A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries)

A Beautiful Blue Death - Charles Finch, James Langton This book is just the type I love.  A mystery series set in England, London particularly, with an aristocratic amateur sleuth.  Finch has been recommended to me by customers, not only the ones who pass through, but regulars who have come to know my taste as intimately as I know theirs.So, I am vastly disappointed that I didn't enjoy it very much.  I do know that this is in part because of the narrator.  Langton has a way of reading a phrase and putting too much emphasis on the last word of the sentence, even if it sacrifices fluidity of reading.  His female voices also put my back up -- though in the case of Toto, I think I would dislike her out of principle alone.Finch's detective, Charles Lenox, is a likeable enough character, if a little dense when it comes to his own feelings about his neighbour and childhood friend, the widowed Lady Jane.  It's the death of one of Lady Jane's former servants that begins the mystery.  Add a possible scandal involving the Royal Mint and we have the beginnings of our plot.Finch succeeds in recreating Victorian London for the reader, from Lenox's quiet library to a seedy apothecary near Seven Dials.  Where he falls short, in my mind, is in explaining the solution to the mystery.  Lenox's solves the case and explains it to his friends, then it's reexplained by the killer, just in case we missed it.There were also many passing references to Lenox's earlier cases.  So many, in fact, that I had to double-check that I had not accidentally picked up one of the books further on in the series.  Finch was trying to show Lenox as being in mid-career as an amateur detective, but I found it more distracting from the case at hand than reassuring of Lenox's experience.All told, I might not have finished this book if it had not been a book club choice for later in the year.  I'm also well aware that Langton's reading may have made the book's fault's more visible.  After I have received the book club's verdict, I may give Finch another book as a second chance to win me over.After all, it really should be right up my alley.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.