Home by Nightfall: A Charles Lenox Mystery

Charles Finch. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-07041-8

Set in the autumn of 1876, Finch’s capable ninth Victorian mystery (after 2014’s The Laws of Murder) takes gentleman sleuth Charles Lenox from London to Sussex, to try to console his brother, whose wife has died after a sudden illness, but he’s soon distracted by a bizarre puzzle. Before a local insurance salesman, Arthur Hadley, entered his house one evening, he saw a face at his downstairs window, but no one was inside, and an unsettling chalk drawing of a young girl was sketched outside his front door. In a subsequent strange incident, a fake report of a fire in a nearby town lures Hadley away from his house. Back in London, everyone is agog at the seemingly impossible disappearance of a German pianist, Muller, from his dressing room, whose only exit was under constant observation. Despite Scotland Yard’s lack of success in finding Muller, the police have yet to consult Lenox and his enquiry agency. Well-defined characters enhance the intriguing plot lines. [em]Agents: Kari Stuart and Jennifer Joel, ICM. (Nov.) [/em]