Review

The Fleet Street Murders

by Charles Finch

The third book in the Charles Lenox mystery series opens with
Lenox celebrating a quiet Christmas at home with his family and new
fiancée the night two well-known journalists are murdered. The
morning papers bring news of the brutal killings, and Lenox, being
the detective that he is, is soon working connections. Before he is
able to become fully involved in the case, he is called away to
Stirrington, a small town north of London. Following in both his
father’s and brother’s footsteps, Lenox has decided to
run for public office. Unfortunately, he was not expecting to be
thrown into the campaign so soon and is torn between investigating
the case and running for a seat in Parliament.

Once in Stirrington, he keeps an eye on the case by telegram.
Many things about it worry him --- the most of all being that
he’s not in London to investigate firsthand. To further
complicate matters, he finds campaigning difficult and not at all
what he expected. When a letter arrives from his fiancée, Lady
Jane Grey, asking to postpone their wedding, he decides that a
short trip back to London to speak with her in person is what he
needs. Thankfully, this also allows him to put off campaigning and
look in on the case.

Although he doesn't find out much regarding the case, he manages
to keep his young protégé, Dallington, busy answering
plenty of questions and combing a few backstreets for information.
The short respite in London provides Lenox with the opportunity for
him and Jane to discuss her recent change of heart. After a long
talk, they find themselves feeling better about their future. When
Lenox once again decamps to Stirrington to campaign, his heart is
in the right place even if his mind is still mulling over who would
want to murder two journalists.

Debates and campaign events begin to solidify Lenox’s
thoughts on running for office, and he finds he has more talent for
it than he thought. After winning the debate and a few friends ---
thanks to the purchasing of several pints of beer in the town ---
he believes that he has a shot at winning and throws himself full
force into campaigning. He also begins to understand why his
brother, who holds his deceased father’s seat in Parliament,
is so interested in his being a Member. After the election is over,
Lenox returns to London and throws himself back into the case.

On the train ride home, Lenox has a revelation. He sets out to
prove his unpopular theory, solve the murders --- and possibly
bring closure to several unsolved cases he has been following for
years. When a Scotland Yard Investigator is murdered, Lenox
recognizes the time has come to reveal what he knows and is aware
that proving a member of high society is a murderer will not be
easy.

THE FLEET STREET MURDERS is a quiet but entertaining mystery. A
long cast of characters keeps you wondering where fingers will be
pointed, who is capable of the murders, and why they would have
gone to those lengths to begin with. Lenox is a likable if Sherlock
Holmes-y type of detective who believes that there is always an
answer to be found if one looks hard enough. There is something
very earnest in what he does, even though others look down upon his
chosen profession.

In the end, the case, Lenox’s love life and the outcome of
the campaign are wrapped up very neatly. While it's not something I
usually care for in a book, I found it rather satisfying here. The
story meanders a bit, and the campaigning is a little slow going at
first, but it was nice to see the tidy conclusion that wraps up the
loose ends. Clues and information are parsed out slowly, and, while
some hardcore mystery fans may be able to figure things out before
the last page, I found it a pleasurable read for an autumn evening.
A good choice for both longtime mystery fans and newcomers to the
genre.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on January 22, 2011

The Fleet Street Murders
by Charles Finch

  • Publication Date: November 10, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312565518
  • ISBN-13: 9780312565510