Cover image for The last passenger
The last passenger
1st ed.
Physical Description:
292 pages ; 25 cm.
London, 1855: A young and eager Charles Lenox faces his toughest case yet: a murder without a single clue. Slumped in a first-class car at Paddington Station is the body of a young, handsome gentleman. He has no luggage, empty pockets, and no sign of violence upon his person - yet Lenox knows instantly that it's not a natural death. Pursuing the investigation against the wishes of Scotland Yard, the detective encounters every obstacle London in 1855 has to offer, from obstinate royalty to class prejudice to the intense grief of his closest friend. Written in Charles Finch's unmistakably warm, witty, and winning voice, The Last Passenger is a cunning and deeply satisfying conclusion to the journey begun in The Woman in the Water and The Vanishing Man. --


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"Bravo, Mr. Finch, and keep them coming! More Lenox, please." --Louise Penny, bestselling author of A Better Man

From bestselling author Charles Finch comes the third and final in a prequel trilogy to his lauded Charles Lenox series.

London, 1855. A young and eager Charles Lenox faces his toughest case yet: a murder without a single clue. Slumped in a third-class car at Paddington Station is the body of a handsome young gentleman. He has no luggage, empty pockets, and no sign of identification on his person. And putting together the clues to the mystery of the man's identity only raises more questions, when Lenox discovers that the crime has a significant connection to America.

As he seeks to solve this impossible case, the young Lenox must confront an equally troublesome problem in his personal life. Kitty Ashbrook, beautiful and cultured, appears to be his soulmate--but love comes with obstacles of its own. In tandem, this fiendish early case and passionate, deeply felt affair will irrevocably shape the brilliant detective and thoughtful gentleman Lenox is destined to become.

Written in Charles Finch's unmistakably witty and graceful voice, The Last Passenger is a cunning, thrilling, and deeply satisfying conclusion to this trilogy of prequels to his bestselling Charles Lenox series.

Author Notes

Charles Finch is the USA Today bestselling author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, including The Vanishing Man . His first contemporary novel, The Last Enchantments , is also available from St. Martin's Press. Finch received the 2017 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times , Slate, Washington Post , and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1855 London, Finch's solid 13th Charles Lenox mystery (after 2019's The Vanishing Man) takes the aristocratic sleuth to a crime scene at Paddington Station, where a conductor on the train from Manchester has found a man's bloody corpse. The killer insured that identifying his victim would be a tall order by not only emptying the dead man's pockets but also taking the time to cut out all the labels from the man's clothing. While the police attribute the killing to an ongoing gang war in Manchester, Lenox pursues a different tack after realizing that the conductor lied about missing a bus ticket home in his statement to the authorities. Other evidence, such as the conductor's not wearing a uniform, suggests that he was an imposter not employed by the railway. Finch effectively integrates the politics of the time, including pre--Civil War tensions in America, and his insertion of subplots regarding his lead's romantic life doesn't distract from the clever murder puzzle. Anne Perry and David Dickinson fans will be satisfied. 100,000-copy announced first printing; author tour. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Book Group. (Feb.)

Kirkus Review

When a violent murder scene yields no obvious evidence, private detective Charles Lenox must solve one of his most complex cases yet.In this third prequel to the series (The Vanishing Man, 2019, etc.), Lenox is deep in a chess match with Lord Deere, neighbor and husband to close friend Lady Jane, when Inspector Hemstock from Scotland Yard knocks on his door with news of a murder. Lenox arrives at Paddington Station soon after and meets Joseph Stanley, the stationmaster on duty, as well as the conductor of the train where the body was found. When searching the victim's pockets reveals no form of identification, Lenox discovers that the only real clue is the lack of evidence: The murderer has gone so far as to remove the label from the victim's suit jacket. Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne gives Lenox permission to assist with the casean unpopular decision with most of the force. Eager to prove his value, Lenox and his butler, Graham, go in search of passengers on the train from Manchester to London and scan the papers for word of a missing person. While the Yard suspects gang involvement linked to Manchester, Lenox's investigation places this murder on a global scale when the first person connected to the victim turns out to be American. Politics across the pond are at a boiling point, with the Abolitionist movement gaining strength and whispers of civil war growing louder by the day. The commentary around this is sobering, as it seems so far-fetched to Lenox that civil war could be a possibility, and yet.As the private detective continues to contemplate motive, he's often distracted by Lady Jane's attempts to find him a suitable match and end his reign as most-eligible bachelor. This subplot almost takes the spotlight away from the mystery while it provides satisfying backstory for key relationships in the series. Avid mystery readers will enjoy Lenox's thorough review of his sleuthing process, not in the sense of "this is how I solved this" but rather "this is how I could have done better."Overall, a bit more history than mystery. Choose this if you revel in atmosphere. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

A man is found brutally murdered on a train, with every clue to his identity removed, down to the tags on his clothing, cut from the bleeding body. So opens the latest title in Finch's long-running Victorian-era mystery series featuring gentleman detective Charles Lenox, the third in a trilogy detailing earlier cases before his reputation and skills were firmly established. Set 10 years before series debut A Beautiful Blue Death (2007), this tightly plotted mystery, winding through the back alleys of Whitechapel to the halls of Parliament itself, is rich in historical detail and quite enjoyable on its own merits but will be of particular interest to fans of the series, as it provides useful backstory to favorite characters. Lenox, quick-witted, fair-minded but still fallible, is an extremely likable protagonist who is drawn to his somewhat unusual profession out of a genuine wish to help others even against the whispers of society and at some personal cost. His coming into his own as a detective is a delight.--Savannah Dorsett Copyright 2020 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In this wrap-up to Finch's prequel trilogy to his best-selling Victorian-era series, novice detective Charles Lenox is stumped. A handsome young man has been found dead in a first-class car at Paddington Station, lacking luggage, identification, and any signs of violence. Charles just knows it's no natural death.