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Southampton Row: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel Paperback – June 28, 2011
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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
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was interesting all the way thru; I didn't want to stop reading until I finished it. I strongly disagree with the negative reviews I read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Brogdon
Good read; a book to read after reading some heavy and serious material.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Anne Perry is a prolific author who manages to keep each story fresh! I enjoy each story on its own and as part of the story of Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in Victorian England.Published 6 months ago by caking715
As usual I love Ann Perry's writing. Her books are always interesting. Had a good story line and kept me turning pages. Love the characters and get involved in their lives. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Cleone Peterson
I am a regular reader of Ms. Perry and know her books well. I usually figure out who-done-it very early but I am a unusually good plotter according to my teachers... Read morePublished 12 months ago by mary L. Mastin
Loved every moment of this thrilling story. Anne Perry has hit her stride and delivers a cogent and appealing plot that is a pleasure to read.Published 16 months ago by kauaigirl