A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The author has clearly tried to craft a detective in the Lord Peter Wimsey/Albert Campion mold but, well, it's no longer the Golden Age of Mysteries and this just misses. It's not bad, but it's not what the author was trying for either.
The "blue death" refers to a rare poison used on a maid for reasons unknown. Yes, she was a flirt. Yes, she seemed to have more than one boyfriend. But murder? Especially murder disguised as suicide? Enter Charles Lenox, second son (like Lord Peter, but not gifted with a title), gentleman and detective. His relationship with the Yard is similar to that of Holmes, in that he doesn't trust them and Inspector Exeter doesn't like him. Why is Lenox involved? Because his neighbor/childhood friend, Lady Jane asks him to get involved as the now-dead maid was formerly in her employ.
There are trips to Parliament, balls, traipsing through some of the seedier areas of London, the type of Holmesian attention to detail (candles) one hopes for and a discussion of gentlemen's clubs. Plus a vague romance between Lady Jane and Charles. Maybe. The mystery is a little mild with far more effort on setting and atmosphere.