Victorian gentleman Charles Lenox has given up his seat in Parliament to return to his true vocation as a detective. He’s even started a detective agency with his friend John Dallington, former rival Polly Buchanan, and a talented Frenchman called LeMaire. Though the business is new, Lenox is confident that it will succeed; but a streak of bad publicity in the London newspapers causes trouble for the fledgling enterprise. Just when Lenox is considering throwing in the towel, however, an unexpected murder forces the police to seek out his services — for the victim is none other than Inspector Jenkins of Scotland Yard. Moreover, Jenkins’ body was found outside the town house of the Marquess of Wakefield, one of London’s most hardened (yet so far uncatchable) criminals. Was Jenkins investigating Wakefield when he met his death? Was Wakefield himself the killer? Lenox and his fellow detectives are on the case, but the conspiracy they uncover is more shocking than they ever could have imagined.
I like this series a lot, and this book is another good installment; but I have to confess, one month later, it’s hard for me to remember much about it! I do recall thinking that the mystery was a little predictable, but there were certainly enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The book also takes time to check in with the various secondary characters who comprise Lenox’s world, which I appreciated — although I would have liked to see even more of McConnell, Lady Jane, and the others! I also think it was a smart move to make Lenox part of a detective agency, as this introduces some new characters and relationships into the mix. The agency also illustrates some interesting areas of blindness in Lenox, especially regarding class. When the business begins to fail, Lenox is upset, but he is never in danger of experiencing real financial hardship. Some of his colleagues, however, depend on the agency for their livelihood, and this doesn’t occur to Lenox initially. So I appreciate that we got a little character growth in this installment, and I look forward to the next book!