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4.5 out of 5 stars
Death on Blackheath: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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?

Anne Perry was so successful in describing the biting cold and wet of this British winter that I kept making pots of hot tea to warm myself while I read. I appreciate the way she also puts so much thought into every character which appears in her novels and how they don't always act in prescribed ways, just in human ways. It makes them seem very much like real people. There are quite a few other Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels and yet a reader new to the series could easily begin here and fully understand this story. I can't help but think that curiosity will then have them searching out previous novels because there are many references to cases which have been solved before. I found this novel to be completely satisfying and can definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written and well plotted novel augmented with historical feel. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

I received this arc through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2014
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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Thomas Pitt is now in charge of Special Branch and finds himself in a strange world where loyalties and obligations are rarely spoken about but affect all his dealings with everyone. When a ladies’ maid disappears from the house of Dudley Kynaston the case becomes one for Pitt because Kynaston is working on designs for submarines to be used in warfare.

The maid’s disappearance could be a matter of national security. Pitt needs to use all his contacts and those of his wife, Charlotte, to solve the case and prevent damage to his country’s interests. I enjoyed this well written Victorian crime novel with its meticulously researched background. It is the first book I have read by this author and I shall definitely be reading more of this series.

The only reason why I have not given it five stars is that I felt I was missing a dimension of the story because I hadn’t read the rest of the books in the series. Yes it can be read as a standalone novel but I think the reader will probably get more out of it when they are familiar with the rest of the series. The relationships between the various characters will mean more and nuances in the dialogue and interactions will be clearer.

If you like Victorian crime novels then try this series for interesting mysteries and believable and three dimensional characters as well as a vivid evocation of late Victorian London.

I received a free copy of this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
We love it. The author has tight and intrigueing plots but evokes so much warmth and humanity in every one of her sentences. And we love the values and the compassion behind all of her books. Garth and Elizabeth Cant, Christchurch NZ
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is a travesty of Perry's talent and capabilities. It is even worse than Brunswick Gardens or Treason at Lisson Grove - and that's saying something!

Not only has the most compelling character in this series, as well as many of the other characters we have enjoyed and cared about, been almost non-existent; not only has she awkwardly resolved what could have been an interesting plot twist involving Emily, with a few simplistic words spoken by Charlotte and Vespasia, but above all, she committed the unforgivable sin for an Author. She blatantly copied the story line from one of her earlier books and attempted to weave it into this one. It was predictable from the beginning and worst of all, it was a betrayal of her readers. It even belittled, in retrospect, the previous book from which she plagiarized. Until the very end I hoped Perry would redeem herself. Sad to say, it was a vain hope.

Even Patterson, whose goal seems to be getting as many books in print in as short a time as possible, did not resort to such a cheap, tactic, devoid of any creativity whatsoever. It is all the more tragic considering what marvelous books this Author gifted us with in the past.

Shame on you Anne Perry, I shall greatly miss you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Oh, my. Well, Anne Perry certainly has a track record. The earliest installments of her adventures of Thomas Pitt and his "highborn wife," Charlotte, were masterpieces. As the series has gone on...well.... In this installment, some grisly remains have been found on the property of a high ranking government official, which means that Special Branch, the government branch of law enforcement similar to our FBI, is called in to investigate. It sounds like an interesting plot, and it is...but I do wish Anne Perry would go back to the details that made her earlier books so engrossing. In these later entries, her characters become preachy. We spend much of our time reading of characters either sitting or standing absolutely still, thinking of the ramifications of their actions on their various relationships, be they social, familial, employment or otherwise. This gets tiresome after awhile. I want to scream at the page that these characters should stop ruminating and DO something, dammit! For all that, the plots are uniformly well done, and the solutions are satisfying. i just wish we could get to them with less pondering, is all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I really enjoy the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, but would recommend (as with most series) that you start with the first book. The set characters in it do evolve and it helps to know the background - but it's not absolutely necessary and you can read this one alone and fully understand the story. Anne Perry's mysteries are well constructed and full of social and historical insight of the Victorian era. Her stories do focus on the dark side of human nature, but there is the brighter side of family ties and men of honor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Though I've loved most of the books in this series, the plot in this mystery was full of holes and lacked both the charm and suspense of earlier entries. Even new developments for our favorite characters lacked the usual flair to draw in the reader. Disappointing but the author 'phoned in' this one.
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