Charles Finch Excerpt: The Woman in the Water

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch is a prequel to the Charles Lenox series, which takes readers back to Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London’s most brilliant detectives (available February 20, 2018).

London, 1850: A young Charles Lenox struggles to make a name for himself as a detective…without a single case. Scotland Yard refuses to take him seriously and his friends deride him for attempting a profession at all. But when an anonymous writer sends a letter to the paper claiming to have committed the perfect crime―and promising to kill again―Lenox is convinced that this is his chance to prove himself.

The writer’s first victim is a young woman whose body is found in a naval trunk, caught up in the rushes of a small islet in the middle of the Thames. With few clues to go on, Lenox endeavors to solve the crime before another innocent life is lost. When the killer’s sights are turned toward those whom Lenox holds most dear, the stakes are raised and Lenox is trapped in a desperate game of cat and mouse.

CHAPTER 1

For a little more than an hour on that May morning in 1850, the only sound in the flat in St. James’s Square was the rustling of newspapers, punctuated occasionally by the crisp shear of a pair of sharpened scissors through newsprint.

There were two men at the highly polished breakfast table by the window, three stories above street level. One was in an impeccable gray suit, the other in a ratty brown smoking jacket. Both were too intent upon their work to glance out from this high vantage at their panoramic view of the soft spring day: the shy sunlight; the irregular outlines of the two nearby parks, lying serene within the smoke and stone of the city; the new leaves upon the trees, making their innocent green way into life, on branches still so skinny that they quivered like the legs of a foal.

Finally Charles Lenox—the one in the smoking jacket—threw down the last of his newspapers.

“Ha! Done,” he said. “You’re as slow as a milk train, Graham.”

There was a teapot on the table, and Lenox poured himself another cup from it, adding a spoonful of sugar from a small silver bowl. He took a satisfied bite from a piece of cinnamon toast whose existence he had previously forgotten, and which had been prepared by the discreetly well-dressed man sitting opposite him, his valet.

“It’s not speed but quality of attention that matters, sir,” Graham said. He didn’t look up from his own newspaper, the second-to-last of a towering pile.

“What a lot of nonsense,” replied Lenox, rising and stretching his arms out. “Anyway, I’ll get dressed while you finish. How many have you got so far?”

“Nine, sir.” “Ten for me.”

Graham’s pile of clipped articles was much tidier than Lenox’s. But he did look up now—as if tempted to say something less than entirely respectful—and then gave his familiar slight smile, shook his head, and resumed his study. He was a compact, sandy-haired person, with a face that was gentle and temperate but looked as if it could keep a secret.

There were few people Lenox cared for or trusted more.

When the young master of the house emerged again, it was changed out of his shabby jacket and into a handsome suit of his own, a heather gray two shades lighter than Graham’s and perhaps thirty times as expensive. Such was life in England: Lenox had been born to a family of aristocrats, Graham to a family of tenant farmers. Yet they were true friends. Graham had been Lenox’s scout throughout three years at Balliol College, Oxford, and following Lenox’s graduation seven months before had moved to London with him as manservant—seven months, for Lenox, of exhilaration, missteps, uncertainty, and novelty.

Why? Because as his peers from Oxford were settling into the usual pursuits, Lenox was trying, against the better advice of nearly every soul he encountered, and so far with absolutely no success at all, to become something that did not exist: a private detective.

He was also, most unhappily, in love.

Graham was done now. “How many did you finish with?” 

Lenox asked this question as he peered into an oval mirror and straightened his tie. He had a bright face, with a very short-clipped beard and light brown hair and eyes. He still did not quite believe himself to be an adult. But evidently he was, for he was the possessor of these airy and spacious rooms in the heart of Mayfair.

This one, large and central, had the atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club. There were books scattered about it, comfortable armchairs, and handsome oil paintings on the wall, though the brightness of the sunlight in the windows made it feel less confined than most gentlemen’s clubs. It also contained (to his knowledge) no slumbering gentlemen, whereas gentlemen’s clubs generally did, in Lenox’s experience. There were tokens here and there of his two great interests, besides detection, that was. These were travel and the world of Ancient Rome. There was a small—but authentic—bust of Marcus Aurelius tilted window-ward on one bookshelf, and everywhere were numerous stacks of maps, many of them much-marked and overcrossed with penciled itineraries, fantasies of adventure. Russia was his current preoccupation.

It was this room in which he spent all but his sleeping hours. “Ten articles, sir,” said Graham, who also spent a great deal of time here.

“Evens, then. Shall we go over them this afternoon?” “By all means, sir.”

Normally they would have compared their findings immediately. Graham—sharper than all but a few of the fellow students that Lenox had known at England’s greatest university—had become his most valuable sounding board as he embarked on his new career. Every morning they each read the same set of papers and cut out the articles they thought were of any relevance, however oblique, to the matter of crime in London.

They rarely matched more than seven or eight of their selections. (Ten was about an average total.) Half the fun was in seeing where they hadn’t overlapped. The other half was in the immense chronology of crime-related articles that Lenox, who was by nature a perfectionist, a completist, had managed so far to accumulate.

This morning he had an engagement, however, so they would have to wait to add to their archive.

Lenox donned a light overcoat. Graham saw him to the door. “A very happy birthday, Mr. Lenox, sir.”

“Ah!” Lenox grinned. “I reckoned you’d forgot. Thank you, Graham, thank you very much. Are my gloves at hand?”

“In the pocket of your coat, sir.”

Lenox patted his pockets and felt them. “So they are.” Then he smiled. “At hand? Did you catch that?”

“Very good, sir.”

“It was a pun. Gloves, hands.”

Graham nodded seriously. “One of these retroactive puns you hear so much about, sir, conceived only during its accidental commission.” “On the contrary, very carefully plotted, and then executed flawlessly, which is what really counts.”

He checked his tie in the mirror once more, and then left, bounding downstairs with the energy of a man who had youth, money, and the prospect before him that day of breakfast with an amiable party. On the sidewalk, however, he hesitated. Something had stuck in his mind. Worth bothering about? Reluctantly, he decided that it was, yes.

He took the stairs back up two at a time. Graham was tidying away their breakfast, and looked up expectantly when Lenox entered. “Sir?” “The one about the month ‘anniversary’?” Lenox said. “You saw that?”

“Of course, sir.”

Lenox nodded. “I assumed—but it was in that dishrag, the Challenger.” This was one of the least reputable newspapers in England. “Still, if today’s May second—pull out the clippings from April eighth to the thirteenth, say, would you? Perhaps even the seventh and the fourteenth, to be careful.” 

“By all means, sir.”

Lenox felt better for having come back upstairs. The letter had bothered him. He touched his hat. “Obliged, Graham. Good luck with Mrs. Huggins. Just steer clear of her, I say.”

Graham frowned. Mrs. Huggins was Lenox’s housekeeper. Lenox neither wished to have nor enjoyed having a housekeeper, but his mother had insisted immovably upon her employment when he moved to London, and both Lenox and Graham were in the midst of dealing with the consequences of that rigidity. “Well—”

“No, I know. Close quarters. Anyhow I shall be back before long. Keep heart till then.”

This time Lenox went downstairs and strode into the streets without turning back.

From St. James’s Square he walked up Pall Mall, with its imposing row of private clubs. There was a scent of tobacco on the breeze. The sky was smoothing from white into a pure blue. No clouds.

He had been twenty-three for nine hours.

Rum, he thought. It felt a very advanced age. Yesterday, or thereabouts, he had been fourteen; then in a flash nineteen; tomorrow, no doubt, he would be white haired, his grandchildren (or the younger members of a gentlemen’s club) ignoring him as he sat in his comfortable spot by the fire.

Ah, well, such was life.

The clip they had both taken from the Challenger that morning, May 2, remained on his mind as he walked. He had always had a very good recall, and the piece had been short. He was therefore able to run over it exactly in his mind, probing for points of softness, susceptibility.

Sirs,

It has been roughly a week shy of one month since I committed the perfect crime.

Perhaps in doing so I should have foreseen how little remark the press would make upon it, and how little progress the police make in solving it. Nevertheless it has been an anti-climax— especially as murder is a crime generally taken quite seriously (too seriously, if we are honest with ourselves about the numerousness and average intellectual capacity of our population) in our society—to witness how little comment my own small effort has aroused.

I therefore give you advance warning that I shall commit another perfect crime to mark this “anniversary.” A second woman. It seems only just to my mind. Perhaps this declaration will excite the generally sluggish energies of England’s press and police into action; though I place no great faith in the notion.

With regards,
A correspondent

Far and away the likeliest thing was that this letter was a fraud. An editor at the Challenger who needed to fill three inches of column. The second likeliest was that it was a hoax; the third likeliest was that it was a harmless delusion; far down the list, four or five spots, was the chance that someone had in fact committed a perfect crime a little less than a month earlier, and written to boast of it.

Four or five spots, though—not so far down the list, really, as to make it impossible. Lenox cast his mind back to the period three weeks or so before, which was populated with several crimes of interest.

Most of them solved, however. None of them perfect, either, that he could recall. But Graham would pull the clippings. And hadn’t there been—?

But now Lenox found that he was turning up Singletary Street, which put him in sight of Rules. Soon he would be sitting next to Elizabeth. His heart began to beat a little more quickly, and as he opened the door of the restaurant where his elder brother had arranged a birthday breakfast for him, the letter slipped out of his mind.
 

CHAPTER TWO

Charles’s brother, Edmund, who would one (hopefully distant) day be Sir Edmund Lenox, 11th Baronet of Markethouse, was his only sibling. They greeted each other with an affectionate handshake at the door of a comfortable paneled room. Beside Edmund was his young wife, Molly (Emily in more formal settings), who was pretty and countryish, not most at home in London.  “Happiest of birthdays, my dear fellow,” Edmund said. “Well, thank you.”

“I remember when I was twenty-three.”

“I would be worried if you couldn’t remember three years ago.” “Halcyon days,” said Edmund with mock rue.

Molly kissed him, laughing. “Happy birthday, Charles.” He kissed her back. “Thank you, my dear sister.”

The two brothers looked similar, but Edmund was fuller in the shoulders than Charles, who was more naturally willowy, of good height but always reckoned taller than he was because of his slenderness.

They had grown up in the Sussex countryside—and those were, in truth, halcyon days; each of them a horse for his tenth birthday, swimming in the pond next to Lenox House during summers, long-standing family traditions at Christmas, two happy parents, on to Harrow (one of the nation’s pair of great public schools) at thirteen, and then, like toppling dominoes, to the University of Oxford. Lenox was at an age when his childhood felt at once very near and very far. So much had intervened between that tenth birthday and this twenty-third one, as if the former had happened either that morning or a hundred years ago. (His horse at Lenox House, Cinder, was fourteen now. Imagine that!)

In this room, coming across to greet him one by one with hearty handshakes as they noticed him, were representatives from the various phases of his life. Their amiable fat-jowled older cousin Homer Lenox was sipping a glass of warm negus by the fire, speaking to their aunt Martha, whom they had both loathed as children and now both rather liked. Lenox’s particular friend from Harrow, Hugh Smith, strode over. There were Oxford friends, too, a part of Lenox’s little set in London here. A happy small gathering, whose constituents, one would have said, bespoke a celebrant of exceptional good fortune. And the Lord knew it was true his life had been fluid, untroubled by larger worries, essentially without difficulties. He was deeply conscious of it.

Except that now he had made this queer decision to become a consulting detective.

Lenox knew, though he was determined to ignore the fact, that during these first seven months in London, he had become a joke. To think of it too much would have pained him, however. And among these twelve or so people, at any rate, he was yet loved.

Soon they were all seated, and he found himself next to Elizabeth. They had said a brief hello earlier, but now she turned to him with a face ready to be pleased, fingers running idly along a silver necklace she often wore.

“Well—tell me, Charles,” she said, “are you going to see Obaysch?” He gave her a look of consternation. “Not you, too.”

She looked at him with reproach. “Don’t be a curmudgeon.” 

“I?”

“Yes, you!”

He smiled. She was a pale-cheeked young woman of nineteen, in a blue dress, with lively dark eyes and white, even teeth. They were very close friends, perhaps even what you would call best friends.

She had been married for just more than three months now. In love days into her first London season.

“I take it you’ve been, then?” he asked.

“Of course. He was quite a sight, the dear. Still just a baby.” Unconsciously she touched the spot where a gray ribbon encircled her dress; she must, Lenox thought, his reflex for observation never switched wholly off, have thought every day since her marriage of the quickening that would mean she was with child.

“From what I hear, he wallows a great deal.”

“There are people of whom I could say the same,” she said, looking at him dryly, and turned slightly away to take a spoonful of soup.

Lenox laughed. He picked up his own spoon. “I am never entirely certain how personal your comments are.”

“Good,” she said.

Their conversation was the same one happening all over the city, because at the London Zoo, just then, was the greatest commotion the metropolis had witnessed in many years, perhaps even since the Queen had introduced the city to Prince Albert. This Obaysch was what these natural philosophers had chosen to call, with straight faces apparently, a hippopotamus: the first in Europe since the time of the Romans, the first in England itself—well, ever, inasmuch as any learned person at the Royal Academy was able to discern. Ten thousand people (an enormous number, perhaps twenty times the average) were visiting the zoo each day to lay eyes on the creature.

He was a plump potato-shaped fellow, at least according to the illustrations Lenox had seen in the papers and the descriptions that even very exalted members of the aristocracy, who wouldn’t deign to look at certain foreign royals but had visited the hippopotamus with breathless excitement, had provided him.

“What tricks does he do?” Lenox asked Elizabeth. “Tricks!”

“Yes, tricks.”

She looked appalled. “I don’t know if you have fully grasped the dignity of this animal.”

“Haven’t I?”

She gave him a disappointed shake of her head. “Tricks, indeed.” Great ceremony had preceded the hippopotamus, which had traveled up the Nile with an entire herd of cattle to provide it milk, a troop led with pride by Sir Charles Augustus Murray, Her Majesty’s consul to Egypt, who had enjoyed his triumph for less than a fortnight before finding his august reputation permanently sullied by the new nickname “Hippopotamus Murray.” (No matter how admiringly he was addressed in this fashion, it seemed doubtful to Lenox that Murray could feel quite content with it, after such a long and distinguished nonhippopotamus-based career.) Now there were vendors selling little hippopotami figurines outside the zoo. The rulers on the Continent were sick with envy. Children played nothing but hippo in the streets.

The next step was to find Obaysch a mate, and the energies of many stout Englishmen in Egypt were no doubt being squandered on that project as Charles and Elizabeth ate their soup. (Even now Lenox always thought of his mother’s nursery-era lesson in manners when there was soup at table: “Like ships upon the sea, I push my spoon away from me.”)

“Anyhow,” Elizabeth went on, “when I’m in the country there will be few enough spectacles. I ought to enjoy those in London while I can.”

She was moving to her new husband’s estate in the autumn, when his military regiment returned to England, to take up her rightful position as the wife of the heir to an earldom; second or third lady of the county.

That meant there were good works in her future, visits to the vicarage. Some glamour, too, to be sure—but as their friend Nellie had put it, country glamour. Because of her personal qualities, she deserved, in Lenox’s estimation, both high position and high excitement. She would have only the former in her life beginning that autumn.

“You’ll return often, I hope, however,” said Lenox lightly, though his heart fluttered. He had never proposed. He felt a familiar dull pain at his lack of courage; he had missed his chance. Sometimes, late in the small hours of the night, he wondered if he had missed his only chance. “Your friends here will miss you.”

She pushed back against the insinuation of his question slightly— at least in her posture, in her voice, a certain formality entering them, though never anything like unfriendliness. “Oh yes, I imagine, when James finds it necessary.” She leaned forward slightly to address the young gentleman on Lenox’s left; a third. “Hugh, have you seen the hippopotamus?”

Hugh gave them a scornful look. “Have I seen the hippopotamus.

Haven’t I seen the fellow six times?” “Six!”

“I consider him more of a brother than a friend.” “Disgraceful,” said Lenox.

“You’re outnumbered,” said Elizabeth. “This is a table that looks favorably upon Obaysch. Hugh and I won’t hear a word against him.” Across from them, deep in conversation with Eleanor Arden, another of their set, was Lenox’s aunt. He appealed to her as a last resort. “Aunt Martha,” he said, and the table fell silent as she looked up. “Tell me that you, at least, haven’t condescended to visit the London Zoo in the past two weeks. The old ways must still mean something.”

 She hesitated—a gray-haired and portly older woman, resplendent in a spangled dress of gold and red—and then said, “I must admit that I paused there yesterday.” Everyone at the table burst into kind laughter. She gave the room a generalized look of indignation. “One likes to keep abreast, you know, even at my age.”

When the soup had been cleared and there was a lull in the conversation, even the hippopotamus parts of it, Edmund stood up. He lifted his glass.

“What about a toast?” he said.

“Yes yes,” said one or two people, and lifted their glasses too. “Charles moved to London in the fall, as you all know,” said Edmund. “So far he has not been imprisoned, lost money in a three-shell game on the Strand, or eloped to the Continent with a dancer.”

There was more laughter, and Lenox called out, “Give me six weeks.”

“He has also,” Edmund said with stout, awkwardly footed pride, “begun his very significant work as a detective—very significant work, very.”

“Hear, hear,” said Hugh.

“I am proud of him for it, and I think we ought to have a double toast to him for it. Join me, please. Two cheers for Charles.”

As they cheered, Lenox felt himself blush, a little hollowness of embarrassment in his throat and chest. He would have preferred no reference to his work. But he accepted the toast—said thank you— all here loved him—the moment passed—and soon the conversation again became general.

It was beneath the station of all those present here to have a profession, unless it be politics, arms, or God. It had been many generations since the families of any of them had done work with their hands, season upon season, year upon year, century upon century.

A gentleman scientist, fine, or in an eccentric case an explorer, a collector, an equerry, a horse breeder.

But even the most eccentric of these would never have dreamed of taking work as a detective. England’s caste system was too inflexible to allow for it. It was this fact that had poisoned Lenox’s seven months here. Only unto illness, not death, and mostly for his poor parents; but still, still.

Making it worse was how desperately little headway he had made. He was laughed off in Scotland Yard (he had tried repeatedly to make allies there) and laughed off in a different kind of way at the parties— where he was still welcome, but more often than before because of his brother, or because of Elizabeth, Eleanor, Hugh, his friends. In the fullness of these seven months, he had had two cases, precisely. And this despite charging no fee! He had solved both: one a pitiably simple matter of a missing fiancé (he had an extant family in Bournemouth, unfortunately for the young woman who had entreated Lenox to find him so that she could marry him), and one an embezzler at a midsized firm in the city.

Both cases had been referred to him by friends. Neither had led to more work.

At the end of the breakfast, some two hours later, a great deal of it spent reminiscing over old village cricket matches with his cousin Homer, he found himself momentarily in a quiet corner of the room with Elizabeth, who was donning her overcoat.

She was due at a luncheon—straight from one meal to another, she said, and sheepishly added that when she was fat, she would have to feign an illness to avoid going out—and Lenox, putting his own cloak on, took the opportunity to ask how she had been, which parties she would be going to—

But suddenly, realizing that they were by the grace of chance briefly isolated from everyone else, he said, anxiously, “Listen here, do you think I’m a fool? About the detective business. Answer me honestly, Elizabeth—be brutal. Nobody else will. Nobody whose opinion I care for.”

She gave the question a look of real surprise, and then shook her head, concern in her eyes. “Never, never, never,” she said. She touched his cheek. “I think you are valiant as a lion, Charles. And wondrous affable.”

Before he had a chance to reply, she had turned away to say her other goodbyes. For his part, he did not move for at least ten, fifteen seconds; he could still feel her hand on his cheek.

Copyright © 2018 Charles Finch.

 

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Charles Finch is the author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Inheritance and A Beautiful Blue Death, which was nominated for an Agatha Award and was named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of 2007. He is a graduate of Yale and Oxford, and lives in Chicago.

 

Comments

  1. Anna Loomis Russell

    Sounds good can’t wait to read

  2. Katherine Pond

    Have followed Charles and Jane etc since the intial Blue Death and never miss a case–don’t want to make an exception here–so hope I win!

  3. Katherine Pond

    Have followed Charles and Jane etc since the intial Blue Death and never miss a case–don’t want to make an exception here–so hope I win!

  4. Alice Wright

    Can’t wait to read this prequel. I’ve loved all the Charles Lenox Mysteries and am eager to learn more about Charles’ youth.

  5. Kimbrell Scheunert

    I love these books, and can’t wait to read it!

  6. Ann Sandhorst

    I fell in love with this series a few years ago and can’t wait for each new one.

  7. Richard Wheeler

    cant wait to read it

  8. Sheila Korman

    I love Mr. Finch’s work!

  9. Rich Wheeler

    Can’t wait to read it

  10. Portia Asher

    This would be the perfect start to the series..

  11. Beverly W Schmidt

    [b]Can’t wait to read this in it’s entirety.[/b]

  12. Krista

    I can’t wait to read about the case that started it all.

  13. LuAnn Mujica

    I was all set reading this excerpt to absolutely love it and guess what? I did!! Cannot wait for the release of the whole book. I have tea and cinnamon toast in my future!! (Best things to have while reading Lenox)

  14. merc TW

    🙂 Can’t wait!

  15. Celia Fowler

    Woman in the Water sound wonderful! Thanks for the giveaway ~

  16. Donna Agnelly

    Can’t wait for this one!

  17. Meaghan Gerard

    I love the Lenox mysteries. I would certainly love to leave where he came from…

  18. Jeanette Jacobson

    Absolutely one of my favorite series….and I can’t wait to read this book!!

  19. Lea J

    Omg I love all your books!! This sounds sooo good!! Can’t wait to read the rest!!! ????

  20. lasvegasnv

    intriguing

  21. Margot Core

    This is my introduction to Charles Lenox,and already I want more!

  22. Constance McKnight

    Ca’t wait to read the whole book!

  23. Sherilyn Leath

    So looking forward to this release! Would love to win!

  24. Kathy McAuliffe

    I can’t wait for the full book to come out!

  25. Susan Bailey

    This is wonderful! Would love to win!

  26. Susan Morris

    I’m so looking forward to this story! I loved “A Beautiful Blue Death” and can hardly wait to read the prequel.

  27. Ariel Malane

    I’m liking what I just read and am looking forward to the book ! I would love to win it !

  28. Joan Waite

    Sounds great, can’t wait to read.

  29. John Smith

    Ruthless serial killers–they’re fiends!

  30. Dawn Harrington

    Thanks for the chance. This book sounds amazing!!

  31. Mary Jo Roser

    Can’t wait for the book to be published !

  32. MaryC

    Love the series!

  33. Sandra Mettler

    Pre-ordered and excited for this latest Finch/Lenox mystery! This excerpt is a special treat! Northern Wisconsin in the winter requires cozy fires, mulled wine, and a good book! Thanks!

  34. Marianne Lawrence

    Can hardly wait to finish reading the book!

  35. Marianne Shaver

    Not reading the excerpt, because I’m only on the 8th book and don’t want any spoilers!
    Just started the series NOVEMBER 1st and I am enthralled!

  36. Rachelle Foster

    The Charles Lenox mysteries are some of my favorites! I am so looking forward to reading the prequel. What a great idea!

  37. Bookworm

    Have read all your books except ‘The Inheritance ‘ which I’m about to start reading. This title, ‘The Woman In The Water’ is intriguing in itself. I can’t wait to read the rest of it! To win a copy would indeed be a great honor!FATMACIA La

  38. Christine Smiga

    Sounds great, this would be a new series for me.

  39. Pat Dupuy

    I’m eager to read how Charles got his detecting career started.

  40. Jeffrey Tretin

    Can’t wait to read a good mystery!

  41. SUSAN GANNON

    thanks for the chance

  42. Mary Granath

    I’ve enjoyed every book in the Lenox series, and I’m greatly looking forward to reading “The Woman in the Water”. Can’t wait to read about where Lenox began his career.

  43. Sheila Korman

    I would love to read this book—thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  44. Jane Schwarz

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of “The Woman in the Water”. It would be nice to see how Lenox got started.

  45. Daniel Morrell

    sounds interesting

  46. James Joyce

    Ah, Victorian detectives.

  47. Jerry Eaton

    Going to be a long wait until pub date to finish this…

  48. Pat Murphy

    Something I need for myTBR shelf. Love the historical period stories

  49. Mary Lauff-Thompson

    sounds good!

  50. Sandy Klocinski

    Sounds awesome! I love Charles Lenox Mysteries. Cannot wait for the release of the book.

  51. Abigail Gibson

    Sounds exciting and edge of your seat nail biter. Thank you.

  52. JAMES LYNAM

    The “LENOX SERIES” is awesome.

  53. HESTER MAYO

    Any book set in London, I love it!!

  54. Shannon Baas

    I would like this.

  55. Tammy Z Evans

    I really want to read this. Thanks for the chance.

  56. deborah buffamanti

    I just came back from London… spectacular setting for something like this!

  57. Jennifer Hodges

    Sounds wonderful!!

  58. Esther Whatley

    I’ve really enjoyed Charles Finch’s books and would love to win this one that takes us back to the beginning.

  59. Jackie Wisherd

    My friend who is an avid reader suggested I read this story since she really liked it. I know I would too.

  60. Susanne Troop

    Love a good mystery!

  61. Alice

    Yay, another Charles Finch!

  62. Deborah Dumm

    You are a new author to me but this book sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it!

  63. Jo Ann Hakola

    I love a good mystery series. They are my favorite reads.

  64. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    It is hard being a detective! Yes!

  65. Sally Schmidt

    New series to me, interesting excerpt. Would like to read this.

  66. Alicia Sargant

    can’t wait to read this book

  67. Kristi Murdock

    A prequel is such a great idea in this series… so many things to explore. Can’t wait!

  68. Toni Laliberte

    Thanks for the chance! Happy Thanksgiving!

  69. Junelaine

    Cant wait to finish reading this.

  70. Beth Talmage

    Oh, a prequel! The perfect place to start.

  71. smcof

    Sounds good, will have to get the other books as well. New author for me…

  72. Veronica Sandberg

    want to read this…want to win

  73. Veronica Sandberg

    want to read this…want to win

  74. peter greene

    It sounds very promising. Period mysteries have to be more than just intriguing but they need to get the details right. I look forward to trying this book and finding the others in the series.

  75. aremcy

    Can’t wait to read the latest from one of my favorite authors.

  76. Renee Rousseau

    I am intrigued and hungry for more! Thanks for sharing!

  77. Trisha McCullough

    I love Historical fiction. This has drawn me right in and I’m anxious for more. Love great detective stories. Need this now so I can continue on.

  78. Karen Mikusak

    Would love to win!

  79. Sue bookwoman

    I love what I’ve read so far – looking forward to reading the book in its entirety. I have enjoyed the Lenox series.

  80. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a good mystery

  81. Andrew Jensen

    Brand new to Charles Lenox. Interesting that the language of the descriptive narrative matches the dialog. A nice preview that bodes well for the entire book.

  82. Kimberly Hammack

    Very much looking forward to this one!

  83. Catherine Myers

    I love London as a character.

  84. pearl berger

    Intriguing mystery.

  85. MARGARET GAWLEY

    I really hope that this comes out on an eAudiobook soon….love listening as I go about my duties.

  86. anderscl80919

    A promising read!

  87. Michael Carter

    Plese enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Happy US Thanksgivings.
    Best wishes!

  88. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read the book.

  89. Susan Bailey

    Loved this excerpt! Hope to win a copy.

  90. Anne G

    Looking forward to it!

  91. S.R. Stone

    I really do love this series! Lenox and his compatriots are a pleasure to spend time with.

  92. Ronald Roseborough

    Great excerpt. Love to read the book.

  93. KSue Anderson

    I love Charles Finch’s books. Can’t wait to get my hands
    on this one. Would love to win it!

  94. Lori Provenzano

    This mystery is right up my alley, I mean river.

  95. John OBrien

    I’m looking forward to reading this, while my wife is anticipating the audiobook.

  96. Robin Batterson

    Caught my interest, would love to win a copy , will be looking out for it when released.

  97. Suzanne McMannis

    Winning would be wonderful!

  98. marilyn stawecki

    I ‘m hooked! I would love this book!

  99. PaulaWalla

    Can’t wait to read this, would love to win one!

  100. Jean kolinofsky

    I have been a fan of the Lennox series since the first book. Looking forward to this one!

  101. Sandra Slack

    Looking forward to reading this.

  102. vickie dailey

    this sounds fantastic – love england, period pieces a good mystery with an underdog

  103. Diane Ahlemeyer

    Can’t wait for this to come out. Charles Lennox is an old friend now. I’ll be delighted to read how it all started.

  104. Kari N.

    I love Charles Lenox and am looking forward to reading the prequel!

  105. pat murphy

    Looks like a great read !

  106. Pat Murphy

    Need to find a new favorite character and Charles Lenox looks like he could be it.

  107. Katrina Yurenka

    Yes, please. LET me win this one!

  108. Ida Umphers

    Excerpt makes this sound like a great entry in the series.

  109. susan beamon

    This sounds like an interesting book. I would like to win.

  110. Michelle McClave

    I love this series and can’t wait to read the latest, er…first, er….whatever! Lol!

  111. Anne Kennedy

    A bit Holmes & Watson, a bit Wooster & Jeeves – looking forward to starting this series at its true beginning!

  112. Laurent Latulippe

    Can’t wait to read Lenox’x first case.

  113. Heidi Kirsch

    Love, Love this series. Discovered it randomly as all the best books seem to. Thank you ever so much for new one.

  114. JessV

    Love Charles Finch books! Can’t wait to read this new one!!

  115. Too many dogs

    I haven’t read any of Mr. Finch’s books, but will have after this introduction. Interesting characters and time period.

  116. ravensfan

    Would love to win this book.

  117. Janice Santillo

    v-e-r-y
    i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g

  118. BettyAnn Hegland

    I have read and/or listened to the entire series. I am pleased to say that the characters have continued to grow & the plotting retains my interest. Keep going.

  119. Marilyn Buccola

    I have read every book Charles has written and can never wait for his next book. I love his characters and time period and his stories always are so good. Can’t wait to read this new one.
    Marilyn

  120. Kristen Meston

    One of my favorite series! A prequel will be a nice change. 🙂

  121. Darlene Slocum

    This one belongs on my shopping list!

  122. Kathryn Baxter

    Loved the excerpt! Looking forward to getting my paws on a copy of the book. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  123. Susan Smoaks

    thank you for the chance to win

  124. Dan Carr

    Sounds like fun.

  125. JessicaA

    Sounds great! Loved the excerpt!

  126. Dawn Roberto

    Really liked the excerpt. Thanks for sharing

  127. vicki wurgler

    book sounds good-this is a new series to me

  128. bookteacher

    A wonderful series. Thank you for the gift of the newest installlment. A joy to read— thoughtful and entertaining.

  129. Polly Barlow

    “The Woman in the Water” by Charles Finch sounds like a must read.

  130. Bruce

    The first 2 chapters were inticing. Would like to read the complete book.

  131. Marjorie Manharth

    Love Charles Finch’s books – I think I have all of them so far. Would love to have this one.

  132. Sue Farrell

    I have enjoyed a couple Lennox mysteries and would enjoy seeing how it all started.

  133. Sue Farrell

    I have enjoyed a couple Lennox mysteries and would enjoy seeing how it all started.

  134. Gail Weitzel

    This excerpt has piqued my imagination and I must get my hands on this book!

  135. Kyva Arendes

    Always wondered how he started and to know about his early relationship with Elizabeth and Graham. Would love to have a copy of this new book.[s][/s]

  136. Carl

    Great excerpt, now I must read the rest of the book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  137. Mallory Bailey

    Sounds good! Thanks for the chance!

  138. Mallory Bailey

    Sounds good! Thanks for the chance!

  139. Christal Mormann

    thank you for the chance

  140. Marisa Young

    Love this series of books.

  141. Barbara Bates

    Would love to win! Thanks for the chance!

  142. Mielle Herrick

    I have read all the Charles Lenox series by this wonderful author. He just keeps getting better and the characters grow and develop along the way. Always interesting and well written!

  143. Lorena Keech

    This would be a perfect read for a cold winter weekend. Thanks for the giveaway.

  144. Lorena Keech

    This would be a perfect read for a cold winter weekend. Thanks for the giveaway.

  145. Stephanie Liske

    Thank you.

  146. julie hawkins

    Great excerpt!

  147. Craig

    Can’t wait to read more !!!

  148. Margit Curtright

    Really enjoy this series

  149. Michael Gonzales

    I’ve been meaning to read Charles Finch, but have not gotten around to it yet. Would love to win a copy.

  150. Jim Belcher

    A bit of Holmes and a bit of Wooster and Jeeves. Hope the pace quickens a little and the meals reduce. 🙂

  151. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Charles Finch.

  152. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a winner.

  153. Tricha Leary

    sounds great

  154. Lisa Pecora

    This sounds like a good read.

  155. Leela

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  156. Linda Peters

    Sounds like a great read, thanks

  157. Brandy Schwartz

    I haven’t read any of the books in this series yet. This would be a great introduction!

  158. Sand Lopez

    Sounds like a great one!

  159. Betty Curran

    I haven’t read any of these yet. Would love to get started.

  160. Buddy Garrett

    I’d love to read it. It sounds very interesting.

  161. Buddy Garrett

    I’d love to read it. It sounds very interesting.

  162. lori lockhart

    This is a new author for me. The excerpt was great, want more! Hoping to win a copy so I can enjoy this author’s work!

  163. Estella Wortham

    Would love to read this book.

  164. Bookbabester

    Can’t wait to read this in its entirety – love Charles Lennox!

  165. Anne Efron

    Excited to read this book!

  166. Karen Hester

    Sounds interesting; I would be happy to win.

  167. Jacqueline B

    Will the 20th please get here faster!

  168. Felice Seriel

    I’m hooked. Can’t wait till it’s available. Love this series. I love it when the author write a prequel to the main character. It gives you more of a detailed background of the character and also how the character has developed through the series. Excellent!

  169. Jackie Mungle

    I would love to read this book,

  170. Jackie Mungle

    I would love to read this book,

  171. Jackie Mungle

    I would love to read this book,

  172. Diane Ahlemeyer

    Can’t wait! I’m not starting another book until I read this one! Love Charles Lennox!

  173. Anne Andren

    Looks like an interesting and entertaining read!

Comments are closed.