Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Headline
Release Date: January 2003
ISBN: 0747268967
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime (London 1890s)
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

Seven Dials
Charlotte and Thomas Pitt #23
By Anne Perry  

    Many authors having written so many novels about the same people might have long since run out of steam, but Anne Perry keeps turning them out and all of them are good! This latest is no exception, especially as now Pitt is no longer a mere policeman, but is working for Special Branch; this makes all the difference, for it is only the characters who are allowed the scope to change and grow that become the stalwarts of fiction people want to keep reading about. This one starts surprisingly unassumingly with what sounds like an open-and-shut case of an Egyptian woman murdering a young diplomat who was pestering her, and then adding an element of farce by putting it in a wheelbarrow ready to dispose of with the help of an accomplice who is her lover and a rising politician. So the sinister Narraway (is he involved with the Inner Circle?) sends Pitt off to Alexandria to investigate, little knowing that Charlotte is up to some investigating of her own in the case of a seemingly unconnected missing servant…

     As usual, this is a superbly paced and plotted book, replete with page-turning suspense as well as social comment and a wonderful depiction of Cromer's Egypt that recalls Michael Pearce (only minus the humor). Glimpses of horror and madness behind the lace curtained facades, sinister secrets, and lurid crimes make these novels the Sherlock Holmes for the modern reader. As usual, though, it all ends too abruptly and leaves the reader somewhat mystified as to what on earth can happen next; several possibilities presenting themselves in a rather unfinished and unsatisfactory manner akin to A Funeral in Blue (also reviewed for this site). It is the added dimension of Alexandria and secret police work that lifts this novel up over some of her others and I was left thinking that the whole scenario seems to have taken on a life of its own in a way that surely all writers of long-running series hope for, but few achieve. As ever, this is a vastly entertaining treat of a page-turner that the Victorians themselves would have loved to read.

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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