Friday, March 9, 2018

Sophia Rose Reviews: The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

It's once again time to put the blog in the capable hands of my friend Sophia Rose who has a wonderful historical mystery set in 1850 London.
Take it away Sophia Rose!

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch
#.5 Charles Lenox Mysteries
Historical Mystery
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Published:  2.20.18
Pages:  296
ISBN:  1250139465
Format: eARC
Source:  Net Galley
Sellers:  Amazon -  Barnes& NobleKobo
Add To GoodReads

GoodReads Blurb:
This chilling new mystery in the New York Times bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles 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.

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 islets 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.

In the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this newest mystery in the Charles Lenox series pits the young detective against a maniacal murderer who would give Professor Moriarty a run for his money.

Sophia's Review:

After spending time following along with the intuitive, Victorian era, middle-aged detective and his friends, I was more than eager when I discovered that this latest release would take readers back to the early days of Charles Lenox's first celebrated case.

The Woman of the Water is a late prequel to a long-standing series and works just fine as a beginning read to the series or for taking it in release order. 

The story opens with a much younger Charles leaving his university days behind and choosing to stun polite society with the news that he is going to be a consulting detective.  Two provocative letters in the newspaper and a dead body give him the break he needs to assist the London police and show he can do it.  It's a particularly poignant time because he waited too long to tell the woman he loved his feelings and she accepted someone else whom she loves and he is made aware that his father only has a few months left after a growth is discovered.

From the first book in the series, I have been taken with Charles Lennox, Graham, Lady Jane, Thomas O'Donnell, and others in Charles' circle.  I loved that this book goes back to the beginning when they were all much younger and how things came to be the way they are.  Lennox was written with his brilliance and heart, but more of a touch of youthful fire and confidence that the difficult murder case threatens to dampen and put out entirely. 

The historical detail and how it blends into the plot was done amazingly well.  I always feel like I'm right there in Charles' Victorian world when I read this series and this book was no exception.

The mystery is clever and twisting.  I loved following along and discovering the significance of the clues.  I totally missed on the solution, but had a great time trying.

The depth of friendship, family, and personal growth that melded with the mystery for this one was probably more compelling than the cunning murder.  My emotions were engaged several times even beyond my mind on the mystery.  I had the urge to go back and re-read the series after this one.

I heartily recommend this book/series to those who particularly enjoy historical mysteries.

I rec'd this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

Author’s Bio (I had to use the GoodReads bio, it’s so whimsical):
My name is Charles Finch - welcome! I'm the author of the Charles Lenox series of historical mysteries, as well as a recent novel about expatriate life in Oxford, THE LAST ENCHANTMENTS. I also write book reviews for the New York Times, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune and essays in many different places.

Like most people on this website, I'm a huge reader. My taste is all over the place, though I tend to really like literary and mystery fiction. Some of my favorite writers: George Orwell, Henry Green, Dick Francis, Anthony Trollope, David Lodge, PG Wodehouse, Bill Bryson, Roberto Bolano, Jonathan Franzen, Shirley Hazzard, Leo Tolstoy, AR Ammons, Philip Larkin, Edgar Bowers, Laurent Binet, Laurie Colwin, Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, Philip Roth, Henrik Ibsen, Geoff Dyer, the list could go forever...

A bit about myself: I was born in New York City, and since then I've lived all over the place, in America, England, the moment I'm in Chicago, where I just recently moved. I spend most of my time here writing, reading, walking my dog, and trying not to let my ears freeze off.

You can find me on Facebook ( where my reader are always giving fantastic book reviews, or Twitter ( which I don't like quite as much, though it's okay. I'll also try to blog here. Please let me know what I'm doing wrong, since I have remedial goodreads skills...

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:



  1. I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing, and this sounds like it fits the bill. Great review, and Happy Friday to you both Sophia and Debbie! Happy Meatball Day too! Hugs...RO

    1. Yes, this was a cunning one. I was totally in left field trying to figure it out. :) Thanks, Radiant Ro! Have a great weekend!

  2. That sounds quite good. Mysteries can be great reads.

    1. For sure! I've been a fan of this series for nearly ten years and love each new book that comes out. It was fun to finally see all the characters in their younger days.

  3. HIstorical mysteries are the mysteries I approve of ;)

  4. I've not really read any historical mysteries, but I do love the mystery genre. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

    1. Thanks, Melanie!

      I love historicals of any sort, but I think historical mystery is my absolute favorite way to get the historical genre.

  5. Great review again Sophia Rose. I love historical mysteries and mysteries in general, especially historical though it's fun seeing how these characters solve the puzzles without all the technologies of today. Thanks again for guest reviewing Sophia Rose I always look forward to these posts!!! xo

    1. Yes! Their old-style crime solving and basic crime scene and morgue investigations are fascinating.

  6. Well this sounds riveting. I haven't read anything by this author- but I do love a good mystery. I will have to check out this series. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Glad it is tempting you, Jess. I do love my historical mysteries.

  7. Oh that sounds fun, Sophia. I rather like it when I can't quite figure out the mystery and they just keep pulling me along like that. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Me, too. There were one or two clues that made sense afterward, but I totally missed them when he slipped them in. :)

  8. This book sounds good. I love the premise and always love a mystery that I cannot figure out. Great review Sophia!

    1. Yay! Glad to introduce you to it, Cindy. Hope you get the chance!

  9. Sophia, I like the sound of this and the period. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. You bet. The old-style detective work in the Victorian era is fun to see them work stuff out.