PARAGON WALK by Anne Perry
April 2000
Harper Collins  - Paperback
Center Point Pub
ISBN 0006511228
ISBN: 1585470058

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde, MyShelf.Com
Buy a US Copy || Buy a UK Copy

First published in 1981 here is another chance to read the third in Anne Perry's popular detective series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt.  This time Pitt has been called to Paragon Walk, a very exclusive street where his wife's sister Emily lives with her new husband.  A seventeen-year-old girl called Fanny Nash has been raped and stabbed, dying in the arms of her sister-in-law the resplendent Jessamyn.  Instantly all the men in the street are under suspicion, not least Emily's husband George Ashworth.  Can it be one of the Nash brothers, the beautiful Frenchman Paul Alaric, the aristocratic Dilbridges with their decadent parties or the miserable Hallam Cayley?  Or maybe one of the women has something to do with it such as Jessamyn, browbeaten Phoebe or man-mad widow Selena Montague?  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.  Paragon Walk appears calm and sophisticated 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.  Historically accurate - apart from a few Americanisms but then it was originally intended for the US market, as are all her novels initially but the history does not intrude into the story.  Superb.

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