An Old Betrayal

An Old Betrayal is Charles Finch’s seventh mystery featuring the British gentleman detective Charles Lenox. Set in the 1860s and ’70s, the books in the series are cleverly plotted, rich in historical detail, and written with wit and clarity. The author is an American who attended Oxford and has lived off and on in England for many years. In an interview, he said he was fascinated by the contrast between the staidness of the Victorian era, during which no gentleman would dare walk through Hyde Park without a hat on, and the dangers of the streets, where gin mills could be found just blocks from Parliament and crime was rampant. As this story begins, Lenox has recently become a member of Parliament, but he continues to hanker for the excitement of detective work. When a case of mistaken identity seems to lead to murder, and a former colleague asks for his assistance in solving the case, he jumps back in. His two sides, politician and detective, are brought together when he determines that the ultimate target of the nefarious scheme is the queen herself. Full of lively subplots, interesting characters and richly detailed scenes, this is an entertaining novel that will whet your appetite for the rest of the series.