel by horse-drawn carriages, gentlemen taking exercise on horseback, gentlemen obsessed with scientific researches, tremendous interest among the gentry in gardens and gardening, and amusing superstitions and wild gossip among villagers.

The plot presents us with some very complex criminal activity, some unexpected romances and a good number of personal dramas. Yet events unfold at a genteel pace, which makes the surprises all the more effective. The reader can also look forward to a startling act of heroics on the part of Lenox, although he's a bit out of shape for heroics.

I do wonder what Lenox will be getting up to next...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sandra on November 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The latest entry to the Charles Lenox series takes the erstwhile investigator out of London to a village outside Bath, where a troubling act of vandalism intrudes on his idyllic holiday.
The incidents escalate until Lenox finds himself investigating a murder.

Finch's book offers a glimpse into the privileged lifestyle of the Victorian gentry as well as an intriguing puzzle. The author includes bits of history and detailed depictions of the era. The cricket match alone is worth the price of the book!

My only criticism is that some of my favorite characters, such as Graham and Dallington, get short shrift this time, partially because of the change of location. Yet the novel offers compensation with the introduction of some new characters who will probably make many appearances in future- at least I hope so!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By London Fog on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading this series since I discovered the first book, and one feature that has always struck me is how vast an improvement there is in the writing, how the plots get more complicated with each new installment. I once actually stated that while I enjoyed the mystery aspect of 'A Beautiful Blue Death', Finch was lacking in "flowing, poetic narration". Here, I found myself almost mesmerized by the prose from first chapter - where nothing much was even occurring - yet the descriptions of a new father's love for his daughter literally took my breath away. Getting gooseflesh from the way a writer tells his tale, from the almost lyrical writing he implements to do so, is always a positive sign. If I couldn't put this down over his descriptions, it only got better from there, when Lenox is invited to his Uncle's village, and ends up investigating the strange, seemingly benign string of vandalisms.

The mystery itself was just as satisfying, and in all honesty, I cannot agree with the other reviewers who stated the characters seemed flat here, because in my estimation Lenox and his wife, Jane, came to life on the page. I will say the plot did occasionally lag at intervals, but this was not a boring book by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it a light read, though I literally could not put this one down, and was up reading until an obscenely late (early?) hour of the morning. My sleep deprivation was entirely worth it.

I enjoy this author so much, I would probably read his grocery list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jane Doe on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The characters. The setting. The writing. The plot. It's difficult to decide exactly what I like most about this book. Charles Finch is a wonderful writer, using terms, phrases and words that not only add to the enjoyment of the story but also convey the atmosphere of Victorian England society.

For those of us who have read previous books in this series, many of the characters are old friends. Yet, the author continues to develop their personalities and reveals new information about them. In addition, new faces are introduced, adding dimension and color to the already rich atmosphere. It is refreshing to meet a character (Charles Lenox) who continues to question and evaluate his goals and, in the end, what truly makes him happy (besides the love and companionship of his family).

The plot is well-drawn and compelling. Unlike some reviewers, I didn't anticipate some of the conclusions. That may be because I was so caught up in the author's descriptions and observations. His use of words is truly extraordinary and added greatly to my enjoyment of the book. Thank you, Mr Finch, for a job well-done! I'm already looking forward to your next book!
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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!

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