Charlotte Pitt's sister, Emily, has been accused of murdering her wayward but wealthy husband. Now Charlotte and police inspector Thomas Pitt must breach a formidable uppercrust barrier to prove Emily's innocence. Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries are rich and suspenseful journeys into a world filled with impeccable manners and intrigue.
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I mistakenly listened to this book out of order in the series, and as I realized that, I hoped I would not regret it. And actually, it was okay. Although I will remember that Emily's husband gets murdered (in the future, as I go back and read the ones I missed) I don't think that will keep me from enjoying them as much as much as I have the others I've heard.
This book focuses more on the detective Thomas Pitt's wife Charlotte, who has always been a big help to him anyway, as she comes to stay in the house where her sister Emily's husband has been murdered. Suspicion falls upon Emily, and Charlotte is determined to see that the real murderer is apprehended. Thomas seems to play a lesser role in this book, but he is there.
This book has an interesting cast of Victorian upper-crust characters, who are very intolerant of anyone outside their strict social circles. Therefore Charlotte is only barely tolerated, despite she has the same aristocratic upbringing that Emily has (but left to marry policeman Thomas, something the people in this story find incomprehensible). This tension between the classes tends to be a central point in these books, as they occur at a time when being part of the newly developed police force is looked down on, so Charlotte and Emily help Thomas in their way, by providing some entry into the snobbish homes.
I love the writing, the historical settings, the way the characters are drawn, and the narration of these books so far. I believe the continuing tenderness and closeness between Thomas and Charlotte, living in such challenging conditions, might be a bit romanticized, but I accept that as being just the way the author wants to present them, to provide contrast with the other characters, whom she tends to portray as less likable. In the hands of a less skillful author, that would be a little much, but it seems to work here okay. I found this one to be very interesting and would recommend. However, I do suggest that a reader not make the mistake I did and read it out of sequence. I don't think it will hurt when I read what I missed, but in a series, it is always better to read them in order.
to my ears anyway. I liked the first novel in this series, but found the next couple had very reptitive dialogue and drawn-out exposition that did little to further character, plot or period atmosphere.
This installment offers better dialogue, pace and plot. Don't download it if you are looking for a page turner, though -- atmosphere is the strongest feature. Also don't download it if you're looking for modern romance and sex in Victorian costumes (like Amanada Quick novels). Though Perry can have improbable plot elements and Charlotte can sometimes think like a 20th century college eduated women, overall the novel, especially with excellent narration, doesn't seem too anachronisitc.