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The Woman in the Water

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This chilling new mystery in the USA Today bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London's most brilliant detectives. London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective...without a single case. Scotland Yard This chilling new mystery in the USA Today bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London's most brilliant detectives. London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective...without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime--and promising to kill again--Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself. The writer's first victim is a young woman whose body is found in a naval trunk, caught up in the rushes of a small islets in the middle of the Thames. With few clues to go on, Lenox endeavors to solve the crime before another innocent life is lost. When the killer's sights are turned toward those whom Lenox holds most dear, the stakes are raised and Lenox is trapped in a desperate game of cat and mouse. In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this newest mystery in the Charles Lenox series pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money.


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This chilling new mystery in the USA Today bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London's most brilliant detectives. London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective...without a single case. Scotland Yard This chilling new mystery in the USA Today bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London's most brilliant detectives. London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective...without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime--and promising to kill again--Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself. The writer's first victim is a young woman whose body is found in a naval trunk, caught up in the rushes of a small islets in the middle of the Thames. With few clues to go on, Lenox endeavors to solve the crime before another innocent life is lost. When the killer's sights are turned toward those whom Lenox holds most dear, the stakes are raised and Lenox is trapped in a desperate game of cat and mouse. In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this newest mystery in the Charles Lenox series pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money.

30 review for The Woman in the Water

  1. 5 out of 5

    Charles Finch

    This is the first ever 100-star book in my humble opinion. I have written to Goodreads and am hoping they add a unique "100-star" rating just for the book, will keep you apprised of any response I get! This is the first ever 100-star book in my humble opinion. I have written to Goodreads and am hoping they add a unique "100-star" rating just for the book, will keep you apprised of any response I get!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A historical mystery series, set during the Victorian age, that I have read from the first. This though is a prequel, and we meet a young Lennox, when he is only 23, starting out in his crime solving career. When a letter to the newspapers, boasting about committing the perfect crime, comes to the attention of Lennox, he sets off, with his trusty valet, sidekick, to solve the murder. It will soon be two bodies of women found, each staged in unusual ways. When reading about the solving of crimes i A historical mystery series, set during the Victorian age, that I have read from the first. This though is a prequel, and we meet a young Lennox, when he is only 23, starting out in his crime solving career. When a letter to the newspapers, boasting about committing the perfect crime, comes to the attention of Lennox, he sets off, with his trusty valet, sidekick, to solve the murder. It will soon be two bodies of women found, each staged in unusual ways. When reading about the solving of crimes in the past, I am reminded of how difficult it was for those who job this was. Much more traveling, chasing down clues, chasing down witnesses, so time consuming. Took more talent though to piece together all the information, and then decide the who, how and why. In this outing, we get to see a young man of privileged background, fighting for a chance to do what interested him. There is also a personal, rather sad revelation. We also find out how he first met McConnell, who would become a good friend and prove integral to many of the stories that come after. Well written, tightly plotted, this should bring new readers to this worthy series, or at least I hope so. ARC from Netgalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    A light summer read for fans of Charles Lenox and a Victorian mystery. Lenox is in his early twenties and has just started his amateur career as a detective. Liked both the characters & the language.

  4. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    It's the Victorian Age, and Charles Lenox, a member of the upper class, is fresh out of Oxford and interested in a career as an investigator with the police department. Being a new profession, he’s having trouble being taken seriously by Scotland Yard. Then along comes a series of letters boasting of the perfect murder(s), and Charles has a case that offers him a chance to prove himself. As a prequel to the series, I enjoyed getting to know Charles and his valet Graham, as well as his family and It's the Victorian Age, and Charles Lenox, a member of the upper class, is fresh out of Oxford and interested in a career as an investigator with the police department. Being a new profession, he’s having trouble being taken seriously by Scotland Yard. Then along comes a series of letters boasting of the perfect murder(s), and Charles has a case that offers him a chance to prove himself. As a prequel to the series, I enjoyed getting to know Charles and his valet Graham, as well as his family and others in his social circle. Charles has some challenges in his personal life that brought some tender and heartwarming scenes. The murder mystery and resolution was clever, while the insights into the early days of crime investigations were interesting from a historical aspect. The old-fashioned detective work was a refreshing change from crime novels set in the current day. This was my first introduction to Charles Lenox and I’m definitely interested in continuing the series. Highly recommended for fans of historical mysteries. *many thanks to Netgalley for a copy of the book for review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    In 1850 London Charles Lenox is an aristocrat and recent Oxford graduate who is trying to become a private detective. He is assisted by his manservant Graham. Lenox has just turned 23, as we are told repeatedly. This book is a prequel to the Charles Lenox series. I imagine that my appreciation of the characters might have been increased if I knew how their lives developed in the later books. However, the only other book in this series I have read was the first one, “A Beautiful Blue Death” and I In 1850 London Charles Lenox is an aristocrat and recent Oxford graduate who is trying to become a private detective. He is assisted by his manservant Graham. Lenox has just turned 23, as we are told repeatedly. This book is a prequel to the Charles Lenox series. I imagine that my appreciation of the characters might have been increased if I knew how their lives developed in the later books. However, the only other book in this series I have read was the first one, “A Beautiful Blue Death” and I remember nothing about it. So this book was essentially a standalone for me and it worked fine as a standalone. Lenox tries to track down a murderer who has been sending taunting letters to a newspaper. Two side plots involve a man who has been receiving mystery cash gifts and Lenox’s relationship with his married friend Elizabeth. The secondary plots were less interesting to me. The characters were pleasant, although I think that 23 year olds might have been a little more mature in those days, having assumed responsibility somewhat earlier than Lenox did. I enjoyed the interplay between Lenox and Graham. The plot was well constructed and held my interest, but near the end of the book there was one case of mistaken identity that seemed extremely improbable. I’ll probably read more of the series. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    The Woman in the Water is the prequel to the Charles Lenox mystery series. Charles Finch has written a clever and entertaining prequel that introduces us to a 23 year old Charles Lenox, fresh from his studies at Oxford, and with the help of his loyal valet, Graham, decides to open a private detective agency. Just as Scotland Yard is in its infant stages, the career of a private detective is nearly unheard of. Lenox finds that sleuthing is his passion and he is able to solve small mysteries with e The Woman in the Water is the prequel to the Charles Lenox mystery series. Charles Finch has written a clever and entertaining prequel that introduces us to a 23 year old Charles Lenox, fresh from his studies at Oxford, and with the help of his loyal valet, Graham, decides to open a private detective agency. Just as Scotland Yard is in its infant stages, the career of a private detective is nearly unheard of. Lenox finds that sleuthing is his passion and he is able to solve small mysteries with ease. But suddenly, Lenox and Graham will be challenged by someone determined to continuously committing the "perfect" murder. After an anonymous letter to the newspaper claiming to have committed the perfect murder, the author vows to do it again. Lenox and Graham thrust themselves into Scotland Yard's investigation which has consequences for Lenox as those close to him are now in harms way. Charles Finch has used this prequel to introduce characters that will be recurring in subsequent books including Elizabeth (Jane), Lenox's friend and one that has a blend of strength and wry humor. The reader gets to see the Lenox family up-close and personal including the witty banter between his mother and the housekeeper. We also see the relationship that Lenox has with his ailing father and older brother, Edmund. The mystery was complex and full of layers that can at times seem confusing but Charles Finch is a master of misdirection. Finch's villains are multi-dimensional and rich in character making it difficult for us to solve the mystery before our favorite Sherlockian sleuth, Charles Lenox does. There are ten books in the series with each one challenging Charles Lenox and the reader to summon all of their intellectual wits and ability to solve some of the most challenging mysteries. The Woman in the Water is a stand alone book as it is the first but it won't be your last. I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. #NetGalley #TheWomanintheWater #CharlesFinch

  7. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **3.5-stars** The Woman in the Water is a prequel to the Charles Lenox Mysteries series, of which there are currently 10 books. Going into this, I had previously read the first book in the series, A Beautiful Blue Death, and enjoyed it quite a bit. When I saw that a prequel was coming out, it made sense to read it before I continued on with the series. This was a good book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first one. For me, the investigation seemed secondary to the rest of the character deve **3.5-stars** The Woman in the Water is a prequel to the Charles Lenox Mysteries series, of which there are currently 10 books. Going into this, I had previously read the first book in the series, A Beautiful Blue Death, and enjoyed it quite a bit. When I saw that a prequel was coming out, it made sense to read it before I continued on with the series. This was a good book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first one. For me, the investigation seemed secondary to the rest of the character development and I had hoped it would be front and center. I did feel the second half of the book was stronger than the first half and it did ultimately come to a satisfying conclusion. Prequels to me are either necessary or not necessary. I don't really feel this one is necessary in order to enjoy the rest of the series. One aspect of this I really enjoyed was learning more about the relationship between Charles and his right-hand man, Graham. I feel that Graham's contribution to Lenox's work and life was really highlighted here and that was nice to see. I also enjoyed the exploration of Charles relationship with his father, some of those details were truly beautiful to read. Overall, this is a good book. I do enjoy a solid Victorian mystery, especially with a gentleman detective. Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books and NetGalley, for providing me with the opportunity to read this book and share my opinions!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    WOW! I am in awe of Charles Finch and his writing and I'd give this book more than 5-stars if I could. This has to be the absolute best book of the Charles Lenox Mystery series so far. While it is shown as book #0 in the series because it is a prequel, it is actually something like the thirteenth if you count the novellas. The writing is superb, the characters are fully developed and relatable, and the story is fast-paced, engrossing and detailed. We are introduced to a young Charles Lenox, just WOW! I am in awe of Charles Finch and his writing and I'd give this book more than 5-stars if I could. This has to be the absolute best book of the Charles Lenox Mystery series so far. While it is shown as book #0 in the series because it is a prequel, it is actually something like the thirteenth if you count the novellas. The writing is superb, the characters are fully developed and relatable, and the story is fast-paced, engrossing and detailed. We are introduced to a young Charles Lenox, just twenty-three years of age and newly living in London on his own. He desperately wants to be a detective, but his few forays into it and his interactions with Scotland Yard have been very disappointing. However, being the tenacious young man that he is, Charles perseveres by honing his knowledge of crimes in London, how they are solved and the details behind them. He does that by buying copies of all of the newspapers and cutting all of the crime related articles out and filing them away. When one of those newspapers carry the text of a letter claiming that the writer had already committed one ‘perfect’ murder and would be committing another soon, Charles knew he had to be involved. He and his valet, Graham, use the timeline given in the letter and find the case the letter writer must be claiming as his perfect crime. They are off to Scotland Yard to show them their conjecture and to offer their services. Of course, Scotland Yard wants no part of their help, but that doesn’t deter Charles. As he digs and learns more and more – he shares it all with Scotland Yard. While the murder plot was interesting, detailed and engrossing, I think my favorite parts of the book were the more personal parts. Those are skillfully written and poignant, heartwarming, emotional and sad. We meet Charles’ mother and father and learn of the father, Edward’s, medical diagnosis. How Charles, his mother, and brother Edmund - his father too - deal with that is so bittersweet and lovely. I absolutely adored his father and the efforts he made to ensure that he spent time with each of the family members individually and that they knew he loved them. I loved the descriptions of his fence painting – and I loved that when he finally spoke to Charles about his leaving them he said – “The hardest part of losing a person, Charles, is that grief is only an absence. There is nowhere to go to touch it.” It was fun to meet the younger, more immature versions of people we’ll get to know and love throughout the series. There is Jane, of course. She’s married to someone else and Charles is heartbroken over that. Graham, of course, is one of my favorite people. Then, we meet a very young and very mischievous John Dallington. I usually don’t read prequels, especially if I know that someone doesn’t last through the series – especially because of a bad end. I am so very, very happy that I made an exception for this book. It is so well written, so well developed and just such a wonderful read that I cannot imagine having missed it. Please check out my reviews at: Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages... Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview "I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."

  9. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: For a little more than an hour on the May morning in 1850, the only sound in the flat in St. James’ Square was the rustling of newspapers, punctuated occasionally by the crisp shear of a pair of sharpened scissors through newsprint. Twenty-three-year-old Charles Lenox is trying, with the assistance of his valet Graham, to establish himself as a detective, but is having little success until an anonymous writer’s letter appears in the newspaper. The author claims to have committed First Sentence: For a little more than an hour on the May morning in 1850, the only sound in the flat in St. James’ Square was the rustling of newspapers, punctuated occasionally by the crisp shear of a pair of sharpened scissors through newsprint. Twenty-three-year-old Charles Lenox is trying, with the assistance of his valet Graham, to establish himself as a detective, but is having little success until an anonymous writer’s letter appears in the newspaper. The author claims to have committed the perfect murder, and that he will kill again. After insinuating himself into the Yard’s investigation, and with locating a second victim, the killer threatens directly threatens Lenox and those he holds dear. Establishing a sense of time from the start moves one from being a reader to feeling part of the story—“There were two men at the highly polished breakfast table by the window… Both were too intent upon their work to glance out…at the panoramic view of the soft spring day; the shy sunlight; the irregular outlines of the two nearby parks, lying serene within the smoke and stone of the city; the new leaves upon the trees, making their innocent green way into life, on branches still so skinny that they quivered like the legs of foal.” The introduction of Lenox and Graham defines their relationship and expands on the feeling of being a participant. One is also introduced to Elizabeth, Lenox’ friend, and to Finch’s wonderful voice and wry humor. It is nice getting to know the young Lenox and his family. The banter with his mother and housekeeper allow for lightness against the darkness of the plot. It is also nice to see how he developed as a detective. The information on the distinction of the classes is worked in very cleverly through a tactful conversation with Graham—“We were smacked on the hand if we wrote crookedly, at Harrow, with the chalk. In its chalk-holder, a great long wooden rod.” “Sir?” Lenox elaborated. “Well, it’s only at the free schools that one is taught to write line upon line.” Learning how the name of Scotland Yard came to be is an interesting bit of history. Still, one has to be amused at Lenox’ irritation at the ungrammatical headline—“Nevertheless, the headline had managed an error in its scant seven words. On the Thames River – doubtful, Lenox thought, that anyone had been murdered on the Thames River.” The case itself is intriguing, particularly with the second victim. There is an interesting twist related to the killer and the victims. The climax is exciting and very clever. “The Woman in the Water” was a delightful look into how it all began. Finch played fair with the reader, but the clues were subtle and easy to miss, particularly with the emotional aspect of the story demanding our attention. THE WOMAN IN THE WATER (Hist Mys-Charles Lenox-London-1850) - VG Finch, Charles – Series Prequel Minotaur Books – Feb 2018

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    After spending time following along with the intuitive, Victorian era, middle-aged detective and his friends, I was more than eager when I discovered that this latest release would take readers back to the early days of Charles Lenox's first celebrated case. The Woman of the Water is a late prequel to a long-standing series and works just fine as a beginning read to the series or for taking it in release order. The story opens with a much younger Charles leaving his university days behind and cho After spending time following along with the intuitive, Victorian era, middle-aged detective and his friends, I was more than eager when I discovered that this latest release would take readers back to the early days of Charles Lenox's first celebrated case. The Woman of the Water is a late prequel to a long-standing series and works just fine as a beginning read to the series or for taking it in release order. The story opens with a much younger Charles leaving his university days behind and choosing to stun polite society with the news that he is going to be a consulting detective. Two provocative letters in the newspaper and a dead body give him the break he needs to assist the London police and show he can do it. It's a particularly poignant time because he waited too long to tell the woman he loved his feelings and she accepted someone else whom she loves and he is made aware that his father only has a few months left after a growth is discovered. From the first book in the series, I have been taken with Charles Lennox, Graham, Lady Jane, Thomas O'Donnell, and others in Charles' circle. I loved that this book goes back to the beginning when they were all much younger and how things came to be the way they are. Lennox was written with his brilliance and heart, but more of a touch of youthful fire and confidence that the difficult murder case threatens to dampen and put out entirely. The historical detail and how it blends into the plot was done amazingly well. I always feel like I'm right there in Charles' Victorian world when I read this series and this book was no exception. The mystery is clever and twisting. I loved following along and discovering the significance of the clues. I totally missed on the solution, but had a great time trying. The depth of friendship, family, and personal growth that melded with the mystery for this one was probably more compelling than the cunning murder. My emotions were engaged several times even beyond my mind on the mystery. I had the urge to go back and re-read the series after this one. I heartily recommend this book/series to those who particularly enjoy historical mysteries. I rec'd this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    For the eleventh entry in the Charles Lenox series, the author has written an entertaining prequel that sets up the characters well. Lenox is 23 and just done with Oxford. As the second son of a baronet, he is at loose ends with no need to earn money and two desires- to travel and to solve crimes. He decides to open his own private detective agency, an almost unheard of career. Scotland Yard is new itself so this is a brand new undertaking. A murdered woman is discovered and a letter to the new For the eleventh entry in the Charles Lenox series, the author has written an entertaining prequel that sets up the characters well. Lenox is 23 and just done with Oxford. As the second son of a baronet, he is at loose ends with no need to earn money and two desires- to travel and to solve crimes. He decides to open his own private detective agency, an almost unheard of career. Scotland Yard is new itself so this is a brand new undertaking. A murdered woman is discovered and a letter to the newspaper promises another "perfect" crime. Lenox has found his passion, He wants to discover the murderer and gets hired as a consultant to Scotland Yard's investigation. Horrified to be receiving a salary for heavens sake, he and his valet, Graham, rush to solve the crime but are too late. Another body turns up with lots of clues that make little sense. This a really interesting mystery with an unexpected ending. It's a great placed to start the series if you haven't read him before because it's essentially the beginning. For long time readers, it's fun to see how relationships started. It's also quite interesting to read about the beginning of crime investigations. Reading how coroners operators worked was interesting and the history (1850) was informative. Overall, this was an entertaining book well worth the read. I highly recommend it. Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    This fine Victorian mystery set in 1850’s London introduces us to a young Charles Lennox. It’s a thrilling prequel to the series, with Lennox fighting to establish himself as a REAL detective while facing an adversary as menacing as Moriarty. Atmospheric, beautifully written, and highly recommended for historical fiction/mystery lovers. 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 20 Feb 2018 Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheWomanInTheWater #NetGalley This fine Victorian mystery set in 1850’s London introduces us to a young Charles Lennox. It’s a thrilling prequel to the series, with Lennox fighting to establish himself as a REAL detective while facing an adversary as menacing as Moriarty. Atmospheric, beautifully written, and highly recommended for historical fiction/mystery lovers. 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 20 Feb 2018 Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheWomanInTheWater #NetGalley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    This is my introduction to the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch and I was excited to read this, the prequel. I feel that my experience was not as invested as those who have already read from the series so with that being said, it was enjoyable and it whetted my interest in the series but I didn't love it. I thought the mystery itself was interesting and I liked the resolution (of sorts) of the crime but I think if I had known the characters previously from the series, I might have enjoyed i This is my introduction to the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch and I was excited to read this, the prequel. I feel that my experience was not as invested as those who have already read from the series so with that being said, it was enjoyable and it whetted my interest in the series but I didn't love it. I thought the mystery itself was interesting and I liked the resolution (of sorts) of the crime but I think if I had known the characters previously from the series, I might have enjoyed it a bit more. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I love me some murder mystery audiobooks! The Woman in the Water is a prequel to the Charles Lenox Mysteries series. It was highly enjoyable and so freaking addictive. It kind of reminded me of Sherlock Holmes in a way. Now I a haven't read any books dealing with that specific character but I have watched the movies.. so that counts - right? In this book, you meet a young Lennox who is about 23 years old. He is starting out his crime solving career when a letter to the newspapers has a murderer bo I love me some murder mystery audiobooks! The Woman in the Water is a prequel to the Charles Lenox Mysteries series. It was highly enjoyable and so freaking addictive. It kind of reminded me of Sherlock Holmes in a way. Now I a haven't read any books dealing with that specific character but I have watched the movies.. so that counts - right? In this book, you meet a young Lennox who is about 23 years old. He is starting out his crime solving career when a letter to the newspapers has a murderer boasting about this perfect crime they've just committed. Of course, that's a challenge in Lennox's eyes and he sets off to solve it! Now this "perfect" murder is about two women found in a staged crime. Again, this book was addicting! I was definitely hanging on the edge of my seat at work trying to solve this murder by myself. Unfortunately, my days in crime solving are officially over. I didn't solve it before Lennox. However, I enjoyed the heck out of this book. I'm definitely add the rest of this series onto my TBR for sure. Overall, I loved this book. I expect more murder in the rest of the series!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I have faithfully read and enjoyed each book in the Charles Lenox series, and this new prequel is no exception. There is a meticulous tending of each character along with a faithful portrayal of Victorian London. With Charles at age 23 we get to see him enjoying exercise rowing the Thames without any water quality descriptions, something I shuddered to imagine. But then, that's how my mind works. It is rather brave of the young Lenox to attempt a career as a private detective considering his soci I have faithfully read and enjoyed each book in the Charles Lenox series, and this new prequel is no exception. There is a meticulous tending of each character along with a faithful portrayal of Victorian London. With Charles at age 23 we get to see him enjoying exercise rowing the Thames without any water quality descriptions, something I shuddered to imagine. But then, that's how my mind works. It is rather brave of the young Lenox to attempt a career as a private detective considering his social class, and his personal and public derision for work on a murder case is unjust. Without the help of Lenox and his valet Graham, Scotland Yard would not have identified the killer. The emotional level is high in this series, something to remark on when a young man's tender feelings play a prominent role - unusual within the "PI" world of books. I particularly appreciated moments between mother and son as well as father and son. A negative medical diagnosis for his father plays a part in his invitation to his son to take a memorable 5-day trip to Russia, a country Charles had always wanted to travel to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Scrappymags 3-word review: Sherlock Holmes-like entertainment!   All my reviews available at scrappymags.com   Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery, a prequel to a series I have never read.   Shortest summary ever: A prequel to Finch's successful Lenox detective series (which I will now be avidly reading), this story launches the detective career of 23-yr-old Charles Lennox. It's 1850 and he’s breaking the rules of his aristocratic breeding, defying family expectation by investigating the murders of 2 wo Scrappymags 3-word review: Sherlock Holmes-like entertainment!   All my reviews available at scrappymags.com   Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery, a prequel to a series I have never read.   Shortest summary ever: A prequel to Finch's successful Lenox detective series (which I will now be avidly reading), this story launches the detective career of 23-yr-old Charles Lennox. It's 1850 and he’s breaking the rules of his aristocratic breeding, defying family expectation by investigating the murders of 2 women found in the Thames, both with similarities, both with accompanying letters to a local paper by the killer. With his right hand man Graham along as his side-kick, he delves into the detective world while struggling to rise to public pressure and (of course) uncover something sinister.   What’s good under the hood: Finch is a first time read for me so not knowing his previous work, I was thrilled! (I was worried I would miss something, which I didn't). Victorian? Mystery? Count me IN! It’s textbook Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but  I can NEVER have enough of these mysteries when they are intriguing and well-written such as this. A touch of personal depth thoughout learning about the Lennox family made the characters endearing and I'm sure will make later happenings enjoyable to read. A grand chase of a book - turning the pages at breakneck speed (I had to slow myself down), I felt fully emersed in the time period and the characters. Finch has a gift with balancing the mystery and characterization, which I appreciate. I love to know background and I love to become invested in characters. All that while being captivated by a mystery? SOLD! What’s bad or made me mad:  I would imagine some might criticize the obvious Holmes/Watson link, however, my belief is that when you create characters so well and develop plots that dazzle, I have NO problem with that.    Recommend to: I would imagine Finch fans will love this since I did so much. Historical fiction mysteries are a fave of mine. If you feel the same - must read.   Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press and the Mr. Finch for an advanced copy and for firmly and utterly transporting me to Victorian England hunting killers (in my mind of course) in exchange for this completely honest review.      

  17. 4 out of 5

    KC

    1850 London. Charles Lenox is 23, just finishing up his education at Oxford and is determined in becoming a consulting detective with Scotland Yard. His first case occurs after a sailors trunk washes up on shore with a woman's body stuffed inside. Soon, a second victim is discovered and has Lenox and police baffled. Novelist Finch uses a good old fashioned detective style format mirroring Sherlock Holmes with a touch of humor. This is my first time reading Charles Finch and his Charles Lenox ser 1850 London. Charles Lenox is 23, just finishing up his education at Oxford and is determined in becoming a consulting detective with Scotland Yard. His first case occurs after a sailors trunk washes up on shore with a woman's body stuffed inside. Soon, a second victim is discovered and has Lenox and police baffled. Novelist Finch uses a good old fashioned detective style format mirroring Sherlock Holmes with a touch of humor. This is my first time reading Charles Finch and his Charles Lenox series. I was pleasantly entertained.

  18. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    In which I'm introduced to a Victorian gentleman detective! London, 1850. Charles Lenox is obviously intelligent. At first I thought he was a tad awkward socially. Later I realized it's just his way, after all he's only 23 and just beginning his life as a detective. Apparently Charles has let the girl he loved slip away due to his own inaction, not recognizing that what he felt for Elizabeth (who is later called Jane) was more than a childhood friendship. Between establishing himself in the detec In which I'm introduced to a Victorian gentleman detective! London, 1850. Charles Lenox is obviously intelligent. At first I thought he was a tad awkward socially. Later I realized it's just his way, after all he's only 23 and just beginning his life as a detective. Apparently Charles has let the girl he loved slip away due to his own inaction, not recognizing that what he felt for Elizabeth (who is later called Jane) was more than a childhood friendship. Between establishing himself in the detecting arena and losing his love before it could become a reality, Charles doesn't seem to be as yet comfortable in his own skin Charles' companion and valet Graham, is a partner in this cohort of investigation. We are told that Graham has a mind that absorbs and holds onto information. I love the scene of them both cutting out newspaper articles and then comparing notes to discover where things might be amiss, where their skills might be needed. Charles has a hard time being taken seriously by Scotland Yard, even when he discovers things they miss, such as this latest case which seems to link to another murder. A body has been found in a naval locker. Another body has been floated Ophelia like down the Thames to come to rest on mud flats. Charles feels they're connected. The police are more than sceptical, if not downright disdainful. We are introduced to Charles' family who are incredibly likeable. I feel that Charles just can't help being as he is, given these special people who care so deeply for him. I was hesitant with this Sherlock and Holmes type pairing, even though these two are very different from that famous duo--although there's a lingering familiar air. All in all, an immensely enjoyable read! A Minotaur Books ARC via NetGalley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paula DeBoard

    from http://www.paulatreickdeboard.com/pau... I always feel like the cool kid when I’m reading a book that is just out, but the truth is that I have Louise Penny’s recommendation to thank—I follow her FB page—and in a happy coincidence, the book was available in my library’s audio selection. Also, it turns out there are already ten books in the series, and I’m obviously not as sharp as I thought I was. It’s a good, old-fashioned whodoneit detective story, with our hero Charles Lennox (an unlikely from http://www.paulatreickdeboard.com/pau... I always feel like the cool kid when I’m reading a book that is just out, but the truth is that I have Louise Penny’s recommendation to thank—I follow her FB page—and in a happy coincidence, the book was available in my library’s audio selection. Also, it turns out there are already ten books in the series, and I’m obviously not as sharp as I thought I was. It’s a good, old-fashioned whodoneit detective story, with our hero Charles Lennox (an unlikely detective, since his background makes him a shoo-in for a seat in parliament), his valet Graham who has quite a knack for crime-solving himself, and an endearing cast of secondary characters. If you’re new to this series, like me (… and let’s pause for a moment, to say that I’m really not good at reading a series, because THE COMMITMENT. There are ten other books in this series, and at this rate it will take me a few years to read them all IN ORDER, because I simply must read things in order…), it evokes everything I love about detective stories and true sleuthing, especially at a time period when the profession was new and forensic science was a long way in the future. Thanks, Louise Penny—now I have another author’s name to recommend to my mom. And ten more books to buy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    Charles Finch takes us back to Charles Lennox's very first case - The Woman in the Water. Lennox is 23 and has decided to become a detective [much to the dismay of his father] and this book takes us through that very first case; he and Graham are combing the newspapers when Lennox sees a tie between two recent murders and that takes him to Scotland Yard and the mystery unfolds. There are many twists and turns [and there were a couple moments where I was like OMG - DUH!] and I will say that Lenno Charles Finch takes us back to Charles Lennox's very first case - The Woman in the Water. Lennox is 23 and has decided to become a detective [much to the dismay of his father] and this book takes us through that very first case; he and Graham are combing the newspapers when Lennox sees a tie between two recent murders and that takes him to Scotland Yard and the mystery unfolds. There are many twists and turns [and there were a couple moments where I was like OMG - DUH!] and I will say that Lennox at 23 is QUITE the drama queen [I may or may not have sprained my eyeballs in rolling them over and over during his exclamations and declarations] and I am really glad that he grew out of that. And you do not get a happy ending, but it is very intriguing. And I enjoyed it very, very much.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I truly enjoyed this prequel to one of my favorite detective series. I love this author's writing that is a wonderful blend of insight into human relationships and masterful storytelling. I listen to the audiobook versions as the narrator, James Langton, portrays the characters masterfully. An example of the kind of description the author employs that delights me is: "A loose conflagration of birds burst from a tree nearby in ragged unison." And, I loved this following phrase: "His accent was fa I truly enjoyed this prequel to one of my favorite detective series. I love this author's writing that is a wonderful blend of insight into human relationships and masterful storytelling. I listen to the audiobook versions as the narrator, James Langton, portrays the characters masterfully. An example of the kind of description the author employs that delights me is: "A loose conflagration of birds burst from a tree nearby in ragged unison." And, I loved this following phrase: "His accent was fairly English now, slipping home to Scotland here and there for certain words." I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration of the relationship between Charles Lenox and his father. Charles was uncertain about pursuing a life as a detective, as it was looked down upon by the class he was born into and he truly desired to have his father's blessing. We learn about his father's response in a poignant way, which moved me to tears. Finally, a profound quote from Charles' father, which I am still pondering on, "The hardest part of losing a person, Charles, is that grief is only an absence, there is nowhere to go to touch it." I listen to a lot of audiobooks, partly because I truly enjoy being read to, and partly because I can complete a task at the same time. However, with this book I found that I wanted to stop and truly listen at different points, especially at the moments that I have pointed out earlier in this review, and I even rewound and listened again at times.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Critterbee❇

    Excellent. I simply adore Charles Finch's writing. We return to Victorian-era England, meet a much younger Charles Lenox, and witness his first real case as a detective. He is 23 years old and living on his own in London. His parents are present, and the parts with his Father and Mother are written so beautifully, with such love and sadness. It was emotional, heartwarming, bittersweet, all that without being syrupy or manipulative or too much. Finch got the balance just right, and I was really t Excellent. I simply adore Charles Finch's writing. We return to Victorian-era England, meet a much younger Charles Lenox, and witness his first real case as a detective. He is 23 years old and living on his own in London. His parents are present, and the parts with his Father and Mother are written so beautifully, with such love and sadness. It was emotional, heartwarming, bittersweet, all that without being syrupy or manipulative or too much. Finch got the balance just right, and I was really touched. Alongside the important presence of Lady Jane, brother Edmund and Graham, we have glimpses of Dr McConnell, we see Charles finding his feet as a consulting detective, and his early interactions with Scotland Yard. The case includes boastful letters announcing that a 'perfect murder' has occurred, and that another will be forthcoming. But are the murders what they seem? So far I have not found any Charles Finch book to be lacking, and this one I liked very well. *eARC Netgalley*

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Honestly, I had a very hard time focusing on the story enough to enjoy it. The opening scenes were quite strong and engaging, but my mind wandered and I think I missed some of the clues as a result. It’s the first prequel to the Charles Lenox series and I was eager to see what so many people loved about it. However, I simply couldn’t concentrate enough to bond with the characters and care about what was going to happen to them. It seems to be a solid mystery and the little twist at the end was we Honestly, I had a very hard time focusing on the story enough to enjoy it. The opening scenes were quite strong and engaging, but my mind wandered and I think I missed some of the clues as a result. It’s the first prequel to the Charles Lenox series and I was eager to see what so many people loved about it. However, I simply couldn’t concentrate enough to bond with the characters and care about what was going to happen to them. It seems to be a solid mystery and the little twist at the end was well done. I'll definitely be reading more of the series because I suspect I will like it better in a different mood. Content: steady profanity (several per chapter) and a single man speaks of love to a married woman Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    3 this book started off so well stars I did enjoy this prequel to the Charles Lenox series. Not having read any of the books in the series, this book was good for me to start with since it introduced the characters and provided some background information on them. While I did enjoy the first half of the book, the second half seemed to drag a bit and there were one or two things that just did not make sense to me. All in all it was a fairly interesting read and would certainly be enough of an encou 3 this book started off so well stars I did enjoy this prequel to the Charles Lenox series. Not having read any of the books in the series, this book was good for me to start with since it introduced the characters and provided some background information on them. While I did enjoy the first half of the book, the second half seemed to drag a bit and there were one or two things that just did not make sense to me. All in all it was a fairly interesting read and would certainly be enough of an encouragement for me to read others in this series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary Truitt Hill

    How delightful to spend some time with the young Charles Lenox and so many of the friends and acquaintances we will come to know in the later books of the series! I hope there will be more stories of the young Lenox.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mystica

    In this book Lenox is disillusioned. His efforts do not seem to be appreciated by Scotland Yard who deride his position as an aristocrat and do not seem to be able to see the man beyond that. On the other hand his own kind the aristocrats themselves look on him as some kind of aberration and an insult to their kind doing a job which is demeaning. This was London in the 1850s. When one woman is found dead, followed by another one quite swiftly Scotland Yard themselves realize that action will have In this book Lenox is disillusioned. His efforts do not seem to be appreciated by Scotland Yard who deride his position as an aristocrat and do not seem to be able to see the man beyond that. On the other hand his own kind the aristocrats themselves look on him as some kind of aberration and an insult to their kind doing a job which is demeaning. This was London in the 1850s. When one woman is found dead, followed by another one quite swiftly Scotland Yard themselves realize that action will have to be taken quickly to prevent rising hysteria amongst its citizens. Lenox and Graham are up against a very skilled and manipulative killer who is clever if not cleverer than all the detectives put together. Descriptive of London in the 1850s both within the upper and the very lower classes of society added much interest to the whole story. Characterization was spot on and the entire book was a delight of the mystery/detective genre.

  27. 4 out of 5

    K

    #charlesfinch #charleslenox Loved this prequel to the Lenox series, my first, appropriately so. Good characters, well defined and well written. Droll. Sharp. Well done. P. S. Thanks, Goodreads and Edelweiss, for the ARCs.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    I'm obsessive about starting any book series with the first book and working my way through. Although I had read (and thoroughly enjoyed) "A Beautiful Blue Death" quite a few years ago, I was reminded of the series again when my library showed they had acquired the audio of the latest book, which is actually the first case Charles Lenox ever solved. This is a wonderful read full of rich descriptions of life in Victorian London. The areas around the Thames are described so well I can almost smell I'm obsessive about starting any book series with the first book and working my way through. Although I had read (and thoroughly enjoyed) "A Beautiful Blue Death" quite a few years ago, I was reminded of the series again when my library showed they had acquired the audio of the latest book, which is actually the first case Charles Lenox ever solved. This is a wonderful read full of rich descriptions of life in Victorian London. The areas around the Thames are described so well I can almost smell the odors emanating from the river. The Scotland Yard detectives are all three-dimensional characters. It will be interesting to watch them interact with Charles as the books move along. I appreciated the family background as well, as it is obvious the dynamics regarding the characters will be in a state of flux. As for the mystery--the plot is solid and the misdirection at several points works well. It was only after certain facts were revealed that I realized they were there if I could have ferreted them out. To me, that makes it a great book. No coincidences or lucky guesses on the way to solving the case; Charles just doggedly gets on with searching and researching. He's a bit like Sherlock Holmes except with fewer inner demons and better social skills.

  29. 5 out of 5

    M.

    Really good read, I look forward to reading more in the series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    The Woman in the Water is the eleventh in the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch, but it takes us back to when Lenox was just twenty-three years old. He’s forty in the first book, so it’s a long trip back in time, but it does suggest there is a lot of potential for more stories. In The Woman in the Water. Lenox has not established his reputation as a detective and is mostly perceived as a joke. Each morning, he and Graham, his valet, go through the papers looking for crime-related stories. The The Woman in the Water is the eleventh in the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch, but it takes us back to when Lenox was just twenty-three years old. He’s forty in the first book, so it’s a long trip back in time, but it does suggest there is a lot of potential for more stories. In The Woman in the Water. Lenox has not established his reputation as a detective and is mostly perceived as a joke. Each morning, he and Graham, his valet, go through the papers looking for crime-related stories. They find one claiming to have committed a perfect crime and announcing their intent to commit another on the month anniversary so they begin to investigate. When they identify the likely first murder, they go to Scotland Yard. Their deductions are soon confirmed by a second body. They begin to investigate, with Lenox officially employed to his chagrin. However, despite their excellent work, Lenox must overcome doubt and contempt by Scotland Yard detective and the shock and disapproval of society. Lenox personal life is also in turmoil. His father is dying and he can’t do anything about it. He loves Elizabeth (Jane) but she is married to someone else. Their friendship is strained by his declaration of love and then by complications of the case. I thought this was a great mystery. It was complex, with multiple layers that needed to be peeled back, with plenty of misdirection and confusion. The villain was as clever as a Moriarty and the somewhat incomplete resolution makes room for more complications in the future. Series mysteries always have this tension between keeping the detective in a kind of stasis, their personal lives nonexistent, just solving mysteries one after the other. Think of Perry Mason who possibly never went on a date in his life. Lenox is just the opposite, getting married, changing career, becoming a parent, and moving beyond detecting to politicking and back again. Sometimes they can get written into a place where there is nowhere to go. Going back to the past is a brilliant approach to revitalize a character like Lenox. From 23 to 40 gives us decades of untapped potential stories. It’s also fun to read when Lenox is more challenged, less certain, having to prove his worth. I received an e-galley of The Woman in the Water from the publisher through NetGalley. The Woman in the Water at St. Martins Press | Macmillan Charles Finch on Facebook https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

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