A Burial at Sea
A Charles Lenox Mystery
By Charles Finch Center Point Large Print, 2012
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Boris Segel - April 26, 2012
A Burial at Sea is a Victorian murder mystery that has it all - sailing ships, spies, a journey to distant lands, political skulduggery, and much more. Set in 1873, this story is the newest addition to the Charles Lenox murder mystery series. For those not already familiar with him, Lenox is a forty-two-year-old aristocrat and a member of the British Parliament. In the past he also liked to try his hand at a little amateur detecting, but he has put that occupation aside in order to pursue his political ambitions.
In the role of diplomat, he is occasionally asked to go on diplomatic missions, and it is one such mission that finds him aboard the HMS Lucy, his destination is Egypt and the site of the still-under-construction Suez Canal. However, he finds that he needs to don his detective cap shortly after the ship leaves shore when the body of a murdered man in found. The body is that of Lieutenant Halifax, and the Lenox is asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the lieutenant's death, and if at all possible, identify his killer.
You would think that searching for a killer in a confined space such as a naval vessel would be easier than searching for one on land, but in this case you would be wrong. As Lenox discovers, with more than 200 men aboard, there is no shortage of suspects. Worse, his is prey is both cunning and willing to kill again to protect his identity. Even more perplexing is why would anyone want to kill young Halifax? The answer to this question, who the actual killer is, and what is really going on will keep you guessing until the very end.
A Burial at Sea is Charles Finch's fifth book to feature Lenox. However, if you've not read the others, don't worry. This book can be read as a stand-alone book without any difficulty. When needed, Finch provides enough background details to provide you will any pertinent information about Lenox that you might need, but doesn't go into so much detail that fans of the series will be bored. Throughout, this story is filled with rich historical details, it has a nice cast of characters, and it is at its heart more of a cozy mystery, than a hard-boiled detective story. A must read for not only fans of cozy mysteries, but also for anyone with an interest in the Age of Sail.
The Cater Street Hangman, by Anne Perry.
In this, the first Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novel, Charlotte Ellison, an opinionated but respectable Victorian spinster, helps the police track down a serial killer.
Death in the West Wind, by Deryn Lake.
This is the seventh John Rawlings' mystery set in Georgian England. In this case the detective is on his honeymoon when he is called in to investigate the death of a young woman, whose body is found draped around the figurehead of a ship. When Rawlings discovers that the girl's brother has gone missing, he knows he is onto something more complicated than just a pointless murder.