THE FLEET STREET MURDERS, by Charles Finch
3/series. Finch has created an interesting amateur sleuth, Charles Lenox (of course he's handsome, well off, and the second son of nobility, and of course engaged to the exquisitely well-endowed - money, status, intelligence - Lady Jane) as a series character. The plot is well constructed, and London in 1866 is beautifully presented. Our hero Lenox is persuaded to run for a seat in Parliament, representing a northern town near Durham; circumstances force him to go there only days after a double murder shocks London. Lenox's untried colleague, Dallington, sends lengthy telegrams full of pleas to return and solve the crimes. Lady Jane, facing the tottering marriage of close friends, wobbles in her commitment to her forthcoming marriage. And the villain continues his plotting while the hero labors to be elected. Does all come right at the end? I'll give this a 4, only because the characters and their privileged, monied millieu have been done so often before. But I plan to read The September Society and A Beautiful Blue Death, Finch's first two novels, because he does them so very well.