Charlotte and Thomas Pitt
Harper Collins Crime - September 2001
ISBN 0006511244 - Paperback
Historical Mystery - London, England / 1880s

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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First published in 1983 here is another chance to read the fifth in Anne Perry's popular detective series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. Charlotte's mother Caroline has lost a locket containing a compromising picture and she entreats her daughter to help her retrieve it. On finding out that several other people in the exclusive Rutland Place have also lost small items she begins to wonder whether the reason might be blackmail, for surely no servant could have access to them all? Then somebody is murdered and Pitt is called in to investigate and everybody is under suspicion. What has happened to the daughter of the Charringtons, and what secrets do the romantic Lagarde siblings hide? As the net closes in more and more secrets reveal themselves until the shocking secret is laid bare.

I am always reminded of a calm pond into which somebody has just dropped a stone when I read an Anne Perry novel. Suddenly the surface breaks up into ripples that spread wider and wider and hidden depth are exposed the more you peer into the murky water. Rutland Place appears calm and sophisticated to the onlooker but ugly secrets are hidden behind the lace curtains. The more you read the more are revealed and the pace gets faster and faster. Perry certainly has a rare gift of spinning a suspenseful yarn that starts quietly and rises to a crescendo. Here the oppressive summer heat mirrors the stifling atmosphere of the Walk as suspects gaze at each other in fear and wonder who will be next. It all feels historically accurate although I wonder why the characters have been given overly flamboyant names that seem more fitting for a romance than a crime novel. These minor gripes aside it is as superb as her others.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Rutland Place #5
Southhampton Row #22
Seven Dials #23
Buckingham Palace Gardens #25
Treason at Lisson Grove #26
Dorchester Terrace #27 [review 1] [review 2 ]
Death on Blackheath #29

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