The Book Cellar
“Fiction readers who crush on blue-blooded British detectives will fall hard for Victorian-era sleuth Charles Lenox." —The Washington Post
From the critically acclaimed and USA Today bestselling author Charles Finch comes The Vanishing Man, a prequel to his Charles Lenox Victorian series, in which the theft of an antique painting sends Detective Lenox on a hunt for a criminal mastermind.
London, 1853: Having earned some renown by solving a case that baffled Scotland Yard, young Charles Lenox is called upon by the Duke of Dorset, one of England’s most revered noblemen, for help. A painting of the Duke’s great-grandfather has been stolen from his private study. But the Duke’s concern is not for his ancestor’s portrait; hiding in plain sight nearby is another painting of infinitely more value, one that holds the key to one of the country’s most famous and best-kept secrets.
Dorset believes the thieves took the wrong painting and may return when they realize their error—and when his fears result in murder, Lenox must act quickly to unravel the mystery behind both paintings before tragedy can strike again. As the Dorset family closes ranks to protect its reputation, Lenox uncovers a dark secret that could expose them to unimaginable scandal—and reveals the existence of an artifact, priceless beyond measure, for which the family is willing to risk anything to keep hidden.
In this intricately plotted prequel to the Charles Lenox mysteries, the young detective risks his potential career—and his reputation in high society—as he hunts for a criminal mastermind.
Charles Finch is the USA Today bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, which begin with A Beautiful Blue Death. His first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments, is also available from St. Martin's Press.
Finch received the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation Award, for excellence in reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Washington Post, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.
Praise for The Vanishing Man:
"Lenox’s exploits, laid out in 10 subsequent novels, now share shelf space with other aristocratic crime solvers — Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey, Elizabeth George’s Inspector Thomas Lynley, and Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear’s private detective…Finch’s novels offer more than just cozy yet suspenseful story lines. The Vanishing Man also captures the culture of the time in which it’s set…jump into the carriage with Lenox and hold on tight.” —The Washington Post
"Fans of the series, which set the earlier Lenox novels in the 1860s, will know what's coming in the detective's personal and professional life, but that in no way decreases the pleasure of this account of his earlier life. Finch's nimble prose, edged with humor, makes this twelfth in the Charles Lenox series a pure delight." —Booklist (starred review)
"Rich in period minutiae, [The Vanishing Man] unveils the frightening power of the uppermost classes." —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for The Woman in the Water:
“Prequels are fun...Lenox is a mere whippersnapper in The Woman in the Water...a cunning mystery.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“Lenox has officially reached the big leagues—the conclusion waiting for him is nothing short of chilling. A case with enough momentum to recharge this series and grab new readers with its pull.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Bravo Mr. Finch and keep them coming! More Lenox, please.” —Louise Penny, author of Still Life
“With its splendidly drawn characters and brisk, supple prose, this can be either an inviting introduction to those new to Finch’s accomplished series or a winning addition to the canon for established fans.” —Booklist (starred)
“Finch does a wonderful job of re-creating the atmosphere of mid-19th-century England; his characters are crisply drawn and believable...An excellent addition to an already terrific series.” —Library Journal (starred)
“Finch supplies an extremely clever solution to the murder mystery.” —Publishers Weekly
“A thick, leisurely, British detective novel, studded with memorable characters.” —Hallie Ephron, The Boston Globe on The Laws of Murder
“Finch is a clever plotter and assiduous researcher.” —Seattle Times