Monday, November 10, 2008

Half Moon Street, by Anne Perry

(hb; 2000: twentieth book in the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series)

From the inside flap:

"Superintendent Thomas Pitt cannot immediately ascertain exactly what segment of society the dead man riding the morning tide of the Thames cam from, but the sight of him is unforgettable. He lies in a battered punt drifting through the mornging mist, his arms and legs chained to the boat's sides. He is clad in a torn green gown, and flowers bestrew his battered body.

"Is he, as Pitt fears, a French diplomat who has gone missing? Or merely someone who greatly resembles him? Pitt's determined search for answers leads him deep into London's bohemia to the theatre where beautiful Cecily Antrim is outraging society with her bold portrayal of a modern woman -- and into studios where masters of light and shadow are experimenting with the fascinating art of photography.

"But only Pitt's most relentless pursuit enables him to identify the wildfire passions raging through this tragedy of good and evil, to hunt down the guilty and protect the innocent."

Review:

Another excellent entry in the Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series. Perry freshens the formula by focusing on characters who normally don't get as much "air time" in the series.

Charlotte Pitt is away in Paris with her sister Emily, and Emily's husband, Jack; Gracie (the Pitts' maid) is away on vacation with the Pitts' young children. This situation allows Caroline Fielding (Thomas's mother-in-law) to take a more direct, if inadvertant, hand in helping Thomas solve this case, which may or may not be an international incident (Thomas's professional specialty).

That's not the only storm brewing: the arrival of a not-so-distant, previously-unknown relative (Samuel Ellison) from America provokes Mariah Ellison (aka, Grandmama, Caroline Fielding's former mother-in-law) to panic and fury -- and possibly the revealing of a dark family secret. Will Caroline find out what it is before her family -- and her still-young marriage -- is shattered?

Check the series out.

Followed by The Whitechapel Conspiracy.

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