An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch

An Extravagant Death: A Charles Lenox Mystery (Charles Lenox Mysteries Book 14)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries #14
Publication Date: 2/16/21
Number of Pages: 304

WOW! Talk about a book that was impossible to put down – this was definitely it. We are finally back to Lenox’s current timeline and I’m happy about that. I loved all of the books about his earlier life, but I’m happy to be back in his normal timeline now. It seems that no matter how far Charles travels, he finds himself investigating a murder – this time it is while he is visiting the United States. I believe this might be my favorite book of the series so far and I’m really looking forward to many more because I’m so excited to see where Charles’s future lies. One of the things I love best about the series is that Charles seems so very real – as does the history in the book.

Charles has just wrapped up a very high-profile case that has taken down half of Scotland Yard as well as being rife with political implications. When Lenox is summoned to appear before the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, he is sure things are not going to go well for him. The Prime Minister asks Lenox to leave England – and tells him that the Queen will bestow a knighthood on him. No, Charles isn’t being banished, but it sort of feels like it. He declines the offer because he really wants to assure that the men from Scotland Yard are convicted, and his testimony should assure it. However, Disraeli keeps sweetening the pot until Lenox agrees – but adds a few terms of his own.

Lenox’s tour of America has hardly begun before he is waylaid on his train and is demanded to appear in Newport to solve a murder. Charles is traveling in the name of the Queen of England and he’s incensed that someone would dare demand – for it was a demand and not a request – that he appear before them and solve a murder. He declines but is eventually convinced to at least check it out – out of curiosity if nothing else.

When Lenox arrives, the body of the beautiful young woman is still lying on the beach where she was found. The police are there as is the coroner and a number of onlookers. The scene is totally trampled and the locals don’t seem to know how to investigate a murder – especially a murder among society’s elite.

Charles’s investigation keeps him among the richest and most powerful people in America. One of them murdered that young woman – but there are few clues, no witnesses, and no really good motives. So, what could that lovely young woman have done to cause someone to murder her?

Each lead seems to take him nowhere – and he keeps circling and circling – with no results. Until, finally, he knows the answer, but doesn’t want to believe it. It is really an exciting tale that puts Charles in danger of losing his life. Will he live long enough to see the murderer caught? Oh! My!

I absolutely loved this book and could happily read it again and again. I loved seeing a young America through an Englishman’s eyes. The descriptions of Lenox’s impressions are wonderful – especially the descriptions of the hope that was so clearly on display among the upstart Americans. It just made me long for those hopeful times. I also loved the insights on the aftermath of the Civil War even twenty years later. I think the author did an outstanding job of conveying that rich sense of history and the hope of a young American nation.

I also loved Charles’s career crisis thoughts – maybe it was a mid-life crisis. I will be so excited to read the next books and find out what the future holds for Charles, Lady Jane, and the rest of the recurring characters. The ONLY thing that I didn’t love was the references to how old Lenox was. The story treated him as if he were eighty rather than forty-nine – and he reinforced that. I know that fifty back then was ‘older’ than fifty today, but goodness – I can’t believe it was that different.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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