The Laws of Murder

Written by Charles Finch
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1876, private investigator Charles Lenox gives up his seat in Parliament after six years. Along with three colleagues, Lord John Dallington, Polly Buchanan, and a Frenchman named LeMaire, they are beginning a new detective agency partnership, although business has been slow to date. Also, to make matters worse, they are getting bad press from one of London’s most popular newspapers. Then a friend of Lenox is murdered: Inspector Thomas Jenkins of Scotland Yard. Detective Nicholson of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate the murder. Mysterious instructions in writing by the dead inspector demand that Lenox assist in the investigation. It would appear that the murder occurred near the front door of the man Lenox has been trying to accuse of several previous crimes. Unfortunately, he too is soon found murdered.

This book can stand alone, although it is an installment of the Charles Lenox mystery series; however, there is no doubt that reading the others probably would have helped me better to understand the development of the main character and his supporting cast rather than the recaps which were provided during this story. The plot is fast-paced and well written. The characters are clearly defined, realistic, well-formed and credible. An excellent book of Victorian England, the story is an exciting blend of history and mystery, a whodunit with a satisfying climax. Highly recommended.