The Last Passenger

The Last Passenger

From bestselling author Charles Finch comes the third and final in a prequel trilogy to his lauded Charles Lenox series.London, 1855: A young and eager Charles Lenox faces his toughest case yet: a murder without a single clue. Slumped in a first-class car at Paddington Station is the body of a young, handsome gentleman. He has no luggage, empty pockets, and no sign of...

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Title:The Last Passenger
Author:Charles Finch
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The Last Passenger Reviews

  • Emma Rose Ribbons

    What a wonderful, wonderful installment in the Charles Lenox Mysteries series. I had REAL trouble putting it down. I loved it. Charles's family and friends all urge him to find romance but Charles is asked by a rather incompetent but nice enough policeman to help in a murder case - a body was found on a train from Manchester to London, stripped of all clothing, and what appears at first to be a rather petty theft, turns out to have far-reaching ramifications as Lenox realises the unknown man may

    What a wonderful, wonderful installment in the Charles Lenox Mysteries series. I had REAL trouble putting it down. I loved it. Charles's family and friends all urge him to find romance but Charles is asked by a rather incompetent but nice enough policeman to help in a murder case - a body was found on a train from Manchester to London, stripped of all clothing, and what appears at first to be a rather petty theft, turns out to have far-reaching ramifications as Lenox realises the unknown man may have been a victim of the anti-slavery movement going on in America.

    There are LOADS to love about this book:

    1/ The writing is superb, and while this was an advanced copy and it had a couple of typos, Charles Finch's prose is seriously good, you're always in good hands with him.

    2/ Charles Lenox is a hero I can root for - he's morally just and learns a great deal in the process of investigating what slavery was really like. There's a conversation at the end of the book that shows just how much he's grown and I thought his development as a character was believable and deeply touching.

    3/ You always learn something about Victorian England with Charles Finch and he didn't disappoint here. The research is impeccable, and while I've read quite a number of books on the era, I learned a lot still. There are interesting comparisons between America and England's class systems (and Lenox is always deeply aware of the injustices of his system, which is nice), a whole paragraph about the letter N (it sounds ludicrous but I promise it serves a purpose), a bit about a tax on fur, and loads more. This book references a lot of political events, streets, clubs, everyday things, in such a way that they become alive. Some of them will be familiar to you (Wilberforce) and others you'll want to read more about. There's always just the right amount of historical tidbits that make for fascinating reading, really flesh out Charles Lenox's world and open doors to more. It would also make for wonderful rereading.

    4/ The secondary characters are excellent. There's a newspaper boy in this who was so funny and so endearing I kept rereading his scenes. I also loved Mr Cobb and Lady Jane and Graham as usual. You can picture everyone clearly, they've got a life of their own and every time Charles Lenox speaks to someone, you can tell to whom just by the way they talk, they're that distinctive.

    5/ This book was in turns funny (I laughed out loud in a few different places) and full of wisdom. For example, I thought I'd understood the title to be a reference to the murder I mentioned previously but the meaning of 'the last passenger' becomes clear only at the very end of the book in a very poignant exchange between Lenox and a former slave, Hollis.

    6/ The plot was flawless and while intricate, the investigation was clear and easy to follow. I didn't feel lost at any point and I like that the first conclusion wasn't the right one too, it had a lot of surprises.

    7/ This book features a romance that was well-written and surprising, especially its conclusion (even though of course you'll be spoiled for the conclusion if you've read any of the subsequent books) and it highlights the plight of women at the time in a way that I thought was very well-done and realistic.

    I seriously loved The Last Passenger and read it almost in one seating. It's a worthy addition to the series and bridges the gap between the prequels and A Beautiful Blue Death (at the end of the novel, Charles and Lady Jane end up in a scene right before the first book in the series) while expanding the canon in the best way. I'm so happy. I hope and pray more books following the initial timeline are to come out soon for I'll miss those characters very much indeed.

    Happy Halloween!

    -

    My endless thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for this advanced copy. I've read all of the Lenox books in the series and would have bought it myself but it's pretty special to be able to read a book almost 4 months before its publication.

  • Charles Finch

    I wrote this one! Does that make me biased? Yes, I know this book's flaws better than anyone. I will send you an annotated list upon request.

    Nevertheless, 5 stars.

  • Kate Baxter

    4.5 / 5 stars

    Author Charles Finch has done it again! Thirteen books into this series and the writing is still fresh and keeps getting better with each installment. If you're a fan of well conceived and delightfully written historical fiction, then I commend this book to you, without reservation.

    The story opens in London - October, 1855 with our young protagonist, Charles Lenox, being introduced to all the young ladies of London who are marriage suitable for a man of his standing. Initially, he

    4.5 / 5 stars

    Author Charles Finch has done it again! Thirteen books into this series and the writing is still fresh and keeps getting better with each installment. If you're a fan of well conceived and delightfully written historical fiction, then I commend this book to you, without reservation.

    The story opens in London - October, 1855 with our young protagonist, Charles Lenox, being introduced to all the young ladies of London who are marriage suitable for a man of his standing. Initially, he finds it all rather tedious. There is one who caught his eye but who knows how all that will turn out.

    Meanwhile, tippling Inspector Hemstock appears at Charles' home hoping to engage Charles' assistance in solving a murder down at Paddingtron Station. Not rushing to the inspector's aid, Charles eventually heads off to Paddington and arrives there even before the inspector. It's a messy business. The eviscerated young victim had no identification and it all appeared to be a mystery with no clues. Fear not; Charles Lenox is on scene and happy to offer his services in aiding the Yard to solve yet another crime. Charles is never boastful but he is clever and has had some success to his credit.

    This is the third installment in the Charles Lenox mystery prequels. Of the three, this one by far is the best, in my opinion. Lenox is at a pivotal point in his rather lonesome life. Charles Finch does a spectacular job sharing with us the gravitas of decisions Lenox makes and how they will impact his future. We all are exposed to Lenox's vulnerable side and frustration with himself when he falls short of perfection. But one of his best traits is his desire for at least justice when fairness cannot be easily obtained. Lenox has a gentle soft spot for the folks who struggle through life owing to the lives into which they were born. He sees industrious and clever young Willikens selling papers, tobacco and mints on the train platforms, hustling to be present and available as each train disembarks. Willikens is a child born into poverty and abandoned. It pulls on Charles' heartstrings and results in some kindnesses extended to the boy.

    Finch is superb at his character development. The humorous banter between Lenox and those he holds dear is absolutely charming. There are quite a few red herrings as the book progresses but when all is said and done, it is an extremely satisfying yarn which has been spun. I cannot wait to see what Lenox gets himself into next.

    I am grateful to author Charles Finch and his publisher, Minotaur Books for having provided a free e-book through NetGalley. Their generosity, however, has not influenced this review - the words of which are mine alone.

  • Christi M

    The Last Passenger is one of my favorite mystery series and always one I can count on to deliver a good story and one that leaves me immediately wanting to pick up the next in the series, even if it is a re-read. The Last Passenger was no exception.

    The story opens in a scene filled with humor and wit apparently London has decided Charles needs a wife. Through-out the story we get to watch Charles skillfully evade potential future wives as they are introduced to Charles over and over again.

    The Last Passenger is one of my favorite mystery series and always one I can count on to deliver a good story and one that leaves me immediately wanting to pick up the next in the series, even if it is a re-read. The Last Passenger was no exception.

    The story opens in a scene filled with humor and wit – apparently London has decided Charles needs a wife. Through-out the story we get to watch Charles skillfully evade potential future wives as they are introduced to Charles over and over again. Marriage and love in general are one of the common themes in this novel. But, this book is set in a time where a woman’s economic and financial options are limited, which is also introduced into the story. Even so, if one is lucky enough they get to experience true love, which we get to see very clearly through Lady Jane and Lord Deere’s relationship.

    Toward the beginning of the story Charles becomes involved with a murder case where the clues and lack of clues are difficult to interpret, not to mention no one has any idea of who the victim is, which takes quite a bit of sleuthing to figure out. Through the course of the investigation we learn there is a connection tied to the politics of the American slave trade and as the story progresses the reader is given a little insight around the differences between the U.S. and U.K. policies and support in regards to slavery and the slave trade.

    How does one not fall in love with this series? Because this is a prequel to the actual series I knew already where the story would take the characters, but even so, my heart still broke with that ending. It was so incredibly well done and so emotional. Not overly dramatic, but skillfully done with a delicate, light touch leaving my heart raw and bare.

    Highly recommended to anyone who loves a traditional detective mystery story that is set in England in the mid 1800’s.

    Rating: 5 stars

    Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

  • LJ

    First Sentence: On or about the first day of October 1855, the City of London, England decided it was time once and for all that Charles Lenox be married.

    In this third, and final, prequel Charles Lenox is still working to establish himself as an enquiry agent. Asked to visit the scene of a gruesome murder, he finds someone has gone to extraordinary lengths to remove anything which might lead to the victim being identified. Although Inspector Dunn blames the murder on gangs, Lenox convinces Sir

    First Sentence: On or about the first day of October 1855, the City of London, England decided it was time once and for all that Charles Lenox be married.

    In this third, and final, prequel Charles Lenox is still working to establish himself as an enquiry agent. Asked to visit the scene of a gruesome murder, he finds someone has gone to extraordinary lengths to remove anything which might lead to the victim being identified. Although Inspector Dunn blames the murder on gangs, Lenox convinces Sir Richard Mayne, now Commissioner of the Police, to let him assist with the investigation. On a personal front, Charles is having to fend off his female relatives and friends who are determined to find him a suitable wife.

    It's lovely to have an opening which makes one smile, as this one does. It's also nice that, even for those of us who follow the series, Finch provides an introduction of Lenox, his situation, appearance, and ambition, as well as other major characters, including Lady Jane and her husband, Lord Deere. Neither does Fitch overlook the secondary characters. The way in which Finch introduces them, including the members of Lenox's household, is seamless. No long explanations, yet we have a sense of each character's personality. In fact, some of them are among the most interesting, particularly freed slave Josiah Hollis from Atlanta, and a young newsboy.

    One appreciates Finch's voice and that it has something of the formality of the period in which the book is set--"Hemstock strolled in without a care in the world. You had to hand him that much: He had insouciance."

    The plot is nicely divided between the investigation and Lenox's personal life. The repartee between him and his older brother Edmund is delightful. His courtship of Miss Catherine Ashbrook provides a delightful excuse for quoting Pride and Prejudice and a lesson in the history of the idiom "mind your p's and q's."

    Finch perfects the balance of providing information on the slave trade, including discussion of the treatment of slaves, but keeping it a part of the plot, rather than the focus of it. It is interesting to see our history through British eyes. Yet an encounter which makes one cringe is Lenox taking Hollis to a doctor who proclaimed--"He was not expert in their kind."

    This is the transitional book for Lenox showing his passing into maturity both in his life and his business. A conversation between Lenox and Hollis is thoughtful, enlightening, and causes one to reflect. Another conversation with Jane illuminates the reason why marriage for love often wasn't the priority for women of the period. Both are examples of excellent writing.

    "The Last Passenger" is a wonderful book. There are well-timed, well-done plot twists. The logic behind Lenox's deductions is clever, yet not overly contrived. Rather than being focused on suspense, although that is there, it is a book that speaks to injustice, maturing, and friendship; true friendship. The end, particularly, stays with one long after closing the book.

    THE LAST PASSENGER (HistMys-Charles Lenox-England-1855) - Ex

    Finch, Charles - 3rd prequel

    Minotaur Books - Feb 2020

  • eyes.2c

    Charles Lenox! Always a pleasure!

    The third and final of the prequels about the eccentric society detective, Charles Lenox's pulling together more of his background as a beginning detective. The disdain from many of the upper one thousand, his relationship with Scotland Yard, the development of his inquiry techniques, and his family and friends.

    A male body is found in a train at Paddington Station. The 449 from Manchester.

    No clues as to who the man was. Even the tags had been cut from his

    Charles Lenox! Always a pleasure!

    The third and final of the prequels about the eccentric society detective, Charles Lenox's pulling together more of his background as a beginning detective. The disdain from many of the upper one thousand, his relationship with Scotland Yard, the development of his inquiry techniques, and his family and friends.

    A male body is found in a train at Paddington Station. The 449 from Manchester.

    No clues as to who the man was. Even the tags had been cut from his clothing.

    This case will take Charles from undesirable denizens of London to those placed in the highest in the land.

    And just when Charles thinks the case is solved a Mr Winston Cobb, a detective and an American Federal Marshal, turns up at his door. Together they come to realize that the resolution of the case is a double bind, a smokescreen, and their enquiries will have to go back to the beginning. It is indeed a case with a dark soul that will haunt Charles.

    On the social front Charle's mother has decided that he needs a helpmate. She enlists Lady Jane aid to introduce him to some interesting young women. One stands out for Charles--Kitty Ashcroft. But even this relationship has a mystery hanging over it.

    I think what cinched this story for me as a five star read was meeting Lady Jane's husband. Lord Deere becomes Charles' chess partner and what a lovely, sincere man he is. (Well naturally, we know Lady Jane to be a woman of exquisite sensibilities.) It is only later that Charles is struck by the friendship offered to him by Deere, or Grey as he's asked Charles to call him. Grey was a soldier first and foremost. His going to India he saw as his duty and I have vey dark thoughts about the man he was asked replace, it seems on a pretext. I must admit to shedding a tear where Deere is concerned.

    A wonderfully rigorous mystery set in 1855 England that encompasses the gambit of racial discrimination and slavery. Yet it's more the personal side of this tale that called to me. A special addition to the Charles Lenox arc!

    A Minotaur Books ARC via NetGalley

  • Judy Lesley

    Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press Minotaur Books for an e-galley of this novel.

    This is the third book in a trilogy of prequels giving readers insights into how Charles Lenox progressed toward a successful career as a private investigator. This was definitely my favorite of the three books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The mystery on this one proved most difficult for Lenox (and me!) to solve because everything possible had been done to keep the identity of the victim obscured. All the

    Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press Minotaur Books for an e-galley of this novel.

    This is the third book in a trilogy of prequels giving readers insights into how Charles Lenox progressed toward a successful career as a private investigator. This was definitely my favorite of the three books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The mystery on this one proved most difficult for Lenox (and me!) to solve because everything possible had been done to keep the identity of the victim obscured. All the labels in the clothing of the victim had been removed showing that the murderer was willing to run the risk of being discovered with the body on the train; keeping the identity of the victim unknown was that important. And it did turn out to be just that important.

    In this book I was aware of the more intimate aspects of the life of Charles Lenox, something I had begun to sincerely miss from some of the more recent books. Charles was fun again and he was still vulnerable enough to be hurt by being cut in society by men he had attended school with. Everybody seemed to be against him taking up this profession he was designing for himself. He did have some support from family and friends but not universal acceptance in society. Lady Jane Grey features very prominently in this prequel and my questions about her marriage were covered to my satisfaction.

    Having read many of the books in this series I found myself glad about reading this final book in the prequel. I read the other two, but this is my favorite. Now I'm ready to get back to the "present" with Charles in the next book. It was like taking a refresher course; I found out a lot about a subject I had thought I already knew about. That turned out to be a very good thing.

  • Lynn Horton

    I've enjoyed all of the Charles Lennox mysteries, as I did The Last Passenger. Strong and complex story, clear writing, great settings (without too much detail), well-developed characters: What's not to like?

    Please be aware, though, that this is the third in a trio of PREQUELS. If you pre-order books, then you might forget things like, "This is a prequel" between the time you order, and the time you receive the novel. Because Lennox's timeline was off I was confused until I had the sense to

    I've enjoyed all of the Charles Lennox mysteries, as I did The Last Passenger. Strong and complex story, clear writing, great settings (without too much detail), well-developed characters: What's not to like?

    Please be aware, though, that this is the third in a trio of PREQUELS. If you pre-order books, then you might forget things like, "This is a prequel" between the time you order, and the time you receive the novel. Because Lennox's timeline was off I was confused until I had the sense to check the order of the books.

    Recommended.

  • Deanna

    4 plus well done stars.

    I didnt expect to spend most of a Charles Lennox book focused on the mid-nineteenth century American politics of slavery, racism, and the impending war. It wasnt the usual foggy old London escapist read I enjoy in this series. However, it was a timely and successful departure and I applaud it.

    The personal side of Charles Lennox is also necessarily darker in this, the last of the prequels. We get more insight into the characters, who become more real all the time.

    I look

    4 plus well done stars.

    I didn’t expect to spend most of a Charles Lennox book focused on the mid-nineteenth century American politics of slavery, racism, and the impending war. It wasn’t the usual foggy old London escapist read I enjoy in this series. However, it was a timely and successful departure and I applaud it.

    The personal side of Charles Lennox is also necessarily darker in this, the last of the prequels. We get more insight into the characters, who become more real all the time.

    I look forward as always to the next one. It’s an automatic preorder.

  • Barb in Maryland

    Excellent mystery! I love Charles Lenox and it has been fun to meet the younger Charles in this series of prequels.

    A few random thoughts:

    I appreciated the look at the US political situation from the British point of view. The story is set in 1855, but the rumble of political discord between the northern and southern states could already be heard in London. It was interesting to read the different theories on the fate of the US.

    I've been reading this series since the first book (

    Excellent mystery! I love Charles Lenox and it has been fun to meet the younger Charles in this series of prequels.

    A few random thoughts:

    I appreciated the look at the US political situation from the British point of view. The story is set in 1855, but the rumble of political discord between the northern and southern states could already be heard in London. It was interesting to read the different theories on the fate of the US.

    I've been reading this series since the first book (

    ) came out, so I already knew where two of the story threads were headed. That foreknowledge didn't stop me from being upset when the events unfolded as they did.

    I hope the author has more Lenox stories up his sleeve. I'm not ready to say good-bye.

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