The Last passenger
Take a trip back in time before cars, planes and fast trains were on the scene and handsome cabs were a viable mode of transportation. The year 1855 and the place London. Within this novel you’ll meet many people from different walks of life, and you can hear their descriptions and prejudicial remarks noting how they look down on people not worthy of being in their presence. A third-class car at Paddington Station is the focal point of a murder. Slumped in this third-class car is a young gentleman with no identity, no luggage, empty pockets, and no sign of physical violence. But the odd thing would be related to his clothes. All the distinguishable factors like labels or origin of where his garments were made were gone. A violent murder nonetheless and it brought our young investigator, Charles Lennox to the scene to assist Scotland Yard. But, some in high positions at the Yard resent his presence while the head of the Yard, Richard Mayne requires and requested his help. Obstacles are huge and royalty and class prejudice of theses royalties makes the damage and tension rise and the intense grief of a close friend.
Entering the meeting you can feel the heat rising as Dunn the second in line does everything in his power to undermine and discredit Lennox. Observation is one of his strong points and being methodical is another.
When questioning people at the scene Lennox sees the conductor not wearing a uniform and at this point, we learn the importance of words. He lied to the authorities and said he collected the tickets but was missing a bus ticket home for himself. This leads him to believe that he was an imposter and not working for the railway. Then another murder happens, and Lennox uncovers it letting us know that the real conductor was the victim and this killer might or did have these murders well in hand, planned out and possibly had an accomplice.
Added in the author includes his wealthy friends and the hope that he might finally meet someone as Lady Jane plays and important part in this area of his life. He needs to often take a step back and reflect on his past, personal issues in his life and Kitty Ashbrook who appears to be his soul mate, but will that bring him love or more obstacles? How will this and the murders blend into one?
Lennox realized that found the body of the real Cindy, of the 449. The manner of dress was also a key factor. Looking for the home of the stationmaster, Joseph Beauregard was next. Searching in an area where most would not be where he found Norman Hasse’s body . Finding the body completed one time but the stationmaster of the night before told the constable no as far as affirmation .
With Graham his servant and closest confidant he proceeds to try and solve the murders but Inspector Hemstock requests his assistance his superior Ephraim Dunn wants him out of the way.
Lennox is resourceful and places ads in the paper requesting anyone who road or traveled on the 449 to specific destinations during the time period of the murder to come forward and he explained where and what the compensation would be. But person who came to offer information about what or who he saw on the train does not realize how he helped uncover an important clue to where the young man came from and things begin falling into place and another ad would identify him. Added in a young child whose only goal is to sell pauses daily from 2 until midnight might also have information he does not even realize.
Each character is struggling in different ways with their lives. Some trying to survive and others judging people with their prejudicial eyes while Lennox often separates the two struggling in his own ways .
Lenox is resourceful and places ads in the paper requesting anyone who road or traveled on the 449 to specific destinations during the time period of the murder to come forward and he explained where and what the compensation would be. But person who came to offer information about what or who he saw on the train does not realize how he helped uncover an important clue to where the young man came from and things begin falling into place and another ad would identify him. Added in a young child whose only goal is to sell pauses daily from 2 until midnight might also have information he does not even realize.
Each character is struggling in different ways with their lives. Some trying to survive and others judging people with their prejudicial eyes while Lenox often separates the two struggling in his own ways . A complex novel with multiple plots as we meet an African Man who knows the murder victim and we learn he was a congressman from Massachusetts who believed in abolishing slavery. Thus, links it to the tensions before the Civil War.
Meeting Mr. Hollis who was enslaved , he learns how he connected with Gilman the victim on the train and several others who formed a party to hopefully abolish slavery in Ameritech the results were tragic and even thus man was recently injured.
The plot goes deeply into the reasons why Gilman and severs others were in a London focusing on the abolitionist movement hoping to have support but the Knights of America in England needed protection while there and the journal that this Congressman kept enlightened Lenox, Dunn and Hemstock to much more. Added in Lenox learns about Deere and Lady Jane and the fact he was going to do a two-year tour in India leaving her in London.
Someone fell to his death but was he the killer. Lenox meets a man who represents the United States insists on hearing the entire accounting of the murders from start to fin. Was this all about abolition? What about the warnings from those who endorsed slavery? Just who did Lenox really see at Paddington Station ?
The connections are coming together, and the motives pile up as author Charles Finch reminds us of what preceded the Civil War, unrest in many cities and states and Britain’s role in determining the position the country wanted to express. Through the characters and those in charge of .Scotland Yard we realize that an ending to the case meant moving on to something they’d rather handle.
The ending allows readers to understand slave trading and the buying and selling of humans into slavery. Those responsible would pay but one demanded something in return for information.
A death would sever a close friendship and a courtship would end because of the importance of marrying into wealth and having a title. Lives take on different turns and Lenox has to soul search for where he wants to be next and what he wants in life.
Friendships change, a war will begin as the right to freedom had a long road ahead. A novel that brings to light human slave trade it is trafficking not so far from different kinds today. The story closes as we learn the fate of the Last Passenger.
Fran Lewis just reviews