Monday, November 7, 2016
THE INHERITANCE by Charles Finch
This is my first book by highly and rightly praised author Charles Finch - I can assure you it will not be my last. This author has created a thoughtful, suspenseful, gentle, genteel, if you will, Victorian mystery. In fact a series of them which I am only now discovering. Finch is an elegant writer whose character development is spot-on and his descriptions of London’s houses, streets, and villages during that time period are perfection. I literally felt transported to Harrow, the Collingwood Hotel, Scotland Yard and more. What reading pleasure!
With The Inheritance I met Charles Lenox, a well born gentleman who is a private detective. He has not seen or heard from his Harrow school friend, Gerald Leigh, for many years. Leigh was a bit of an outsider at Harrow yet the two became good friends and confidantes until Leigh (to his great pleasure) was expelled. Since then he has traveled and become a noted scientist.
Lenox is surprised and delighted to hear from his friend after all this time It seems that Leigh coming to London to receive a generous bequest from an anonymous donor and to address the Royal Society. He has made plans to meet with Lenox but does not show up. When Lenox goes to the Collingwood Hotel to inquire about his friend he is no longer there - it seems he has simply disappeared.
When Lenox does manage to track Leigh down he learns that two attempts have been made on his friends life. And Leigh not wishing to bring trouble to Lenox’s doorstep has tried to avoid him. Of course, Lenox will hear of no such thing and enlists the help of his colleagues to find out why anyone would wish to harm Leigh. Just when Lenox feels he is making progress in the case Middleton, the solicitor who notified Leigh of his bequest, is found dead. That really muddies the water! Leigh knows of no one who would wish him harm and Lenox seems stymied.
Yet Lenox will not desert his friend and once he has seen that Leigh is Protected his investigation takes him into the dark side of London and places his own life in danger.
So happy to recommend The Inheritance to all while I hurry to catch up on the earlier Finch books that I’ve missed!