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Death on Blackheath: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 25, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 317 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Perry may regret giving her long-running Victorian series hero, Thomas Pitt, a promotion to head of Special Branch, which takes him off the London streets, where he’s excelled, to his new role of keeping England safe from spies. It’s hard to get a good investigation going and involve his companion in crime solving, wife Charlotte, when everything is hush-hush. But, in a credibility-stretching maneuver, Perry gets Pitt back on the mean streets by positioning blood and hair on the very steps of the London home of a government scientist who is absolutely key in the Ministry of Defense. So Pitt, being of Special Branch, must investigate (pretty creaky copus ex machina here) and soon is at a gravel pit, where the body of a young woman has been found. Is it the missing lady’s maid to the defense minister’s wife? Once a positive connection has been made, Pitt must sort through whether the murder might have been the result of a broken-off affair or blackmail, among other possible motives. Even when warned off by Downing Street, Pitt persists, aided by Charlotte and her aristocratically placed sister. The contrived plot drops this one below Perry’s usual high level. --Connie Fletcher


Praise for Death on Blackheath
“There’s just no stopping Anne Perry. . . . [Her] Victorian mysteries never disappoint.”Bookreporter
“Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining . . . The period detail is beautifully done, and realistic characters and tense action are woven seamlessly together.”Historical Novels Review
“What distinguishes [Anne] Perry’s work is her clean, penetrating style and her contemporary take on antique, prewar society.”St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Praise for Anne Perry’s most recent Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels
Midnight at Marble Arch
“Sweeping and scandalous . . . Perry has perfected a delicate touch.”The New York Times Book Review
“Perry is a master at illuminating the wrongs of the Victorian age.”Booklist (starred review)
Dorchester Terrace
“The always clever Anne Perry infuses Dorchester Terrace with the right amount of intrigue and complex relationships that have made this prolific series one of the finest in modern mystery fiction.”Bookreporter
Treason at Lisson Grove
“Perry has always done her historical homework on the darker elements of the British ruling class, and she has outdone herself this time.”—The Washington Times
Buckingham Palace Gardens
“An intricate plot about a murder at the palace [with] an irresistibly appealing Upstairs, Downstairs perspective . . . a fine introduction to Perry’s alluring world of Victorian crime and intrigue.”The New York Times Book Review
“Another winner . . . a wonderful cast of characters with many twisting plots.”—Vero Beach Press Journal

Product Details

  • Series: Charlotte and Thomas Pitt (Book 29)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345548388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345548382
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (317 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Assassin and The Shifting Tide, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including The Cater Street Hangman, Calandar Square, Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane. She is also the author of the World War I novels No Graves As Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep, as well as six holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Grace. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read all of Anne Perry's Victorian novels and am a big fan of her work, in general. Her earlier works are vibrant, absolutely alive with period detail and color. They boast a swift tempo with action and suspense harmonized with romance and emotional insight. Her main characters are complex people who develop over time into seasoned and mature persons, credible and likable. The author's typically winning formula hasn't quite come together in this latest novel, in my opinion. Indeed, her last several novels seem to be more languid and formulaic. I wonder if Perry is simply getting bored with these characters and this time period? Death on Blackheath seems tired and often turgid to me. There is a lot of repetitive inner musings by Pitt and not much in the way of real action or suspense. As his investigation gets bogged down, so does the novel. Pitt, the recently promoted head of Special Branch has been called in to investigate the sudden disappearance of a housemaid in the home of a naval weapons expert. As the naval race between Britain and Germany was gearing up at the end of the 19th century, it was feared that the maid's disappearance threatened dire implications for national security. That should have provided a tense and urgent scenario for the reader, but somehow, this book never really got off the ground for me. There were so many thwarted avenues of investigation, not a lot of action, and Pitt's wife Charlotte, a spirited and clever woman who has played important roles in his earlier investigations, has a very limited role in this one. I think a number of Perry fans will find this novel not up to her usual standard, but as every Perry fan also knows, a ho-hum Perry novel is still better than a good many others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anne Perry's Thomas Pitt series has been a wonderful look at the Victorian world, its crimes characters and revelations. Each installment gives the reader another facet of Victorian life brought into excellent focus with Perry's careful descriptions and perceptive details. "Death on Blackheath" has many twists and turns. The reader begins to appreciate the complicated Victorian society and its political overtones. The rich and famous are shown to be hollow reeds when personal advancement and profit is in the offing. Women as well as men are equal villains and their class distinctions no salvation. "Blackheath" also brings new developments in the lives of our favorite characters. No one is static in Thomas Pitt's world which makes the reading of Perry's tales all the more interesting and believable. An excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
How wonderful it is to return to an author I have enjoyed in the past and find that her work still has the high standards I had found in her previous books. Anne Perry has a long record of published novels but the quality has not diminished from my first experience with The Cater Street Hangman: The First Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel where she began the adventures featuring Thomas Pitt and Charlotte Ellison through to this latest book. Much time has passed over the course of these novels, but Perry has maintained a very realistic feeling of warmth, love, and regard between Pitt and Charlotte and the large group of friends they have made during the course of the investigations. This novel has Pitt calling on all of them in hopes of solving the questions of murder and disappearance which seem to evade his best investigative abilities.

Thomas Pitt is now the Commander of Special Branch investigators who keep close watch on anything concerning the political welfare of the British government. When a lady's maid disappears it is indeed cause for the Special Branch to become involved because that maid worked in the household of Dudley Kynaston, a senior government official who is assigned to work with naval defenses. Kynaston is working on the new submarine systems which are expected to change the way war is carried out and his work is vitally important, especially for an island nation such as Britain. The body of the woman found close to the Kynaston home could possibly belong to the missing lady's maid, but how did she die and why was she disfigured after death?
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Format: Hardcover
I like Anne Perry, I really do. I like her characters and her vivid depictions of early (Monk) and later (Pitt) Victorian life. But her plotting has gone completely to hell. She now writes as if her readers are cretins, and the implausibility of the action has entered the realm of absurdity.
In this latest Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery, Ms. Perry would have us accept that a member of the British Parliament steals bodies from morgues, mutilates their faces, places them on Blackheath and then waits for Thomas Pitt to deduce that it is he who is doing it. You could drive a Hummer through this gaping plot hole. All that Carlisle has to do is call Pitt and tell him that he suspects Kynaston of treason. There is no need at all for 200 pages of "who killed the girls and left their bodies?"
I have not finished the book yet, and am reading it in the same sort of spirit in which we watched "The Poseidon Adventure" years ago - can something really be this bad?
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