Charles Lenox, world renowned detective, has just solved a high level crime involving none other than Scotland Yard. To minimize the political fall-out during the trial, Prime Minister Disraeli has personally asked Charles to embark on a diplomatic trip to the United States, reigniting his passion for travel and adventure that had been repressed due to responsibilities for his family and detective agency. With his reputation preceding him, Charles receives invitations from various movers and shakers of American society. But one urgent summons to Newport captures his detective sensibilities after learning of the death of a beautiful debutante who is alleged to have thrown herself from a cliff. While not on his diplomatic itinerary, Charles is compelled to follow the facts in this mystery when his observations do not add up, leading him to put more at risk than just his schedule.
An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch is book 14 in a rich selection of mysteries centering around the upper crust gentleman, Charles Lenox, and the detective agency he founded. While the Charles Lenox Mysteries are frequently compared to Sherlock Holmes; intriguing stories that take unexpected twists and turns before being solved by a highly intelligent Englishman, Charles Lenox is most decidedly not a knock off but a memorable character in his own right. However, An Extravagant Death has all the characteristics that have made Sherlock Holmes so popular: a solidly English character who is both extremely smart and quirky, a fascinating diorama of the various strata of society, and a captivating murder mystery that leaves the reader guessing until the very end.
I absolutely love a book written with a classical English flavor: a period specific and elaborate vocabulary, a very controlled and proper main character, and a markedly slow build to the climax of the story. An Extravagant Death fits this bill perfectly providing a wonderfully entertaining piece of literature that keeps you guessing until the very end then blindsides you with the ending. I have not read a Charles Lenox Mystery before this book, which I will have to remedy, but I was able to read this as a stand alone with no issues or gaps in understanding. An Extravagant Death is a wonderfully suspenseful, decidedly English, murder mystery that you don’t want to miss.