The nineteenth novel in Anne Perry's highly acclaimed mystery series featuring Thomas Pitt
Anne Perry lives in Scotland. Her well-loved series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt has recently been adapted for television. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed William Monk and Hester Latterly mysteries.
Bedford Square is the 20th Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery by the consistently excellent Perry. This time around, the Pitts are investigating a corpse that was left on the doorstep of General Balantyne (familiar to readers of Death in the Devil's Acre, LJ 10/1/85). Balantyne denies knowing the dead man, even after his snuffbox is found in the man's pocket. Whom is he protecting? What secret is he hiding? The Pitts soon discover a web of blackmail and intimidation that seems to threaten only honorable and powerful men. As usual, Perry brings vividly to life the world and people of Victorian England. Her many fans will enjoy this story of a passionate struggle to find the truth and bring a criminal to justice. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/98.]‘Laurel Bliss, New Haven, CT
'A splendidly plotted yarn' Publishers WeeklyGive her a good murder and a shameful social evil, and Anne Perry can write a Victorian mystery that would make Dickens' eyes pop out - New York Times Book ReviewBeautifully crafted - Cosmopolitan'The Troubles perfectly suit Perry's gift for rooting large-scale social conflict in the minutiae of domestic intrigue' Kirkus ReviewsHer Victorian England pulsates with life and is peopled with wonderfully memorable characters - Faye Kellerman'Perry's narrative is as statley and elegant as a royal barge on the Thames' Washington Post'Master storyteller Anne Perry moves closer to Dickens as she lifts the lace curtain from Victorian society to reveal its shocking secrets' Sharyn McCrumbThe novel has a totally contemporary feel and is admirably well-written - Guardian
History, social commentary and suspense blend artfully in this 19th installment (after Brunswick Gardens, 1998) in Perry's popular series featuring London Police Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his adventurous wife, Charlotte. The mystery arises when a body is found outside the home of respectable General Brandon Balantyne (who appeared in two earlier Pitt novels). Pitt and Sergeant Tellman, whose class prejudices are challenged during the investigation, are mystified by the body's identity and the motive for the murder. Their diggings lead them to a parallel case, when Pitt discovers that six honorable men, including Balantyne and Assistant Police Commissioner Cornwallis, are being blackmailed. Perry uses the historical Tranby Croft gambling scandal involving the Prince of Wales as backdrop, highlighting how even the imputation of wrongdoing can tarnish someone's good name. To find the blackmailer, Pitt seeks a common bond among the accused. The careful reader may spy that link before Pitt does, but will nonetheless be swept along by the narrative's rush and engaged by its attention to period detail. Aiding Pitt is a cast of smart, well-drawn female characters: Charlotte, whose social connections afford her access to society's upper crust; Gracie, the Pitts' uneducated but no-nonsense maid; and Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould, Charlotte's worldly-wise relation, who dominates the narrative once she joins the investigation. Pitt solves the case based on a clever red herring, uncovering the murderer in a quick, horrifying finale. Yet again, Perry delivers an astute and gripping examination of life behind Victorian England's virtuous facade. Mystery Guild main selection; author tour. (Apr.)