London, 1853: Charles Lenox, a private detective, is called upon by the Duke of Dorset, one of London’s most revered noblemen, for help. Charles learns that one of the Duke’s ancestor’s paintings was stolen from the study. The Duke wants to know who stole it – catching the thief isn’t on his mind; he only wants to know ‘Who’.
But what’s more interesting is the painting next to the one that was stolen. It holds a clue to one of country’s best-kept secrets. Charles agrees to take upon the case and the next day, the Duke is kidnapped. The same night, he’s found sitting in his study. Charles accuses the Duke of staging his own kidnapping and the Duke tries to ruin Charles’ name in the society. Soon, the Duke finds himself needing Charles’ services again!
The Vanishing Man is the second prequel to Finch’s Charles Lenox series.
A historical mystery about family secrets and much more, The Vanishing Man is an engrossing page-turner.
Plot to Story Development
First things first, I never saw the red herrings and the twists coming. One after the other, Finch surely knows how to pique his reader’s curiosity. 🙂 I will not talk about the Dorset family secret because it would totally ruin the story for those who haven’t read it. But believe me, the ‘secret’ is mind-blowing!
As I was reading through, it felt like a movie playing in my head. Be it the scenes or the tension, everything was perfectly described. I could see Jeremy Brett playing the role of Charles Lenox.
The mystery, suspense and tension are well-maintained throughout the story. Halfway through the story, something happens (a crime) that changes the story altogether. The mystery of the stolen painting is curious enough and so is the reason for the theft.
Charles Lenox might be an amateur but he will turn out to be a good detective as the series proceeds, that’s for sure! Like any other amateur, he makes mistakes. He learns from his mistakes and that is what makes him a good sleuth. Practise makes a man perfect, eh?
Lady Jane is Lenox’s neighbour and childhood friend. Once upon a time, Lenox fell for her, but it was too late. She was already engaged to be married. But they are still the best of friends.
Then there is Lancelot, the cheeky, naughty cousin of Charles Lenox. He might be up to his arms in pranks and whatnots, but when the Duke tries to defame Lenox, no Sire! That cannot happen. Lancelot will not allow such a ghastly thing!
Bonden, Mrs Huggins and Graham also play a major role in the story. Graham is Lenox’s butler/servant. Graham-Charles pair are similar to Lady Hardcastle-Florence Armstrong pair of Lady Hardcastle mystery series by T.E. Kinsey.
Lenox, Jane, Graham and Bonden are well-portrayed. And so is the Duke and his family. The Duke’s family is mysterious enough and as the story ends, they turn out to be quite a family! Phew!
The ending is mind-blowing. The ‘family secret’ plays a major role here. The Duke and Charles go on a quest to find something and… do they find it? Well, well. 😀
A wonderful prequel to the series. If you are planning to read the series, I recommend you to start from the two prequels. (Review of first prequel coming soon)
Writing Style: 5/5
Plot/Story Development: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Title: The Vanishing Man
Author: Charles Finch
Published on: 19th Feb 2019
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, Historical Fiction