Book: “Home by Nightfall” by Charles Finch

Thumbnail. In this book, falling in the middle of an ongoing late 1800’s mystery series, Charles Lenox, aristocrat detective, handles two mysteries—one in his home of London, and one in the village where he grew up where his older brother still lives and is the Lord of the area. This novel’s tension also contains the stress of the survival of his newish agency, something almost unheard of to this point in history. Hints of violence at a London concert hall, and in the village of Marketplace set up a faster pace than this series often contains. Charles is a kind man, with a wife and daughter he loves, and strong family connections. While there may be bursts of bad behavior setting up the mystery, overall his manners and mindful ways triumph. Notable in this particular book is a brief outburst of anger Charles explodes with at his brother. It is an out-of-character scene, and for that reason is almost more shocking than the story.

What’s to love. This book provides three questions that call out for answers. The book is satisfying in that it does provide the answers. It’s a peek at this period of history, and the beginnings of detection and of Scotland yard. Historical detail mingles with the story. All the while Charles and his now-wife Lady Jane provide a constant of civility, pulling back the curtain on a slice of society during the reign of Queen Victoria.

How to read the series. The Charles Lenox series can be read out of order. There are brief “catch up” comments to clue in the occasional reader. It is a great series to read in order, however, to catch the underlying sweep of the story and the passage of nearly two decades from beginning to end.

Summed up. The series is set up for those who love to put together a puzzle, while liking the people involved, and rooting for their personal and professional success. It should not keep a person up all night reading or laying awake visualizing violence but will provide a storyline to mull over and look forward to continuing.