Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry

Description (from cover):

'In this superbly accomplished new Charlotte and Thomas Pitt adventure, Anne Perry takes us beneath the glittering surface of wealthy Victorian society into a nightmare world of fear and intimidation, where women are too often blamed for the violent attacks against them, and powerful men take what they want, leaving others to pay the price.

The horrifying rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, wife of a wealthy merchant banker, falls outside the new jurisdiction of Special Branch head Thomas Pitt, but so pervasively offensive are the rumors about the victim that Pitt quietly takes a hand in the investigation.

Yet even with the help of his ingenious wife, Charlotte, and his former superior, Victor Narraway, Pitt is stumped. Why did high-minded, cultured Catherine choose not to accompany her husband to a grand party on the night of her demise? Why did she dismiss all her servants for the evening and leave the front door unlocked? What had been her relationship with the young man seen frequently by her side at concerts and art exhibits? And what can be done to avenge another terrible crime: the assault on Angeles Castelbranco, beloved teenage daughter of the Portuguese ambassador?

As an ordinary policeman, Pitt had once entered London's grand houses through the kitchen door. Now, as a guest in those same houses, can he find the steel in his soul to challenge the great men of the world with their crimes? The path to the truth takes him in deeply troubling directions, from the lofty world of international politics and finance to his own happy home, where his own teenage daughter, Jemima, is coming of age in a culture rife with hidden dangers.

In this rich, emotionally charged masterpiece, Anne Perry exposes yet another ugly secret of Victoria's proud empire. And in a courtroom battle of unparalleled brilliance, we thrill at the chance to witness a massive wrong righted.'

My thoughts:

Anne Perry is the author who really got me interested in Victorian-themed murder mysteries. This series is the first that I've read of hers and because I enjoyed it so much, I also picked up the William Monk series as well. These two series are my favorite Victorian murder mysteries and Anne Perry is considered to be of a class all on her own. I was worried with the last couple of books in this series as I felt that the series was starting to lose its shine. However, Perry returns to her brilliance in this book and I am so happy and relieved that the series is once again headed in a good direction. To be honest, I think that the fact that Pitt is now head of Special Branch and dealing with more espionage and international accord type of situations, it is so much different from the original books in this series, where he is a nobody policeman trying to make his way in a world where the rich prevail and the ambitious rarely succeed.

This one was paced like the first books in this series and really brought back the feeling and sense that was there are the beginning of the series. The last couple of books published really seemed to lack this and I am so glad that Anne Perry realized that and put Charlotte and Thomas back where they belong, solving complex murder mysteries. Perry uses Pitt's new position in a way, but it really doesn't help much with the solving of the crimes. He just is head of Special Branch, but he acts like he did in his former days as a policeman. Of course, Aunt Vespasia is an endearing presence in this novel. Emily was briefly mentioned in this book, but she hasn't been the loveable nosy sister that we've come to love lately. I really need a book that reunites Charlotte, Vespasia and Emily to make this series feel like home.

This book was focused mainly on rape and suicide. Rape was a very touche subject in Victorian times and when a woman was the victim of such crime, it was deemed to be her fault. Pitt and Charlotte must conquer the negativity of the situation and make sure that justice is served. When the wrong man is accused of murdering and raping a well-to-do gentlewoman, Charlotte and Thomas feel that they must do all they can to make sure that the innocent party is not executed for a crime he did not commit. A fantastic read for lovers of this series who wanted the series to return to its former glory. I can't wait to see how Perry handles this series in the future and hope that she is on an upward trend.


Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Midnight at Marble Arch
Author:  Anne Perry
Series:  Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Mystery #28
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publication Date:  April 9, 2013
Pages:  352
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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