cover image The Last Passenger

The Last Passenger

Charles Finch. Minotaur, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-31220-4

Set in 1855 London, Finch’s solid 13th Charles Lenox mystery (after 2019’s The Vanishing Man) takes the aristocratic sleuth to a crime scene at Paddington Station, where a conductor on the train from Manchester has found a man’s bloody corpse. The killer insured that identifying his victim would be a tall order by not only emptying the dead man’s pockets but also taking the time to cut out all the labels from the man’s clothing. While the police attribute the killing to an ongoing gang war in Manchester, Lenox pursues a different tack after realizing that the conductor lied about missing a bus ticket home in his statement to the authorities. Other evidence, such as the conductor’s not wearing a uniform, suggests that he was an imposter not employed by the railway. Finch effectively integrates the politics of the time, including pre–Civil War tensions in America, and his insertion of subplots regarding his lead’s romantic life doesn’t distract from the clever murder puzzle. Anne Perry and David Dickinson fans will be satisfied. 100,000-copy announced first printing; author tour. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Book Group. (Feb.)