Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Vanishing Man by Charles Finch

First Sentence:  Once a month or so, just to keep his hand in the game, Charles Lennox liked to go shopping with his friend Lady Jane Grey. 

      Charles Lennox had success with his first outing as a Private Enquiry Agent and is now being called on by The Duke of Dorset to investigate the theft of a painting.  But it's not what was taken which is the mystery, but what was not; a painting much more valuable.  Lenox fear of the thief realizing the mistake and returning seems to be realized when a murder occurs.  But are the paintings the real objects of attention, or is there something more precious at stake?
      
Whether it is a series one has long read, or one to which someone is new, being introduced to the characters from their very start establishes a link to them and almost an intimacy of friendship. It is that which Finch has accomplished through the prequels, this being the second, he has written. Finch brings the characters to life, whether they are directly involved in the mystery, or are part of Lenox's personal life.  How can one not like a protagonist who carries with him a small book of Shakespeare's quotations? For those who love Shakespeare, this is a wonderful story, indeed.
      
Finch paints an excellent picture of the period.  From an explanation of noble titles down to a visit to Bedlam, we are provided a vivid sense of the time.  And what a sad commentary of the time it is that even the daughter of a Duke would be deemed unlikely to marry had she not so done by the age of 30.  The small details of life, custom, and society are fascinating.  Imagine mail being delivered seven times a day, seven days a week. 
      
The resolution of one mystery is well deduced, providing a nice twist and a loop back in the story to a very interesting character.  However, it is the larger mystery behind the original one which is most intriguing.  What a completely tantalizing resolution there is, and one of nearly divine retribution, albeit a rather sad ending for those involved.  Yet, once the criminal is identified, one discovers a motive that is as old as time.
      
"The Vanishing Man" is a wonderfully done trip back in time.  It is filled with excellent characters, fascinating information, and a resolution related to the cost of pride.

THE VANISHING MAN (HistMys-Charles Lenox-England-1853) – VG+
      Finch, Charles – 12th in series; 2nd Prequel
      Minotaur Books – February 2019

2 comments:

  1. This reminds me that I need to read more Finch. I do like the setting and context. It's one of those cases of 'why haven't I followed up more with this series?!'

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    1. I know what you mean. It's just so hard to keep up with authors, even those we really like.

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