“The Woman in the Water: A Prequel to the Charles Lenox Series” by Charles Finch
This is a prequel to the Charles Lenox mystery series. Charles, the younger son of a baronet, loves solving puzzles and wants to become a detective. But in his world being a detective is like being a policeman, and is frowned on by his social class. People are starting to avoid him – unless they need his services as a detective!
The story takes place in London in 1805. A London newspaper receives an anonymous letter from someone who claims to have committed the “perfect crime,” one that the police won’t ever be able to solve. Not only that, but the villain promises that in one month they will commit another murder! A young woman’s body is found in a naval trunk. The London press is stirring up alarm about the murder with the public, and the police are not making any progress in solving the case. They reluctantly accept when Charles offers to help.
Charles has many things on his plate. He is dealing with a demanding new housekeeper, Mrs. Huggins, and the fact that his best friend Elizabeth, whom he loves, has married another man! Also, his mother is coming to London to speak to him but won’t reveal why ahead of time. But above all, Charles must use all his wits to discover a cunning murderer who boasts that they will commit another crime soon! This mystery has a wonderful sense of place and lots of details about how the upper class lived in the early 1800s. There are also moments of humor and poignant visits with Charles’ family. And towards the end there is a thrilling race across London when Charles finds out that the person he loves most is threated! If you like lots and twists and turns, an intelligent amateur detective, and a maniacal murderer, you should try this mystery!
Visit Concord Public Library online at concordpubliclibrary.net.