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Southampton Row: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel Paperback – June 28, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thomas Pitt prefers the grim routine of murder investigations to the riskier probing of Victorian governmental intrigues. Yet Anne Perry's Southampton Row again finds him displaced from his police command, this time to foil the political ambitions of a ruthless republican.

Charles Voisey, leader of a powerful secret society known as the Inner Circle, was defeated by Pitt when he tried (in The Whitechapel Conspiracy) to abolish the British monarchy. Only months later, though, he's back on top, running for a seat in Parliament. Under the auspices of the newly created Special Branch, Pitt is charged with learning whether Voisey has any "unguarded vulnerabilities." The odds against Pitt succeeding are high; Voisey may be "shallow, self-important [and] condescending," but he impresses voters as more charismatic and less controversial than his opponent, Aubrey Serracold, who's also hobbled by his connection to the recent slaying of a popular spiritualist. While Pitt's wife, Charlotte, and their family are safely out of London on vacation, Pitt, aided by the gruff but dogged Inspector Samuel Tellman, his politically astute sister-in law, and Charlotte's resourceful great-aunt Vespasia, seeks to solve the medium's murder before it can derail Aubrey Serracold's campaign.

Perry expertly portrays the volatile British political climate of the 1890s, and by making Pitt and Tellman rivals in their investigation, she further illuminates both men's characters. However, Southampton Row reduces the usually intrepid Charlotte to a hand-wringing irrelevance, and the novel feels too much like an intermediate and inconclusive chapter in a longer story arc. Like Holmes and Moriarty, Thomas Pitt and Charles Voisey appear destined to grapple once more. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

HNewcomers to Perry's series about Victorian police officer Thomas Pitt might be baffled by all the backstory from 2001's The Whitechapel Conspiracy in this 22nd entry, but loyal fans should hit the ground reading. Bounced from his beloved job as superintendent at the Bow Street cop shop in the political backlash of the plot against Queen Victoria that he and his aristocratic wife, Charlotte, uncovered in that last book, Pitt not only has to work for the sneaky Victor Narraway of Special Branch but must also give up a much-deserved vacation with his family to look into the murder of a society spiritualist in London's Southampton Row. It seems that Charles Voisey, head of a secret society called the Inner Circle and the man whom the Pitts stopped from coming this close to turning England into a republic (with himself as president), is now running for Parliament as a Tory against a promising Liberal candidate, Aubrey Serracold. Voisey shouldn't stand a chance unless Serracold's wife, one of the murdered medium's clients, really did knock her off. Since Charlotte spends virtually all of the book on Dartmoor, her place in the investigation is ably filled by her sister, Emily, married to another up-and-coming Liberal. As ever, excellent craftsmanship sets this series in the front rank of historical mysteries. (Mar. 1)Forecast: A 15-city author tour, national print and radio advertising as well as a sample chapter in the mass market edition of The Whitechapel Conspiracy (Jan.) should help ensure another run up bestseller lists.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Charlotte and Thomas Pitt (Book 22)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345523687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345523686
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This latest Thomas Pitt mystery is definitely a page turner. From the glittering drawing rooms where politics is discussed and policies decided, to the country side of Dartmoor, Anne Perry weaves a tale that is compelling and absorbing. And while I was disappointed that Charlotte Pitt and Gracie (the Pitts enterprising maid) did not figure prominently in this installment, I liked that Emily Radley (Charlotte's younger sister) had a bigger role in this novel -- she has been somewhat sidelined in the last few books, and I missed her character dreadfully.
In the previous Pitt mystery novel, "The Whitechapel Conspiracy" Pitt defeated the Inner Circle's plan to replace the English monarchy with a republic. This feat earned him the enmity of Charles Voisey, who was to be England's first president. Now, Voisey is running for the south Lambeth seat in Parliament on the Tory ticket. Meanwhile Pitt, who instead of being able to return to his previous position at Bow Street, has been seconded to Special Branch -- a department within the police force that deals primarily with the terrorist threats of the Irish Separatists. Now, Pitt's brief is to keep an eye on Voisey, and to see if Voisey is doing anything underhanded to ensure that he wins the election. But from what little Pitt can see, Voisey seems to be doing nothing nefarious in order to sway the voters -- save being a rather charismatic speaker. And then Pitt's superior commands him to investigate the murder of the clairvoyant, Maude Lamont. Pitt discovers that Voisey's Liberal opponent for the Lambeth seat is Aubrey Serracold and that Serracold's flamboyant and outspoken wife, Rose, was one of Lamont's clients.
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Format: Hardcover
Southampton Row continues the story of Pitt's fight against the Inner Circle. Now we see that the shadows of this group are becoming flesh and blood and the power that the body weilds is much clearer and directed towards Pitt in particular.
The story involves Pitt becoming involved in an election process that will return Gladstone to power although it is early made clear that this will be a short lived government and that what is really going on is positioning for the next election. Perry's grasp of the British election process of the 1890s is excellent and the attention to detail extremely important.
By products of the election are the death of a spirit medium, a bishop doubting God and changing personal relationships. We also see the developement of Pitt's former superior, Cornwallis into something more than a former Naval officer. Tellman has moved up in the police world and is now an inspector. Pitt is bounced again from Bow Street and resumes working for the Special Branch and it's shadowland of combating treachery against the state. It is a little strange that in order to combat the Inner Circle and its shadowy operation, Pitt has found himself working for the very organization that would like to put the Inner Circle down. Pitt is shown to be out of his element in this area but when survival counts, he learns quickly.
Charlotte and the family are smaller elements in this story. It is to be hoped that the author remembers her audience base and gives Charlotte a greater role in up-coming books. However, being a mother in the 1890s, raising two children and running a home somewhat cut into crime solving time. It remains to be seen how Ms. Perry makes this situation work.
This is a fine read for those interested in pure mystery and late Victorian social issues. However, if a reader is looking for how Charlotte gets invovled, it will not be up to their expectations. In all, I found this to be a fascinating story and one that I will revisit.
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Format: Hardcover
"Southampton Row", English author Anne Perry's latest novel in the Inspector Pitt series places the intrepid Inspector in a setting that leaves the reader intrigued and troubled. It is Pitt's success in "The Whitechapel Conspiracy" that now threatens him and his family. Charles Voisey, the Inspector's Whitechapel nemesis reappears to haunt Pitt again. Thanks to the machinations of the Inner Circle, Pitt loses his position at the Bow Street Station and is sent to work at the Special Branch Office, a division within the Police Force set up to investigate terrorist activities. The terrorist in Pitt's life turns out to be Voisey, who as part of his continuing effort to republicanize English politics campaigns for Parliament. Pitt is assigned to shadow Voisey and determine his weaknesses. The campaign and Voisey's connection to the murder of a spiritual medium in Southampton Row threaten Pitt profesionally and personally. The new setting involves more than just the detection of a murderer in Southampton Row, it involves the mind games played in the web of deception woven by the Inner Circle and all those forced to deal with it.
In "Southampton Row", Inspector Pitt is compelled to think and act like those he despises most, the members of the super-secret Inner Circle. In the process, Pitt develops more than his usual sincere search for truth and justice, he demonstrates a newfound ability to think like Voisey. This leaves the reader wondering if the good Inspector is now walking the same path as Voisey. Has he, through his work, become contaminated with the characteristics of those he despises most. What price truth? Honor? The safety of loved ones? Will Thomas compromise his principals to protect Charlotte and their children?
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