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Seven Dials (Charlotte and Thomas Pitt) Hardcover – February 4, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

London detective Thomas Pitt is investigating the murder of a junior diplomat by a notorious Egyptian woman and her lover, a senior Cabinet minister involved in negotiating the conflict between Egypt's cotton growers and England's textile industry. Lovat, the diplomat, once served in Egypt, and to unravel the mystery of his death, Pitt travels to Alexandria, where he finds that the beautiful Ayesha Zakhari is not who she appears to be--and that Lovat's murder may be tied to an old crime which, if exposed, could set the Middle East aflame. While Pitt is in Egypt, his wife, Charlotte, occupies herself with a more mundane matter--the disappearance of a valet whose sister is a friend of the Pitt's housemaid. It's not long before the reader realizes the connection between the two crimes; meanwhile, Perry layers this smoothly plotted mystery with a fascinating history of Egypt in the days of the British Empire and the religious and economic tensions whose repercussions still resonate more than a century later. Perry, the author of two Victorian-era series (the other stars investigator William Monk), does her usual fine job of bringing the colorful time period alive, helped along by the details of domestic life provided by her protagonists' wives, interesting and accomplished women who have lately played all but equal roles in solving their husbands' cases. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

In her 23rd Victorian mystery featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt (after 2002's Southampton Row), Perry uses a pending economic crisis to good effect. Now firmly ensconced in his job with Special Branch, Thomas looks into the murder of a junior diplomat, whose corpse turns up in a wheelbarrow in a garden belonging to a mysterious and beautiful Egyptian woman, Ayesha Zakhari. Pitt travels to Egypt for answers, but the more he learns about Miss Zakhari the more he suspects that she's the pawn in some ugly political game. The Pitts' maid, Gracie, involves Charlotte in the search for a missing valet. Gracie also enlists the aid of Thomas's former subordinate, Sergeant Tellman, and in one of the charming subplots of the book, their romance develops further. The trail leads Charlotte into the dark and dangerous alleys of London's Seven Dials district, and eventually she and Thomas discover that the two cases intersect in a horrifying way. Perry once again delivers a complex and satisfying tale that fans of the series will devour.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345440072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345440075
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

Interesting story with a very surprising ending!
Amazon Customer
Interesting story, combining different locations and balanced character integration and development.
Maureen A. Gaffney
The plot of this story takes place in Victorian England and in Egypt.
S. Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on June 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte have been at the center of many mysteries, many of which take them into the heart of the underworld of Victorian London. Nothing is ever as it seems on the surface, however, and it takes the married couple more than wits in order to solve a crime. The mystery which surrounds that in Seven Dials is no exception.

This time, it's a case of diplomacy, as a seemingly open-and shut-case occurs. Apparently, an Egyptian woman shot her lover in her back yard and then put it in a wheelbarrow in order to get rid of it. But it becomes increasingly clear to Pitt that Ayesha Zakhari, supposed mistress of a member of the Cabinet, is not the perpetrator of the crime, after all. For one, there is no blood on her white evening gown, and she was not strong enough to put the dead man into the wheelbarrow by herself. It soon comes out that cabinet member Saville Ryerson was at the scene of the crime not long after it occurred. Soon it becomes clear that the murder is linked to the riots that have been taking place at Manchester- where, incidentally, Ryerson is from.

Victor Narraway sends Thomas Pitt to Alexandria to find out more about Miss Zakhari- and he learns a number of interesting things about the relationship between the woman and the deceased man. Narraway, however, has a much deeper reason for sending Pitt away- the case is becomeing much more serious than anyone had suspected.

Unrelated is the case of Martin Garvie, manservant to a Mr. Garrick. When Martin goes missing, his sister Tilda enlists Gracie's help to find him. It soon becomes clear to Charlotte Pitt that this is no simple case of a dismissed valet; his master Mr. Garrick has also vanished mysteriously, apparently taking Martin with him.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor V. Miller on March 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I think by this point in time it might be more appropriate to call Anne Perry's stunning Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Victorian mysteries a saga rather than a series. Her masterful exploration of the minutiae of 19th century manners and mores not only reminds me of Galsworthy or Trollope, but her overall vision of Pitt's world has evolved into something almost epic in scope. "Seven Dials" is an especially fascinating extension of her steadily intensifying image (most recently "Whitechapel Conspiracy and "Southhampton Row") of Thomas Pitt as Hero, struggling desperately and essentially alone to defend Queen and Empire against sinister political forces which seek to destroy them. This latest, enormously complex novel begins shortly after Pitt's recent forced reassignment to the Special Branch when he is dragged from his bed at dawn and ordered to report to Victor Narraway, head of Her Majesty's Secret Service, for briefing. Edwin Lovat, a junior diplomat, has been shot to death late at night in the garden at luxurious Eden Lodge; the owner of the weapon, its Egyptian tenant...beautiful, enigmatic Ayesha Zakhari...has been caught in the act of trying to dispose of the body, and her current paramour, senior cabinet minister Saville Ryerson, has inexplicably arrived on the scene within minutes of her apprehension. Pitt's charge is to investigate the matter but protect Ryerson if at all possible since even a whiff of scandal could jeopardize on-going negotiations in a potentially explosive labor situation in Ryerson's Manchester district (dependent on Eqyptian cotton for its weaving industry) and might be disasterous to already fragile Anglo-Egyptian relationships.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Fletcher Adolph on June 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've always enjoyed Anne Perry's Charlotte and Pitt mysteries more than her Monk and Latterly mysteries. They are not perhaps as deep but they are usually much more fun. I find it easier to identify with the main characters and the ambience of their lives is more satisfying.
Seven Dials, the most recent Charlotte and Pitt mystery, is for me one of her better recent books. The writer's facility for setting a scene, whether it is a society event, the slums of the east end of London or the streets of Alexandria is unparalleled. She makes her way unerringly through the mind-boggling convolutions of Victorian morality without miring the reader in its tedious virtue.
This is another of Anne Perry's good yarns, complete with Gracie, Aunt Vespasia and sister Emily. It is full of strong emotions, well-honed dialogue and spiced this time with Pitt's visit to Egypt.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Seven Dials is one of the best books Perry has written lately. A minor diplomat is killed, apparently by an Egyptian woman, and an important political figure looks to be impicated--but his downfall would be detrimental to delicate negotiations, so Special Branch, in the form of Pitt, is called in. There's a good mystery with far-reaching political ramifications, some domestic drama, and Pitt gets to take a trip to Egypt. Followers of the series who want to check in on the characters will get to do so. Nearly everyone gets some juicy material. Especially good is the further exploration of Narraway's character; he was a bit two-dimensional previously, but he gets flsehed out a bit here. Charlotte gets to do some "detecting," as do Gracie and (at Gracie's insitence) Tellman. The only quarrel I have is that, once again, two different cases eventually intersect. The coincidence is hard to swallow, but the rest, the plot, the pacing, and the characters are good enough that it's easily overlooked.
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