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SusannaG

SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
Holger Hoock
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari Dr
Progress: 9 %
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
John Guy
Progress: 20/512 pages
Lady Cop Makes Trouble
Amy Stewart
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Andrea Wulf
Progress: 12 %
The Hundred Years War, Volume 1: Trial by Battle
Jonathan Sumption
Progress: 166/586 pages
King Solomon's Mines
H. Rider Haggard
Progress: 4 %
Queen's Gambit: A Novel
Elizabeth Fremantle
Progress: 22 %
1913: The Eve of War
Paul Ham
Progress: 20 %
The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The Dark Lady (The William Shakespeare Detective Agency Book 2)
Colin Falconer
Progress: 15 %

A Beautiful Blue Death

A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries) - Charles Finch

A Beautiful Blue Death is the first Charles Lennox novel (I think there are about half a dozen or so volumes at this point).

 

In the cold London winter of 1865, Charles Lennox, whose principal hobbies are detecting crimes and the Emperor Hadrian, is asked to look into the death of a servant.  His oldest friend, Lady Jane Grey (yes, I groaned, too), also his next-door neighbor, had been her former employer, but the girl changed her work place to be closer to her young man.  And now she is dead, and they say it is suicide - a note was found, next to a bottle of poison.

 

Lennox, however, notices that there was no pen present, so how did she write the note?  And a friend he brings along, a retired doctor with chemical passions, observes that the the bottle of poison held yellow arsenic, but the poison that killed her was rare, expensive, and blue.

 

The writing was competent.  However, Queen Victoria was not "Queen Empress" in 1865, and would never have been referred to as such.  She was made Empress of India in 1876.

 

I should think, as well, that there were rather more differences in the classes and in their behavior with each other, than Charles Finch suggests here.  The butler, for example, is urged to take a nap by the fire in his employer's study.  Some readers this will bother more than others.

 

Also, the streets of London are described as deserted at midnight.

 

The streets of Victorian London were never "deserted" at any time at all, or for any reason.  (The Victorian City, by Judith Flanders, is great on the life of the city streets, and on the urban poor.)

 

The mystery was competently done, and I might read another book in the series.

 

(My copy courtesy of Net Galley/Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press, much thanks.)