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The Fleet Street Murders is third in the Charles Lenox mystery series set in the 1860s. He’s a sort of mid-nineteenth century Lord Peter Wimsey, I suppose (and I’m not the first to have suggested this at all), with detection as more than a hobby but less than a profession (given his aristocratic position).

So, in this one Lenox is standing for Parliament while his friends are in some distress and his love life is wobbling. At the same time two journalists have been murdered in London and he is torn between his duty to his potential constituents and his desire to solve the crime.

As with the others I found this an enjoyable and easy read. The author is American, and there were the occasional usage of words that wouldn’t trip off a Londoner’s tongue now (sidewalk? cookies? (well, maybe these days the latter might be heard) ) let alone in the mid-Victorian period (and I’m happy for any Captain Pedantics out there to set me straight if I’ve got that wrong) but these were only very mildly irritating. His lady love is still too good to be true, though maybe marriage will sort that out. Mystery was pretty satisfying but the best bits for me were all to do with his political campaign.

So, good holiday read and I will certainy look out for the fourth in the series.

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Or Hardwick Halls I should say, there being the Old Hall (a ruin) and the New Hall (famous Elizabethan pile with its own rhyme – “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall”). The picture shows the latter as seen from the top of the former.

Now, I have to declare that when it comes to the English part of our holiday this was the trip I was most looking forward to, because of my deep love of all things 16th century, which if you’ve been reading this blog over the years you will know all too well. Plus it was the home of Bess of Hardwick, a formidable woman who after marrying and surviving four husbands, being custodian of Mary Queen of Scots for part of her English imprisonment, and living to a ripe old age, tried to set up her grand-daughter Arabella Stuart as a potential heir for Elizabeth I. Didn’t work but darned good try. I have a couple of books about her which I meant to read before I came away but I ran out of time; I will be tucking into them when I get back because if I was interested before I am absolutely fascinated now.

The New Hall is magnificent, full of wonderful portraits including two of Arabella (about whom I also have a book, must find that as well).

General consensus is that Arabella had a sad life, a phrase repeated by several of the very nice National Trust people willing to chat about the various rooms we wandered through.

So, very pleased with what has been a beautifully sunny day, ideal for this sort of visit.

Bride of the Book God

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Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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