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An Extravagant Death: Charles Lenox #14    by Charles Finch order for
Extravagant Death
by Charles Finch
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

There's an interesting switch in this story - the Victorian comes to the U.S., instead of the other way around. While Sir Charles Lenox visits, a young socialite is brutally murdered. Since his reputation as a superbly competent detective has preceded him, it is not surprising that he is called upon to assist in the investigation.

Author Finch is known for not only well-written mysteries but also trenchant observations of the atmosphere surrounding them. That is certainly the case here, and since the murder happened in upper class New York, where at that time especially, opulence was there to outdo itself, I'm afraid America and Americans come off rather negatively.

But Lenox's methods of investigation are also interesting. He is very detailed and methodical in private, but in public he seems very indirect, which can throw people off. As we walk with him in the small but very expensive area of Newport, we see him reading people's character as he watches their reactions to the questions he poses. His observational ability is acute, and it is fascinating to see how he is able, one by one, to eliminate the potential murderers until he finally confronts the perpetrator in an unforgettable scene.

At the same time, a most moving aspect of the story is Lenox's yearning for his family and his home and a better sense of himself. Humanity and tenderness along with brainy deduction and personal honor make him a truly interesting sleuth, one who draws us to other books in the series.

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