The Last Passenger is the third book in the Charles Lenox prequel trilogy.
Title: The Last Passenger (Charles Lenox Prequel #3)
Author: Charles Finch
Published on: 18th February 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers (Historical)
Charles Lenox is 27; his family and friends are eager to see him settle down. Lady Jane, Charles’ best friend and former love interest, hasn’t given up on finding a wife for Charles.
Detective Hemstock of Scotland Yard seeks Lenox’s help – the man is incompetent at what he does and sees Lenox’s interference useful in solving cases. Lenox and Lord Deere(Lady Jane’s husband) are playing a game of chess when Hemstock arrives and asks Lenox to accompany him on a case. Lenox refuses and sends Hemstock away. But a few minutes later, curiosity gets the better of him and Lenox takes his carriage to the scene of crime – Paddington station.
At the Paddington station, he meets with the local police, the station master and the conductor. Hemstock is yet to arrive and Lenox takes a look at the scene of the crime. A man is brutally murdered in the third-class carriage of the train. The labels on his clothes are cut away and the man has no ID in his pockets. Someone has taken the necessary measure to make sure the police takes a long time to establish the identity of the dead man.
Lenox finds the conductor to be guilty of committing the crime – the ‘real’ conductor is missing and the imposter conductor has fled the scene. Lenox has found himself an enemy in Inspector Dunn of Scotland Yard. Sir Richard Mayne, the chief of police, is the only one supportive of Lenox’s interference.
Charles Lenox seems to have moved on. Barely! His feelings for Lady Jane are suppressed in some dark corner of his heart. He meets someone and thinks he’s falling for her, but Lenox is not lucky in love. I really wish the author would change something in Lenox’s love-life. I mean, I don’t want to see the poor chap being rejected and dejected when it comes to love. This ‘air’ of gloomy-ness seems to be affecting Lenox’s sleuthing skills too. He has bouts of low self-esteem and it didn’t feel good to read the main character having to suffer dejections after dejections.
The first half of the story is interesting while the second half gets a tad dragged. The second half of the story is inclined towards slavery and people fighting for their rights. The murdered man had a hand in fighting for the abolition of slavery – this got him a lot of enemies and it is quite possible that one of them killed him.
Graham, Lenox’s butler plays quite a role in the story. He can be considered to be a detective’s side-kick. He knows when and how to blend in with his surroundings. Lady Jane, Sir Edmund Lenox and Lord Deere play a major role in Lenox’s life. Hollis appears in the second half of the story and Lennox strikes quite a bond with him.
Overall, this was a good read. A little low on the mystery element but an enjoyable read.