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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The September Society

Finch, Charles. The September Society.

This is Finch's second novel. Both feature the gentleman detective Charles Lenox.

An event in India (involving stolen jewels, of course), a London detective in love with his neighbor, and a missing Oxford student provide the fodder for this mystery set in 1866.

I just wasn't captivated by this novel for several reasons. I found Charles Lenox to be a bit bland. He was so very nice. Talk about damning with faint praise--almost everything I can think of to say about the book falls into that slippery category.

The first of the novel becomes a panegyric to Oxford, and it is obvious that Finch, who attended Oxford, loved it and absorbed all kinds of trivia and history concerning the various colleges and the university town itself. His inclusion of so much information, however, interrupts the pace and flow of the narrative, and regardless of how interesting, results in a textbook awkwardness.

One amusing episode, though, is inserted as a throw-away later in the novel. Lenox stops a student to ask a question. The student replies politely and respectfully, and Lenox thanks him and gives his name. The student courteously disregards the thanks and gives his own name--"Hopkins," the lad said. They shook hands. "Gerard Manley Hopkins. A pleasure to meet you..."

My favorite character was young Dallingham; now, he was interesting. He will, no doubt, be in future installments and, hopefully, with a larger role.

Fiction. Historical mystery. 2008. 310 pages.


  1. I love the cover and the title and the premise! What a shame the book doesn't live up to it.

  2. That's too bad this turned out to be a flop. Hopefully the next one will be better.

  3. Jenny - The cover, title, and premise were great! The content just wasn't what I hoped for.

    LF - As usual, this is only my opinion of the book. :)

  4. I, too, love the cover and premise - maybe I'll pick it up (at the library )just to read to Hopkiins paragraphs.

  5. I've have his first book in the series, and like this one, it has a gorgeous cover. I'm sorry to hear it wasn't as good a mystery as you hoped for. I am somewhat curious though because of the Hopkins exchange :) I'll start with the first one one of these days and see how it goes.

  6. teabird - Such a little detail, but it pleased me enormously as I love his poetry!

    Iliana - The first book received much better reviews than this one. I think I might like to give it a try.