The Vanishing Man (Charles Lenox Mysteries #0.2)
From the critically acclaimed and USA Today bestselling author Charles Finch comes The Vanishing Man, the second in a prequel trilogy 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.

The Vanishing Man (Charles Lenox Mysteries #0.2) Details

TitleThe Vanishing Man (Charles Lenox Mysteries #0.2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 19th, 2019
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250311368
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Fiction

The Vanishing Man (Charles Lenox Mysteries #0.2) Review

  • Charles Finch
    January 1, 1970
    So keep this under your hat, but INSIDE the Vanishing Man is the complete text of the much anticipated, oft-delayed final Game of Thrones book "The Winds of Winter"! Give five stars and pass along the word please! 😉
  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I so enjoyed this second prequel to the Charles Lenox series. It's so much fun to go back and see how how he developed his career and honed his skills and contacts. I love seeing the interactions between the characters at the beginning of their relationships. It really made me smile. The story starts with Charles landing his first big client, the Duke of Dorset. He is the most powerful Duke in England and often dines with the Queen. The Duke reports a purported break-in at his house and the the I so enjoyed this second prequel to the Charles Lenox series. It's so much fun to go back and see how how he developed his career and honed his skills and contacts. I love seeing the interactions between the characters at the beginning of their relationships. It really made me smile. The story starts with Charles landing his first big client, the Duke of Dorset. He is the most powerful Duke in England and often dines with the Queen. The Duke reports a purported break-in at his house and the theft of one of his paintings. The odd part is that it's not an expensive one but a rather cheap one. Why would anyone take it? The trail leads to a supposed rare picture of William Shakespeare and a hidden play that has never been performed. There is lots of interesting trivia about Shakespeare and how his characters got their names. I found it informative. It's hard to believe that reading a historical novel will lead to so much knowledge about the famous playwright. There is a murder. The Duke is arrested and put in the Tower of London. I liked the journey through the Tower and it's history. In fact, the whole darn book was interesting. If you are looking for an absorbing mystery, a look at the 1850's and learning more about Shakespeare, you will love this book. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Kate Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 out of 5 starsThe early and formative years of young Charles Lenox, as private investigator/detective extraordinaire continue in this second prequel of the Charles Lenox mystery series by talented writer, Charles Finch. The story opens in London, 1853, three years following Lenox's successful solving of a baffling murder in the first prequel, "The Woman in the Water". He continues in his quest searching for work as a detective, much to the puzzlement and scorn of his peers. Money was not wha 4.5 out of 5 starsThe early and formative years of young Charles Lenox, as private investigator/detective extraordinaire continue in this second prequel of the Charles Lenox mystery series by talented writer, Charles Finch. The story opens in London, 1853, three years following Lenox's successful solving of a baffling murder in the first prequel, "The Woman in the Water". He continues in his quest searching for work as a detective, much to the puzzlement and scorn of his peers. Money was not what motivated him. In fact, you couldn't hire him if you wanted to but could merely engage his services. So when the Duke of Dorset sought Charles' assistance with a delicate theft in the Duke's home, it was more the command appearance by someone so high on the peerage chart which set young Lenox on edge. The Duke was convinced that a thief stole the wrong item from his private study as the item adjacent to it held a much higher value. Surprisingly, only the name of the thief was important to the Duke and not necessarily the recapture of the stolen item.As Lenox sets about on his detecting, a kidnapping occurs, a murder, and yet another theft. Through his honed skills of observation, Lenox goes about unraveling the details and working out the various mysteries, all while dealing with the mercurial disposition of a duke.The character development, including that of secondary characters, is rich, humorous and at times, charming. Such lighter moments ease the heaviness of the darker subjects at hand. The descriptive prose is rich and sets well the scene such that one is easily transported to the streets of East London and St. James Park of 1853. The mind of Charles Lenox is that of an inquisitive young man who is continuously honing his skills through ardent study, research and observation. He visits insane asylums to study the minds and motivations of the criminally insane. Lenox's interactions with his young nephew, Lancelot, are absolutely delightful and often confound the detective. If finely written historical mystery is your passion, then this may well be the book for you!I am grateful to author Charles Finch, publisher, St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for having provided an advanced reader e-copy of this book. There generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone.
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    Finch’s mysteries are ironically soothing, atmospheric and nice to the core without straying near the cozy line. Interesting historical and etymological Easter eggs sprinkled through a murder-theft-literary mystery. It’s a reliable series I go to as soon as there’s a new release.
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  • Barb in Maryland
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this second outing with young Charles Lenox, gentleman detective.The blurb gives a good idea of the basic plot, so I won't bother with a recap.The fun, for me, was in watching Lenox interact with the Duke of Dorset. He begins his job for the Duke in a properly deferential manner. Really, he's rather flattered that the Duke asked for his help. Then the Duke shows his true stripes and a good deal of the deference disappears. The give and take between the two is entertaining--I was cheering Enjoyed this second outing with young Charles Lenox, gentleman detective.The blurb gives a good idea of the basic plot, so I won't bother with a recap.The fun, for me, was in watching Lenox interact with the Duke of Dorset. He begins his job for the Duke in a properly deferential manner. Really, he's rather flattered that the Duke asked for his help. Then the Duke shows his true stripes and a good deal of the deference disappears. The give and take between the two is entertaining--I was cheering Lenox on.In addition to dealing with the Duke (and his very dysfunctional family), Lenox is constantly working on improving his investigative skills. He becomes the pupil of a Mr Bonden, who has a reputation for being able to find lost or stolen items. Bonden is also expert at not being noticed; he can ‘vanish’ into the background—a skill that would serve Lenox well in his detecting efforts.There are several other entertaining sub-plots burbling in the background. A young schoolboy cousin comes to stay for two weeks, Lady Jane tries to play matchmaker, and Lenox spends time investigating one of the patients confined to Bedlam who claims to be someone else—imprisoned there in error.By the end, the Duke’s mystery is solved and Lenox has learned a few hard lessons.Bring on the next book! I’m ready.
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  • Cara Putman
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoy the Charles Lenox mysteries, and this one was no exception. It is fascinating to get a sense of London in 1853, and to see a younger Charles Lenox. There's also a corking good mystery, with enough layers and twists to keep my happy and engaged. I enjoy the author's writing and look forward to the next Charles Lenox mystery.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I have enjoyed all of the Charles Lenox books and thought this portrayal of a younger, somewhat peppier version of the gentleman detective rather fun. In a twinkling he looks over a walled embankment seeing a couple skiffs at rest and yells down to ask if he can hire a ride, climbing over said wall and down a ladder to the Thames. He is 26 in this prequel and Lady Jane about 21.Lenox with the help of a certain "finder" by the name of Bonden as well as his trusty valet manage to unravel a twisted I have enjoyed all of the Charles Lenox books and thought this portrayal of a younger, somewhat peppier version of the gentleman detective rather fun. In a twinkling he looks over a walled embankment seeing a couple skiffs at rest and yells down to ask if he can hire a ride, climbing over said wall and down a ladder to the Thames. He is 26 in this prequel and Lady Jane about 21.Lenox with the help of a certain "finder" by the name of Bonden as well as his trusty valet manage to unravel a twisted mystery centered in the realm of one high and mighty Duke of Dorset. Part of this complex tapestry is uncovering a mysterious, long-held clue to a possible final play written by Shakespeare.A source of comic relief is the young cousin Lancelot who is in temporary residence along with his pea shooter. He is used successfully to bring the pompous Duke in this story down a peg or two.I want some unfinished threads to be revealed sooner rather than later. Next book, please!Note: The beginning of this book is rather rough, and I suspect it may have been caused by releasing the first part of the book as a freebie to those on the internet clamoring for his next book. Maybe? In other words, don't be put off by the slow and sometimes stumbling start. The book gets much better as you go along.
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  • Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    The arrival of a new Charles Lenox book is always a day to be treasured. The creation of Charles Finch, Lenox is an aristocrat, a former Member of Parliament, and a private detective. The books are set in Victorian London, and so far there hasn’t been a dud in the bunch; this book being no exception.“The Vanishing Man” is a prequel to the main series, and it is excellent. Charles may be young, but he is just as clever and perspicacious as in his later life, although of course his life experience The arrival of a new Charles Lenox book is always a day to be treasured. The creation of Charles Finch, Lenox is an aristocrat, a former Member of Parliament, and a private detective. The books are set in Victorian London, and so far there hasn’t been a dud in the bunch; this book being no exception.“The Vanishing Man” is a prequel to the main series, and it is excellent. Charles may be young, but he is just as clever and perspicacious as in his later life, although of course his life experience is lesser. He is trying to become a private detective, although he is unsure what to call it. Called upon by the Duke of Dorset to solve a theft, Lenox gets involved in an exciting, convoluted situation. I don’t like spoilers, so I am not going to give any, suffice it to say that it is very hard to put down this book.I have enjoyed the entire series of Lenox books, and I am enjoying the prequels, of which this is the second of a planned trilogy. I highly recommend this book, and I am looking forward to the third one.
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  • Sophia
    January 1, 1970
    We come to the second book in a trio of prequel stories in the Charles Lenox series that go back to the beginning when Charles is first getting started on his amateur detecting work. This latest mystery brings him into contact with the powerful Duke of Dorset's household, an old family trust involving the Bard, and the true challenge of not murdering his mischievous young cousin Lancelot who is visiting Charles during his school holidays.The Vanishing Man is the second of a prequel trilogy. It c We come to the second book in a trio of prequel stories in the Charles Lenox series that go back to the beginning when Charles is first getting started on his amateur detecting work. This latest mystery brings him into contact with the powerful Duke of Dorset's household, an old family trust involving the Bard, and the true challenge of not murdering his mischievous young cousin Lancelot who is visiting Charles during his school holidays.The Vanishing Man is the second of a prequel trilogy. It could be read standalone or I suppose new readers can begin the series with the first book in this prequel and continue on from there. I think the best way is to start with the series' release order and the first Charles Lenox mystery because it makes this prequel set more poignant knowing what is to come of it in the lives of the characters.Charles just came off a case that he solved, but the solution didn't bring all the satisfaction he wanted. He made mistakes that cost him. He is determined to learn all he can to shore up his knowledge so his mistakes will become fewer as time goes on. He may be the oddity and laughingstock to his peers and betters, but he is set on his path of being a consulting private detective. Getting a summons from the great Duke of Dorset is an opportunity he cannot pass up especially when the duke shares a secret family trust involving a painting of Shakespeare that only a handful of people know exist.Busy working on the case the duke presented him, Charles' life is also filled with his ongoing criminal investigation self-education like his visits to Bedlam each week to interview criminals and his days spent observing pick pockets, and now his chance to shadow a 'finder'. His unrequited love for Lady Jane and her marriage that keeps him in the friends category also has her busy attempting marriage matches for him. Meanwhile, Charles' annoying cousin and proud owner of a peashooter he uses on Charles keeps him and his household on his toes. Though, that scene when Lancelot took a pompous duke to task had me laughing so hard that I cried.Much of the book is a gently-paced plot following Charles as he tracks down clues, sorts out the wheat from the chaff, and then noses out the solution. There is a murder, but it is not the focus of the investigation and only one of the pieces. I really enjoy the younger detecting Charles and his life at this time, but also the surrounding cast of characters who are always part of his life and work.And so, the second leg of the prequel trilogy provided an engaging group of mysteries as part of his latest case and I enjoyed being along for this new installment in the Charles Lenox series. Those who enjoy well described and well developed plots and characters in Victorian era historical mysteries should take a look-see at this series.I rec'd this book from Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Melissa Dee
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a big Charles Finch fan, and this, the second prequel in the Charles Lenox series, is a very good addition! Finch’s language is measured and stately, and matches Lenox’s seriousness well. The book is full of the unexpected love of families, the peculiarity of the British aristocracy, and the mystery of William Shakespeare.Lenox is a young detective, long before his relationship with Lady Jane develops beyond friendship, and he is brought in by a powerful duke to find a missing painting. In t I’m a big Charles Finch fan, and this, the second prequel in the Charles Lenox series, is a very good addition! Finch’s language is measured and stately, and matches Lenox’s seriousness well. The book is full of the unexpected love of families, the peculiarity of the British aristocracy, and the mystery of William Shakespeare.Lenox is a young detective, long before his relationship with Lady Jane develops beyond friendship, and he is brought in by a powerful duke to find a missing painting. In the process, he sets in train a number of themes that will play out in further novels.I enjoyed the introduction of historical characters in cameo parts (Audubon, Darwin, Harriet Beecher Stowe) as a device for setting Lenox in his correct time and place.Although I’m enjoying the prequels, I’m hoping that Finch returns to the main story soon and continues the development of Lenox and Lady Jane's story!I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    He just keeps getting BETTER. I've loved Charles Lenox from the very beginning, but each book Finch writes endears him to me a little more. Not only are the characters delightful and complex, but the plot is wonderfully researched and exposed tantalizingly. The addition of cousin Lancelot was brilliant and in my opinion, chapter nineteen of The Vanishing Man is the best stuff Charles Finch has ever written....and that's saying something!I learned more about Shakespeare, order of royal lineage, a He just keeps getting BETTER. I've loved Charles Lenox from the very beginning, but each book Finch writes endears him to me a little more. Not only are the characters delightful and complex, but the plot is wonderfully researched and exposed tantalizingly. The addition of cousin Lancelot was brilliant and in my opinion, chapter nineteen of The Vanishing Man is the best stuff Charles Finch has ever written....and that's saying something!I learned more about Shakespeare, order of royal lineage, and Bedlam in one book than I have in many years. Congratulations, Charles Finch! Book of the year!
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  • Benjamin Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    London, 1853. Young Charles Lenox is still learning his chosen trade of private instigator/detective (he isn’t quite sure what to call himself). Business has been very slow to come his way, but he finally lands a whale in the form of none other than the Duke of Dorset. Seems the Duke has been robbed of a painting from his private study, but the real mystery is why was the painting right next to it, a painting of inestimably greater value not taken instead? Lenox’s perusal of the case takes him a London, 1853. Young Charles Lenox is still learning his chosen trade of private instigator/detective (he isn’t quite sure what to call himself). Business has been very slow to come his way, but he finally lands a whale in the form of none other than the Duke of Dorset. Seems the Duke has been robbed of a painting from his private study, but the real mystery is why was the painting right next to it, a painting of inestimably greater value not taken instead? Lenox’s perusal of the case takes him all through London, including the Bedlam “hospital” and even to the Tower of London. The case itself evolves into a murder investigation as well as a treasure hunt based on clues uncovered along the way.This is the second book of the prequel novels to the Charles Lenox mystery series. I have not read the main series, nor the first of the prequels, but based on my reading of this book, I certainly plan to correct that situation. The book reads well as a stand-alone and I don’t feel penalized for not having read its predecessor, but I can imagine I might have missed a few aspects. For example, the young character of Lancelot is marvelous, and I could easily see him having a primary role in the main series. I look forward to finding out. This was a very pleasurable read and even though I’ve read quite a few novels set in London during this time frame, I feel like I learned quite a lot. It was interesting to see how the justice system affected people of different classes, especially the Duke who is among the highest ranking of all. Add the fact that Lenox is but a commoner, and we have some intriguing interactions to be sure. The pacing moves along nicely but the author does not skip on the building of his characters. The dialog seemed quite realistic to me and while it assisted the plot along, it was also humorous in spots which made this an even more enjoyable read.Bottom line is that this was a fun book to read, with an interesting historical mystery or three to keep the reader engaged. And I have a new author to add to my reading future, one that already has a head start in making the top tier.Highly recommended.
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  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for an eGalley of this novel.I liked this book but didn't find it engrossing. I could put it down and go away without feeling that tug in my mind to hurry up and get back to reading it. This is the second book in a prequel trilogy so the author has used this time to show readers what Charles Lennox was up against in 1853 London when he was trying to establish himself as an investigator? or a detective? He can't quite make up his min Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for an eGalley of this novel.I liked this book but didn't find it engrossing. I could put it down and go away without feeling that tug in my mind to hurry up and get back to reading it. This is the second book in a prequel trilogy so the author has used this time to show readers what Charles Lennox was up against in 1853 London when he was trying to establish himself as an investigator? or a detective? He can't quite make up his mind what to call himself. At this point Lennox is 26 years old and has been picking up cases in his new profession for three years. Lady Jane Grey lives in the house next door and has lots of free time to be part of the world Lennox is making for himself because her husband is away most of the time serving in the military. So there you have it on the day Lennox responds to a request from the Duke of Dorset for an interview and discovers a missing painting and a potential client who is very sure of his importance in the English nobility.I didn't find this plot to be very interesting or the mystery difficult to solve. What was very interesting was the clear, concise explanation of the titles and ranks of the nobility. I've read many authors who have tried to simplify that but this is the best yet for me. I also enjoyed the information on how some common words came into being, one example being the word tips. I'll leave that for you to discover for yourself. I'm sure I will read the final prequel in this trilogy, but I am also sure I will be glad when Lennox and his friends and staff get themselves back to where I left them before all this prequel stuff began.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    I do enjoy the Charles Lenox stories and consistently read these books. The atmosphere and characters are beautifully drawn. This installment was very entertaining, but there were times that I was abruptly pulled out of the narrative. For example, there was a reference to a green banker's lamp. My mind immediately began wondering what a green banker's lamp was like before electricity and, of course, a quick Wikipedia search confirmed these lamps were not invented until 1909. That's a problem for I do enjoy the Charles Lenox stories and consistently read these books. The atmosphere and characters are beautifully drawn. This installment was very entertaining, but there were times that I was abruptly pulled out of the narrative. For example, there was a reference to a green banker's lamp. My mind immediately began wondering what a green banker's lamp was like before electricity and, of course, a quick Wikipedia search confirmed these lamps were not invented until 1909. That's a problem for a book set in the 1850s. Another example, at one point, Lady Jane refers to "Violet" but it should actually be "Effie." Additionally, there are the numerous word histories, which I find genuinely interesting. However, they immediately draw my attention away from the character of Charles Lenox and scream the voice of the well-educated author, Charles Finch. Finally, the last few sentences of the book switch to the POV of Edmund after a consistent Charles POV throughout the book. While this POV reveals a charming truth about Edmund looking out for his brother, the switch is abrupt. This book is a well-written book, but it needed better editing.
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  • OLT
    January 1, 1970
    A few years back I read perhaps three or four Charles Lenox mysteries, the ones taking place in the 1860s, when Charles was already established as an upper-class private detective. Author Finch now is providing us with some prequels set in the 1850s, in which a younger Lenox is trying to establish himself as a sleuth for hire. This is the second one, following THE WOMAN IN THE WATER, which I confess to not having read.Here we find Charles hired by the Duke of Dorset to recover a painting of one A few years back I read perhaps three or four Charles Lenox mysteries, the ones taking place in the 1860s, when Charles was already established as an upper-class private detective. Author Finch now is providing us with some prequels set in the 1850s, in which a younger Lenox is trying to establish himself as a sleuth for hire. This is the second one, following THE WOMAN IN THE WATER, which I confess to not having read.Here we find Charles hired by the Duke of Dorset to recover a painting of one of his ancestors which had been stolen from his home. Strangely enough, Charles notes that the stolen painting, which was of little value or import, had been hanging next to what seems to be a very valuable, old, and seemingly authentic painting of William Shakespeare. This leads to an interesting case for Lenox, with a kidnapping, another attempted theft, a murder, and the search for a previously unknown play by Shakespeare.We have a cast of characters including those in Charles' private life, such as his neighbor Lady Jane, his brother Edmund, his valet Graham, and his amusing 12-year-old cousin who is staying with him at the moment, and those involved in the case, such as the duke and various members of his family and household staff, a rather mysterious "finder" named Bonden, who seems to be able to solve mysteries and find missing things just by staying in one spot and observing everything for hours, and various other tertiaries to round out this Victorian mystery.The Lenox mysteries are all good period pieces but they are also very much in the cozy style. The reader finds himself safely in the upper-class milieu for the most part with very little of the ugly, seamy side of life or poverty and struggle of the middle and lower classes to be found. You feel safe and comfy even while reading about murderers and thieves.In addition to the cozy, comfortable feel of a Lenox mystery, there is also author Finch's usual addition of "educational" tidbits for the reader. This time he throws in ranking in the peerage, history of Bedlam Hospital, some bits about the Tower of London and about the Great Fire, origin of words and phrases such as traffic jam, clue, cottages, and speculation about William Shakespeare, who is still, to this day, somewhat of a mystery figure.One more thing I will mention. I have enjoyed past Charles Lenox books set in the 1860s, but mainly for the period detail and for the mystery itself. Protagonist Lenox always came across as bland, boring and staid, and his relationships, especially that with Lady Jane, a bit phlegmatic. In this book, Lenox seems more personable, with a rather wry sense of humor. I especially enjoyed his relationship with 12-year-old Lancelot. I guess either I wasn't reading the previous books carefully enough or author Finch has improved his main character's personality.
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  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First Sentence: Once a month or so, just to keep his hand in the game, Charles Lennox liked to go shopping with his friend Lady Jane Grey. Charles Lennox had success with his first outing as a Private Enquiry Agent and is now being called on by The Duke of Dorset to investigate the theft of a painting. But it's not what was taken which is the mystery, but what was not; a painting much more valuable. Lenox fear of the thief realizing the mistake and returning seems to be realized when a murder oc First Sentence: Once a month or so, just to keep his hand in the game, Charles Lennox liked to go shopping with his friend Lady Jane Grey. Charles Lennox had success with his first outing as a Private Enquiry Agent and is now being called on by The Duke of Dorset to investigate the theft of a painting. But it's not what was taken which is the mystery, but what was not; a painting much more valuable. Lenox fear of the thief realizing the mistake and returning seems to be realized when a murder occurs. But are the paintings the real objects of attention, or is there something more precious at stake?Whether it is a series one has long read, or one to which someone is new, being introduced to the characters from their very start establishes a link to them and almost an intimacy of friendship. It is that which Finch has accomplished through the prequels, this being the second, he has written. Finch brings the characters to life, whether they are directly involved in the mystery, or are part of Lenox's personal life. How can one not like a protagonist who carries with him a small book of Shakespeare's quotations? For those who love Shakespeare, this is a wonderful story, indeed. Finch paints an excellent picture of the period. From an explanation of noble titles down to a visit to Bedlam, we are provided a vivid sense of the time. And what a sad commentary of the time it is that even the daughter of a Duke would be deemed unlikely to marry had she not so done by the age of 30. The small details of life, custom, and society are fascinating. Imagine mail being delivered seven times a day, seven days a week. The resolution of one mystery is well deduced, providing a nice twist and a loopback in the story to a very interesting character. However, it is the larger mystery behind the original one which is most intriguing. What a completely tantalizing resolution there is, and one of nearly divine retribution, albeit a rather sad ending for those involved. Yet, once the criminal is identified, one discovers a motive that is as old as time."The Vanishing Man" is a wonderfully done trip back in time. It is filled with excellent characters, fascinating information, and a resolution related to the cost of pride.THE VANISHING MAN (HistMys-Charles Lenox-England-1853) – VG+ Finch, Charles – 12th in series; 2nd Prequel Minotaur Books – February 2019
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    All of the Lenox novels are generally charming, and keep the readers that have been hooked waiting for the next installment. This one falls a bit short for me, with a featured story that never really held my interest, and a side story that just didn't seem important enough to even be included. Even so, as with the Holmes and Watson shorts and novels, this reader reads Lenox more for the characters and setting than the stories. The usual suspects are here, with the addition of Bonden, the coolest All of the Lenox novels are generally charming, and keep the readers that have been hooked waiting for the next installment. This one falls a bit short for me, with a featured story that never really held my interest, and a side story that just didn't seem important enough to even be included. Even so, as with the Holmes and Watson shorts and novels, this reader reads Lenox more for the characters and setting than the stories. The usual suspects are here, with the addition of Bonden, the coolest character since Dallington. Dallington is sadly sidelined in the prequels, too young to play a role yet, although he did make an appearance as a toddler in Woman in the Water. Lenox is 26 years old in this one, and has been perfectly trained by his aristocrat parents to be both arrogant and helpless. He practically needs his manservant Graham, also 26, to butter his toast for him. Yes, he seems at times to be aware of his ridiculously privileged life, but being aware is where it ends. He is perfectly content living like a king and being waited on by a team of servants, at age 26 and without ever a day's work, well, just because he is a gentleman! On a side note, I counted at least three typos, and a mistake with one of the character's names. No more time off for the proofreader.
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  • Santhi
    January 1, 1970
    I was set on 4 stars until the brotherly love changed my mind ;D
  • Barbara Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries – Prequel #2Publication Date: 2/19/19Number of Pages: 304The Vanishing Man is a wonderful addition to the Prequel series for Charles Lenox Mysteries and it is set three years after the first of the prequel novels A Woman In The Water. As always, it is well-written and well-plotted. I have read all of the books in the Charles Lenox series and it is nice to now go back in time and meet a younger and more unsure Charles who is just feeling his way into his chosen pro Series: Charles Lenox Mysteries – Prequel #2Publication Date: 2/19/19Number of Pages: 304The Vanishing Man is a wonderful addition to the Prequel series for Charles Lenox Mysteries and it is set three years after the first of the prequel novels A Woman In The Water. As always, it is well-written and well-plotted. I have read all of the books in the Charles Lenox series and it is nice to now go back in time and meet a younger and more unsure Charles who is just feeling his way into his chosen profession. The author does an excellent job of putting you in that time and place and making you feel the censure Charles gets from his peers for choosing that profession. While the mystery is excellent, two of my favorite things had nothing to do with it – one was the excellent outline of the British peerage, it was excellently done, and another was learning the origins of some words like ‘tips’ and ‘clue’. I might also add that if I were just newly coming to this series now, I would prefer to read the prequels before starting on the series itself. For one thing, the travel back in time is a bit of a shock to the system and it is bittersweet to get to know some people when you already know what their future holds.In this book, Charles is still fairly melancholy and missing his father a lot. The author did an excellent job of putting you in Charles’ place and making you understand his grief and loss. Charles also does a bit of pining for what might have been between him and Jane. On a lighter note, I absolutely loved Charles’ young cousin, Lancelot, who was staying with him over the two-week term break at Eton. There is a scene in there between Lancelot and the Duke of Dorset that will have you in stitches!Charles still hasn’t decided what to call himself – Private Investigator – Private Detective – he just can’t decide and since there are no others like him, it is up to him. Since his last case, things have been pretty slow for Charles – and then he gets a summons from the Duke of Dorset. So, things are looking up.Charles arrives at the Duke’s home and is taken directly to the duke’s private-private study (you’ll understand when you read the book) where the duke tells him that there has been a robbery and he wants Charles to solve it. A painting with little value has been stolen from the room they are in, but the duke is convinced that the thief got the wrong painting. There is a priceless painting hanging directly beside the one that was stolen and the duke is sure that is the one the thieves wanted. After hearing the entire tale, Charles isn’t so sure that the thieves took the wrong painting. What was surprising was that the duke was only interested in the name of the thief, he wasn’t interested at all in recovering the painting.Charles is busy trying to track down the painting when the duke is kidnapped and a ransom demand is left behind. Now, Charles has two mysteries to solve! Then – there is a murder and Charles has three cases to juggle. It will take all of his investigational skills and observational skills to figure out what is happening. He also meets Thaddeus Bonden who is famed for ‘finding’ things and Bonden agrees to help and to mentor Charles in some skills Charles feels he is lacking.There is excellent character development from the first book to this one and it is nice to be able to explore the early relationships between Charles and his brother as well as Charles and Lady Jane. The love between Charles and his brother, Edwin, is plain to see and I enjoyed their interactions. All of the relationships in Charles’ life – Edwin, Graham, Mrs. Huggins, Lady Jane – are all rich, charming and funny. Then you add in the mischievous Lancelot into the mix and you have some lovely light moments that alleviate those darker ones.I love Charles’ continuing pursuit of knowledge in the field of his craft. Part of that pursuit causes him to visit bedlam weekly to speak with criminally insane inmates. He wants to understand the criminal mind. Charles is insatiably curious about almost everything and that all goes a long way to help him develop the necessary skills he needs.I definitely recommend this book and this series. It is very well written and the research is impeccable. You feel as if you are in that place and time along with the characters in the book. Well done Mr. Finch. Please check out my reviews at:Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages...Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRevTwitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview"I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
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  • Katherine Collmer
    January 1, 1970
    After reading the Charles Lenox books back-to-back this past summer, I was thrilled to find that Charles Finch was going to take his readers back even further in history so that we could learn about Lenox’s early life, First with The Woman in the Water and now The Vanishing Man. It was almost crucial and fair that he did so because this series invites you into the Lenox family and mid-19th century England in such a way that you feel you must know more! Mr. Finch’s writing style creates a not jus After reading the Charles Lenox books back-to-back this past summer, I was thrilled to find that Charles Finch was going to take his readers back even further in history so that we could learn about Lenox’s early life, First with The Woman in the Water and now The Vanishing Man. It was almost crucial and fair that he did so because this series invites you into the Lenox family and mid-19th century England in such a way that you feel you must know more! Mr. Finch’s writing style creates a not just a setting in his books but a world, one in which you enter and become compelled to stay. His words create a rich sense of pride in one’s history where the characters adhere to rules and respect those that have done the same before them. His understanding of the British upper class and the role they played in this period sets the stage for personal and professional relationships that are both complex and intimate, making them complicated in a way that creates dimension and form to the story line. Mr. Finch’s stories are cleverly plotted and take Lennox into intriguing situations that mix cultural differences, moral priorities, and family ties. But even after all of these very wonderful reasons to read The Vanishing Man and all of the Lenox books, the best reason is the people you will meet along your journey with Lenox. Mr. Finch has developed and shaped characters, especially Lenox, that share their humor, frankness, and heartfelt emotions in a way that will have you feeling like part of the story itself! If you are just beginning this series, I cannot advise you about whether or not you should start with the prequels; but I have to say, coming to know the young Lenox has been a real treat and added bonus to the story of his life. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Finch in Scottsdale, AZ, at a book signing at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore and I urge you to do the same if he comes to your area. His easy manor and wry humor make him an engaging speaker and helps you come to understand why he is such a skilled writer! No spoilers here because I want you to have the ultimate enjoyment of traveling through the story of The Vanishing Man all on your own.
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    I really do not know how these books just keep getting better, but somehow they do.The Vanishing Man is the second prequel to the Lenox series. I've been reading this series for years, and last year's The Woman in the Water was such a joy to read. This is a series that is so well-written that you truly feel like you're there in Victorian England with the characters. Going back to the beginning to see Charles as a young detective beginning to find his way was just so much fun to read. So I was ve I really do not know how these books just keep getting better, but somehow they do.The Vanishing Man is the second prequel to the Lenox series. I've been reading this series for years, and last year's The Woman in the Water was such a joy to read. This is a series that is so well-written that you truly feel like you're there in Victorian England with the characters. Going back to the beginning to see Charles as a young detective beginning to find his way was just so much fun to read. So I was very happy to hear that The Vanishing Man would be another prequel, and I loved it even more than the previous book.If you have not read any books by this author yet, I really do recommend starting with at least a few of his older books. Seeing the characters develop over time is so rewarding and makes the prequels even more enjoyable.I love all of the historical details in these books, but I think the thing I love best is the relationships that the characters have with each other. A lot of the "side characters" add humor but also warmth and humanity to this series.Really well done, Charles Finch!
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  • Linda Baker
    January 1, 1970
    The second prequel of the long-running Charles Lenox series after last year's The Woman in the Water shows the 26-year-old Lenox at somewhat of a career ebb. This ebb occurs after Lenox has solved a case that Scotland Yard could not. A summons comes from the immensely rich and powerful Duke of Dorset, "the third man in England". A painting has been stolen from the Duke's private study but not the painting the Duke might have expected; a small and unassuming portrait purported to be of William Sh The second prequel of the long-running Charles Lenox series after last year's The Woman in the Water shows the 26-year-old Lenox at somewhat of a career ebb. This ebb occurs after Lenox has solved a case that Scotland Yard could not. A summons comes from the immensely rich and powerful Duke of Dorset, "the third man in England". A painting has been stolen from the Duke's private study but not the painting the Duke might have expected; a small and unassuming portrait purported to be of William Shakespeare. The Duke wants Lenox to not only find the stolen portrait but to find out why it was stolen rather than the Shakespeare. Lenox is aware that there are facts hidden by the Duke, but one does not say no to the Duke of Dorset. HIs quest takes him into the highest and lowest parts of society in 1853 England and the dangers inherent in getting on the "wrong side" of a Duke. There is also the search for a missing Shakespeare play, family drama, the mystery of a man in Bedlam who claims to be not mad, but there because he ran afoul of the Royal Family, and a meeting with "The Vanishing Man" of the title. "The Vanishing Man" may just help Lenox hone his detecting skills in the future. I certainly hope so.I have been a fan of the Charles Lenox series since the first novel, "A Beautiful Blue Death". However, the most recent prequel novels have increased my appreciation exponentially. Seeing the difficulties he encountered, the mistakes he made, and his determination to pursue his career make him even more attractive than the 40-something gentleman we first met. I can see the support and love of his family that made his career possible, and that of his now-wife, Lady Jane. One of the greatest pleasures of the Charles Lenox Mysteries are the little facts inserted into the text so effortlessly. For example, the origin of the word "tips", the "cock and bull story" and a description of Italian pudding. It turns out that it is an Italian variation of the English "trifle". Italian pudding, "Zuppa Inglese", is made with a liqueur not available in North America, but I plan to work on that!I highly recommend the Charles Lenox mysteries and the prequel novels in particular. Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    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.Sometimes prequels are not great, especially if you know what is going to happen to the charac 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.Sometimes prequels are not great, especially if you know what is going to happen to the characters later on in life. There was a bit of this with the interaction of Charles and Lady Jane. She is one of my favorite characters with her constant search for Charles a bride. And all along knowing that she will be his which did not spoil this story. And now I have another favorite character--Lancelot. Way to go young man. I was laughing at him so very hard. While Charles would say that Lancelot is not perfect. Far from it, in fact. Lancelot certainly had his way with the Duke. Until the last couple of years, I had no idea what young men could be like but like the cook, Lancelot can come an stay with me anytime.As far as the story, I was definitely surprised as to how it unfolded. I certainly had not guessed the perpetrator of the crime. A couple more clues or perhaps making the ones that were in there a little more obvious might have helped. But alas we must work with what is given. And was I satisfied with the conclusion? Not totally. Nor do I think Charles was either. A jolly good story and a prequel worth reading. I received a copy of the book for review. The comments are my very own.
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  • Michelle Kidwell
    January 1, 1970
    The Vanishing ManA Prequel to the Charles Lenox Seriesby Charles FinchSt. Martin’s PressMinotaur BooksHistorical Fiction , Mystery & ThrillersPub Date 19 Feb 2019I am reviewing a copy of The Vanishing Man through St.Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books and Netgalley:In London in 1853 Young Charles Lenox is called upon by the Duke of Dorset one of England’s most reverend nobleman for help after he earned some renowned solving a case that had baffled Scotland Yard. A painting of The Duke’s Grandfathe The Vanishing ManA Prequel to the Charles Lenox Seriesby Charles FinchSt. Martin’s PressMinotaur BooksHistorical Fiction , Mystery & ThrillersPub Date 19 Feb 2019I am reviewing a copy of The Vanishing Man through St.Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books and Netgalley:In London in 1853 Young Charles Lenox is called upon by the Duke of Dorset one of England’s most reverend nobleman for help after he earned some renowned solving a case that had baffled Scotland Yard. A painting of The Duke’s Grandfather was stolen but he’s concerned they took the wrong painting because the one hanging close to it is valuable. A portrait that holds the key to the country’s most famous and best kept secrets.Dorset is fairly certain that the thieves took the wrong painting and may return when they realize they took the wrong painting. When Dorset’s fears result in murder. Lenox must act quickly to unravel the mystery behind both of the paintings before tragedy strikes again. Just as Lenox start to draw in Dorset’s family closes rank trying to cover up a dark secret from her past.I give The Vanishing Man five out of five stars!Happy Reading!
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  • Winnie
    January 1, 1970
    Shakespeare.
  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy scholarly mysteries, and I loved the mystery in this novel. Charles Lenox is in good form, and there’s a certain amount of focus on how Lenox learned his trade. Lady Jane figures in the novel, as does Charles’ brother Edmund. (I absolutely wanted to hug Edmund at a certain point in the story...) But Lancelot very nearly runs away with whole show. All in all I found this a delightful addition to the Charles Lenox arc.
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  • Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
    January 1, 1970
    I've missed Charles so much!---- Edit: 03.03.2019 - Sooo... I've listened to this book twice in a little over a week. I decided to restart the series and took the opportunity to relisten tothis title. SO GOOD!!!!!!!
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I love books that tell an interesting story and have interesting characters and I want to know what happens, but I don’t have to rush through it to find out what happens. I can read a bit each day and enjoy it. This was that.
  • Helen Howerton
    January 1, 1970
    Much as I like Charles Lenox and his adventures, in reading The Vanishing Man I recall why I don’t necessarily enjoy prequels. Faithful readers of the books by Charles Finch know what has happened in the lives of Lenox, his next-door neighbor Jane Grey, and even Graham, his faithful “man” and friend. Thus, any fictional deep sighs or “'woe is ‘mes’” by the book’s protagonist seem quite disingenuous. And boy, are there plenty of those in this book. Indeed, one may wonder why Charles Finch decided Much as I like Charles Lenox and his adventures, in reading The Vanishing Man I recall why I don’t necessarily enjoy prequels. Faithful readers of the books by Charles Finch know what has happened in the lives of Lenox, his next-door neighbor Jane Grey, and even Graham, his faithful “man” and friend. Thus, any fictional deep sighs or “'woe is ‘mes’” by the book’s protagonist seem quite disingenuous. And boy, are there plenty of those in this book. Indeed, one may wonder why Charles Finch decided to take this approach. Perhaps to avoid the “spoiler syndrome” if a new reader picks up this book. Perhaps the lady reviewer doth protest too much. Oh, did I just mis-quote Shakespeare? You’ll know why, as I proceed.Here, we have Charles still struggling as a “private detective.” Charles is on a case: someone has stolen a painting from the Duke of Dorset. The painting itself is not important, the Duke says; the identity of the thief is. What wasn’t taken was the painting next to it; supposedly, according to the author, that is, the only extant portrait of William Shakespeare (okay, cue mighty suspension of disbelief here). Later -- much later, it takes this book a long while to get going -- there comes a shooting, and the Duke confesses to it. And readers find out about a secret that has been passed down in the Duke’s family for generations, from father to son. The Duke needs Lennox’s help to fix this mess, and mess it is, the plot is awfully quirky and convoluted; remember I mentioned that “suspension of disbelief” thing, earlier? Eventually, we have a resolution, of course, albeit a surprising one, in keeping with the surprising plot. Although perhaps not so surprising, because how else can it end? Shakespeare summed it up rather well: “This was the most unkindest cut of all.”Along the way there’s new and interesting people to meet, and backstories and side stories. Herein is the pleasure of the book; the characters are delineated, made real. They populate Charles’s world as living people, even the Duke’s family, who are unappealing, hard to take in then and almost impossible to understand today. Charles is also learning how to be a detective in this book, in subtle ways that will be familiar to readers of modern detective stories. Although his self-recriminations get somewhat tedious; remember what I said about this being a prequel. At least he realizes he has a gift. “We know what we are but know not what we may be.” Hamlet said that, and unfortunately, look what happened to him. But Charles Lennox has a brighter future in store. Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for a copy of this book, in exchange for this review.
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  • Constance
    January 1, 1970
    I have read the main series about Charles Lenox and when the author Charles Finch wrote the first prequel I was a bit frustrated. I wanted to read the continuing story of Charles Lenox and the friends I had grown to enjoy, see how the story unfolded but now I am a convert. This is the second prequel and it is even better than the first. Reading about the young detective learning the ropes and learning more about his young adventures will only make the next one in the main series more enjoyable. I have read the main series about Charles Lenox and when the author Charles Finch wrote the first prequel I was a bit frustrated. I wanted to read the continuing story of Charles Lenox and the friends I had grown to enjoy, see how the story unfolded but now I am a convert. This is the second prequel and it is even better than the first. Reading about the young detective learning the ropes and learning more about his young adventures will only make the next one in the main series more enjoyable. The research that goes into making this era come alive is extensive but even more impressive is how gracefully, skillfully, it is inserted in the story. The best part of the prequel is getting to read about Charles and Graham's relationship both working and personal. This is a charming and totally enjoyable read.
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