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The September Society

The September Society

Written by Charles Finch

Narrated by James Langton


The September Society

Written by Charles Finch

Narrated by James Langton

ratings:
4/5 (33 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2011
ISBN:
9781452674551
Format:
Audiobook

Description

In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to "The September Society." Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play.



What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of his devoted friends in London's upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home.
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2011
ISBN:
9781452674551
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

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.

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Reviews

What people think about The September Society

4.0
33 ratings / 29 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Charles Lenox investigates the disappearance and murder of an Oxford student where mysterious clues point to a small group of military officers stationed in India who call themselves "The September Society." Lenox reminisces about his own time spent at Oxford. His interest in Lady Jane Gray provides a secondary plot. The mystery seems very similar in plot to others I've read. I loved James Langton's narration though!
  • (4/5)
    This is another Charles Lennox mystery set in Victorian London, Oxford, & a short in India.

    Charles is called upon by a young Oxonian's mother to locate him, as George has just disappeared as they were about to set out for tea..... The young man went to his room and then when he didn't show, his mother went up to find his rooms messed and his cat dead..... She goes immediately to call upon Charles & asks him to find her son. Also missing is one of George's two friends....

    The mess in George's rooms are set to leave clues about The September Society, a group of officers who left behind two of their own in India dead by misadventure/suicide..... While returning to his home for a short bit, Charles is called back to Oxford only to find George dead of murder and his friend still missing...... Last seen George had been in the presence of a mysterious man calling himself Canterbury....

    Charles enlists the help of Dallington (who is on a binge and of little use), his friend McConnell, his brother Edmund, & a high standing member of Parliament. Lady Jane & McConnell's wife Toto are only around on the periphery and the banter about them includes Toto's dithering on naming her yet to be born child and Charles's conundrum about asking Lady Jane to marry him...... Quite charming I'm sure, but tedious.

    This book was more interesting than the last two I read, there was more action and more mysterious characters.... It also contained some interesting history of England's dubious presence in India. I liked the mystery of the two missing Oxonian's and the setting of the clues by one of them to help solve the crime.
  • (4/5)
    The first book of the series, A Beautiful Blue Death, reminded me of the Wooster and Jeeves books, with a rich and otherwise idle young man and his butler get pulled into intrigues. This book has less of the butler and more of his friend, Dr. McConnell. It was recently discovered that his wife is expecting a baby so there were many cute conversations about possible names. Charles spends most of the book screwing up his courage to ask his long time friend and neighbor, Lady Jane Grey, for her hand in marriage.Charles Lenox is asked by a distraught mother to help find her missing son, George Payson. Searching his room, Charles finds many baffling clues, including a dead cat, dead by poisoning and stabbing, on top of a note. It turns out that two boys are missing and a club made up of retired military is somehow involved.I listened to the audio version of this book, ably narrated by James Langton, who had the right balance of British accent.
  • (4/5)
    This is the follow-up to "The Beautiful Blue Death", and I actually enjoyed this one more than the first. Lady Annabelle seeks out Charles Lenox when her son George (a student at Oxford University) goes missing. Charles travels to Oxford to investigate. Part of the enjoyment of this book was the fact that Oxford was Charles' alma mater, and we get to enjoy Charles' memories and reminiscences of his youth. Another reason for my enjoyment is that Charles has finally decided he would like to ask Lady Jane to marry him, although he agonizes about how to accomplish this for much of the book. And of course the mystery itself is intriguing and actually full of surprises and twists. Very enjoyable. Four and a half stars.
  • (3/5)
    3.5

    The first book didn't quite work for me. After reading this one, though, I am certain it was my fault. A case of wrong timing. I did recognize that at the time too, so there's that. It happens. I may revisit it some time in the future.

    The September Society mystery part is very good. It has its twists and turns, strange events and mysterious and bloody beginning. This is not a spoiler since what starts it all is in the prologue itself. The beginning of Lenox's case is in the distant past, in India. The best part is that even though you might think you understand what is going on and even solve parts of the mystery yourself, the resolution probably won't be what you expected.
    However, Charles Lenox is not in his element here. He is distracted. He has realized he loves his friend Lady Jane and, every now and then the story is interrupted with his thoughts on marriage, whether she will marry him, who is the man who is visiting her, about his life in general and so on. It was so frustrating seeing all those interrupted opportunities to ask her to marry him.

    I liked the story. Even with the distractions, it's pretty good. The September Society also introduces another aristocrat who wants to be a detective. I wouldn't mind reading a Lord John Dallington series at all. I hope he will appear in future books too.
  • (3/5)
    Pretty good mystery.
  • (2/5)
    I thought this book was a bit boring. I felt the ending was a let down - all this build up and it fell kind of flat. I also found myself completely uninterested in the main character's life. Every time Lady Jane or Toto came into the picture, I was annoyed and considered skipping those portions entirely, but was afraid something integral to the plot might happen and I'd later be confused. Unfortunately, very little to nothing that advanced the plot happened during those interludes.
  • (5/5)
    I had to look up where Charles Finch was as a student because this book has one of the warmest, most realistic accounts of what it feels like to study at Oxford that I've ever read. Sure enough, the author read English at Oxford (I'm guessing Balliol or Merton) and he currently resides in the city. I'll briefly mention that reading about a place you've lived and studied in is like coming home and nothing beats this feeling of comfort and move on to the plot and characters. I was first of all surprised that Charles decided very early on in the novel to propose to Lady Jane. While the first book made it clear those two loved each other, I wouldn't have said they were in love, and it's a little surprising to have their relationship change so quickly - after all, we are told repeatedly in the first book that their devoted friendship, however peculiar, is accepted as such by themselves and society at large. I liked that unconventional bond and didn't warm up to the idea of marriage straight away. Luckily, there are many books left ahead to convince me that it was a necessary turn of events. The end of the book is very lovely for Charles seeing as he has new career prospects, which I'm very curious to see enfold (how will that affect his detective work?). The characters are very well-drawn and frankly charming (I want to see more of Graham) and Charles' musings are smart and heartfelt, which makes him one of the most endearing characters I've met. The plot is uneven, I find - I guessed the motive straight away and it's frustrating to have to wait for the resolution to be told that one was right all along. On the other hand, I would never have guessed the various twists and turns the story took and the myriad vivid characters and clever clues that were scattered were deeply engaging and kept me riveted. This is a really good installment in the series and I felt a little sad to find out that the main detective has resolved many a murder since the first book which the author simply alludes to but doesn't develop. It felt very Sherlockian in this way and I can only hope that a book of stories is in the works for at least some of those cases. This is a really good series I plan to see through until the end (not too soon, pretty please, I'm enjoying it too much!)
  • (3/5)
    the mystery was just ok, but the atmosphere is good.
  • (5/5)
    This second installment in the Charles Lennox series is as delightful as the first.Charles Finch once again masterfully weaves impeccable historical research, full, rich characters and an intriguing mystery into an enveloping story that takes the reader back to Lenox's almer mater, Oxford. Even better, it is Oxford in the fall, so Lenox doesn't mind too much when a student's mother frantically knocks on his door early one morning to report that her son is missing.At first Lenox is confident the student will be found, until he reaches the room in which he finds, among other strange things, a white cat stabbed with a letter opener hiding a cryptic note underneath and a card simply stating "The Septemeber Society." It isn't long before it is clear that something old and dangerous has been stirring among the ghosts of Oxford's past. With his faithful manservant's help, Lenox manages to investigate a mystery that takes him to the depths and heights of English society, and just about everywhere in between. Sharp, unafraid to take risks, but never hurried, Lenox solves mysteries in a calm, gentlemanly manner that nonetheless keeps the wire of suspense taut.
  • (4/5)
    This is the second book in the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch. Lenox is an English aristocrat whose fortune enables him to work as an amateur detective without payment or taking credit away from Scotland Yard. When he is asked by a distressed woman to locate her missing son, a student at his alma mater Oxford, he agrees to make inquiries. When he visits George's room he finds some odd clues, including a dead cat and notes that make no sense. There is also card from some group called the September Society. Further investigation reveals this society is an elite group of retired military men who once served in the Punjab region of India.

    I became much more comfortable with Charles in this book and the writing just seems to flow much better. I found the mystery to be more complex and it kept me engrossed with plenty of twists and turns. I enjoyed his nervousness as he puts together plans to ask his long time friend and next door neighbor, Lady Jane Grey, to marry him.

    If you are looking for a deep, dark mystery set in Victorian times this won't be the novel for you. This is more of a cozy style mystery where the poverty and dirtiness of that era is mostly missing. I completely love some of the characters that appear to be recurring now: his butler, Graham, and Dr. McConnell and his wife, ToTo. There is also a new and interesting character, Dallilngton, now working as Charles' apprentice.

    I plan to continue this series. I was so-so with the first one, A Beautiful Blue Death, but now I want to find out what Charles' future holds for him so I'll pick up The Fleet Street Murders next.

  • (3/5)
    Another visit with Charles Lennox, Lady Jane, Graham, Toto, McConnell and Edward. Very satisfying. Lady Annabelle's son has gone missing, and she asks Charles to investigate because she doesn't think the police will take her seriously. Listening to her story and seeing the son's rooms, Charles is intrigued enough to take the case, along with his nostalgia for Oxford.Also, Charles spends the book trying to get up the nerve to ask Lady Jane to marry him, which got a bit tedious. He was a little wimpy and wishy-washy about it. But all's well that end's well.On the whole an enjoyable addition to the series, and I look forward to reading more of them.
  • (4/5)
    Synopsis: Two young men have disappeared from Oxford and one has been found murdered. Lenox begins to investigate and is drawn into an older mystery that occurred in India. Lady Jane has a mystery of her own that involves a tall man entering and leaving her house regularly.Review: Good story, although it moves very slowly ~ as do most stories set in this time period.
  • (4/5)
    Charles Lenox's latest case takes him back to Oxford, his alma mater. The only son of Lady Annabelle Payson has disappeared. He is a student at Lincoln College. One name keeps cropping up in Lenox's investigation: The September Society, a military organization with a select membership. What is the society's interest in George? Soon murder is added to Lenox's list of problems to be solved. The demands of the case leave Lenox little time to address the other matter weighing on his mind: his undeclared love for his dear friend and next door neighbor, Lady Jane Grey.I've quickly grown fond of Charles and Lady Jane in the first two books in this series. They're intelligent, decent, and interesting people, and it's a pleasure to spend time with them. Charles is also an avid reader and it's always fun to see the titles on his current reading list. I've always loved working puzzles, and puzzles formed a part of the mystery in this installment. I’m not sure how I feel about the potential business partner introduced in this book. While he proved himself useful, I think Lenox's circle of friends is already large enough to provide aid when circumstances require it, including his valet, Graham, his friend, physician Tom McConnell, his brother Edward, a member of Parliament, and his acquaintance Jenkins in Scotland Yard. I'm not sure another assistant is necessary.One of the characters introduced in the first book is a villain who is currently beyond justice. This individual was mentioned a few times in the second book. It looks like this subplot is a feature of the series, but right now it's not enough of a hook to draw me back to the series on its own strength. Lenox, Lady Jane, and the Victorian London setting are the characteristics of the series that will keep me coming back for more.
  • (4/5)
    This mystery begins in India with some murders that are cold, calculated and cruel in that there appears to be no motive for them. The story slips to to Oxford, England about two decades later in 1866 when an anxious, perhaps overly doting mothers comes to thirty something amateur detective Charles Lenox because her son, George Payson who was studying at Lincoln College, part of Oxford University has mysteriously disappeared.

    Lenox takes the case because he welcomes a nostalgic trip to revisit his own college days at that same University. He arrives at the young man's room and immediately sees a pattern that suggests a message has been left. There is an murdered animal, a sip of paper with a code, various red artifacts scattered on the floor in a seemingly random pattern and a mysterious calling card of an unknown entity 'The September Society".

    The hunt has just begun when a body identified as Payson's and the police become involved and for reasons unclear to me immediately welcome Lenox as part of the team. Really! The next problem is that Payson's best friend has disappeared as well also leaving the calling card of the September Society.

    The story moves along at a moderate pace and aside from Lenox's obsession with his unrequited love for Lady Jane who he has known since childhood, the plotting is intricate and the tale is entertaining. I enjoyed it.

  • (3/5)
    Charles Lenox, gentleman and private investigator, takes the case of Lady Annabelle, whose sons has gone missing from Oxford, leaving behind a dead cat in his room. With the help of his friends and valet, Charles compiles evidence and clues but can't seem to piece together the puzzle. Could it be that his mind is too muddled with the decision of whether or not to ask neighbor and good friend, Lady Jane Grey, do be his wife? The actual case was of less interest than Charles' wonderful personality - so proper and polite but also so doubtful about his worthiness and quite overcome by his affection for Lady Jane Grey.
  • (4/5)
    Charles Lenox faces two challenges in this book. The first is to solve the mystery of an Oxford student's association with a secret society and subsequent disappearance. The second is to ask his friend and neighbor Lady Jane to be his wife. George Payson has disappeared left a variety of odd objects in his room- muddy boots, a tomato, and little scraps of paper with the mark of the September Society. A bit of investigation determines that the September Society is an exclusive club for officers stationed together in the east. Determining what this has to do with the missing Payson becomes Lenox's task. These Charles Lenox mysteries are always satisfactory. They're complicated and well-written. The books have more depth than a cozy mystery, but give plenty of attention to Lenox and his personal relationships. It's rather charming to see Lenox worrying like a lovestruck teenager about his impending proposal. Finch's writing is good and he offers solid historical mysteries. I'm looking forward to the next one.
  • (4/5)
    Just as much fun as his first, [book:A Beautiful Blue Death]. Solid characters, good plotting, pace keeps moving, etc...Finch is definitely more involved with his characters personal lives and relationships that I think is normal for these period mysteries, but he does it well and you care about Lenox, Lady Jane, Graham, etc. Good stuff.
  • (2/5)
    Good, but not great. Nice way to entertain yourself if you are really bored.
  • (3/5)
    Enjoyable characters and intriguing mystery. A little slow in places but it held my interest. I didn't realize this was not the first book in the series, but I'll definitely look into reading the other books as well.
  • (4/5)
    This entire review is one long spoiler. Don't read it if you don't want to know important things.Jesus God, Charles, MAN UP AND ASK HER TO MARRY YOU! I got very, very, very tired of his pussfied wishywashying about whether or not to ask this perfectly lovely long-term widow, who **moved next door to him** after her husband died, if she would consent to marry him. Dude...she's been WAITING for you to do it for like ten years!! She's never even looked at another man! HELLO?!?Yeeesh.So he does, after yet another book's-worth of annoying shillyshallying, and she says yes (gasp), and I lost all interest in the series. I just do not care a whit about this charming, adorable, suffocatingly cozy world any more.Oh...this mystery is set largely in Oxford, which is always lovely, and the London bits that don't involve the romantic idiocy were set in a nasty club of murdering swine, the September Society, who were covering up their illicit possession of a huge hoard of gems that they'd killed this one kid's father to protect the secret of its existence. Only they didn't, see, because he fooled 'em good! He hid for 20 years to protect his abused wife and newborn son!Oh God. Who the hell cares. I read it, I swear, from cover-to-cover, and I wondered as I read WHY I felt I needed to finish it. Charles Finch has some voodoo or another that made me want to finish it up.I did. Poke me with a fork, I'm done now. For good.If you need a cozy fix, and you're more wimp-tolerant than I am, go on and read it. Otherwise, Xanax is a better tranq and peyote takes you on a better trip.
  • (5/5)
    The September Society is a wonderful follow-up to Finch's initial Charles Lenox novel, A Beautiful Blue Death, as rich in period detail and graceful prose. Already established in the debut, main characters are further developed, and the sub-plots involving their daily lives in Victorian England can progress. This is a great traditional mystery novel with surprises until the very end. Having just finished The September Society, I can't wait to begin the next series installment!
  • (3/5)
    [September Society] was fun, but not mind shattering. It had pacing issues throughout that made portions of the story both choppy and distracting. I also found myself wanting more information about the relationships of the core characters and less about the mystery at hand. I'd try one of his others, but I'd get it from the library instead of buying it.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book -- not as much I as I wanted, but more than I expected. Most recent sequels have not lived up to my too-high hopes and this was better than most. Charles Lenox continues to be an engaging and interesting character. I had hoped for more development in his romance with Lady Jane and the mystery moved slowly at times. However, part of the appeal of this series is its pace -- for some reason I find the pace contributes to the authenticity of Finch's portrayal of the Victorian era -- and the characters and the world they inhabit are so appealing, I'm glad to remain with them as long as possible. I'm definitely looking forward to the next in the series.
  • (5/5)
    The redoubtable Charles Lenox returns along with lovely Lady Jane in this second Victorian mystery from Charles Finch. A death at Oxford draws Lenox into the secret doings of the shadowy September Society. Complications ensue before the satisfying resolution. Along the way, Lenox and his Lady Jane take an important step forward in their relationship. I’m looking forward to more in this thoroughly enjoyable series.
  • (5/5)
    Kearsten says: Charming as all get out. Charles Lenox is a gentleman who has been investigating for years - not because it is well thought of (it's not), or because it pays well (it doesn't at all) - but because he likes finding closure and justice for those who have been visited with misfortune. In _The September Society_, the second in this series, Lenox is approached by a woman who's son has gone missing while away at university. Lenox takes on the case, relishing the opportunity to visit his alma matter, Oxford University, but soon discovers that the case is more than a simple missing person. Lenox's concentration is further complicated by the fact that he's decided to ask his long-time friend, Lady Jane, to marry him, but can never find the quite right moment to do so... Charming, smart and sweet, I definitely recommend this one!
  • (5/5)
    Charming as all get out. Charles Lenox is a gentleman who has been investigating for years - not because it is well thought of (it's not), or because it pays well (it doesn't at all) - but because he likes finding closure and justice for those who have been visited with misfortune.In _The September Society_, the second in this series, Lenox is approached by a woman who's son has gone missing while away at university. Lenox takes on the case, relishing the opportunity to visit his alma matter, Oxford University, but soon discovers that the case is more than a simple missing person. Lenox's concentration is further complicated by the fact that he's decided to ask his long-time friend, Lady Jane, to marry him, but can never find the quite right moment to do so...Charming, smart and sweet, I definitely recommend this one!
  • (4/5)
    This is an example of a second book in a series not being as as good as the first. In this case, it got better as it went along; the first third of the book dragged. Let's hope that the third in the series, due out later this year, matches the first one.
  • (2/5)
    Well-written, but this is one for the cozy mystery set. Not my, ahem, cup of tea.