Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Cater Street Hangman - Anne Perry

After enjoying The Face of a Stranger so much I was anxious to try Anne Perry’s other Victorian series about Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. I was not disappointed.

While the Ellison girls were out paying calls and drinking tea like proper Victorian ladies, a maid in their household was strangled to death. The quiet and young Inspector Pitt investigates the scene and finds no one above suspicion. As his intense questioning causes many a composed facade to crumble, Pitt finds himself curiously drawn to pretty Charlotte Ellison. Yet, a romance between a society girl and so unsuitable a suitor was impossible in the midst of a murder....

Once again one of the wonderful things in Perry’s books is characterization and how she brings to life the Victorian world. The Ellison’s are a well off family, even if not noble and it’s members behave as true people of their time. I really liked Charlotte. She seemed so real, a woman of her time but constantly struggling with the injustices of the double standard of behaviour between man and woman and the moral standards of the time.

I also liked Inspector Pitt although we seem to know him a lot less. He keeps coming to the Ellison’s for more answers on the murder and at time possibly to see Charlotte. His appearance and questions force them to questions some of their acts and behaviour and makes Charlotte more and more aware of him. They come from 2 different worlds and I thought it was also interesting how we had some glimpses of those differences. It made me look forward to the next books to see how they deal with it.

The mystery was also interesting and unusual. There are several clues during the story but I never made sense of them till the murderer is discovered.

In a way I didn’t enjoy it as much as Face of a Stranger, possibly because there’s less introspection and I particularly liked that aspect of the book. But it was a wonderful Victorian mystery and I highly recommend it.

The books in this series in order are:

The Cater Street Hangman
Callander Square
Paragon Walk
Resurrection Row
Rutland Place
Bluegate Fields
Death in the Devil's Acre
Cardingtonn Crescent
Silence in Hanover Square
Bethlehem Road
Highgate Rise
Belgrave Square
Farriers' Lane
The Hyde Park Headsman
Traitor's Gate
Pentecost Alley
Ashworth Hall
Brunswick Gardens
Bedford Square
Half Moon Street
The Whitechapel Conspiracy
Southampton Row
Seven Dials
Long Spoon Lane

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