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Half Moon Street (Thomas Pitt Mystery, Book 20)


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The twentieth mystery in the bestselling Inspector Pitt series, by the master storyteller of Victorian society, Anne Perry

About the Author

Anne Perry lives in Portmahomack, Scotland, and her well-loved series featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt has recently been adapted for television. THE CARTER STREET HANGMAN was watched by millions of viewers when it was broadcast by ITV. Also available from Headline are the critically acclaimed William Monk and Hester Latterly mysteries.


Set in Oscar Wilde's London in 1891, Perry's new Thomas Pitt mystery is all about the importance of being earnest. Superintendent Pitt is summoned to the Thames when police discover the body of a young man dressed in a torn green velvet gown, manacled to a punt, "in parody of ecstasy and death." At first it seems the victim is Henri Bonnard, a functionary in the French embassy; eventually, Pitt and dour sidekick Sergeant Tellman identify the body as Delbert Cathcart, a gifted photographer. Was there a connection between Cathcart and lookalike Bonnard? Why was Cathcart's body arranged in that disturbing "feminine pose," which Perry repeatedly describes as a "mockery" of paintings of the Lady of Shallot and Ophelia? Meanwhile, Pitt's mother-in-law, Caroline Fielding, recently married to an actor 17 years her junior, blushes and stammers as her husband and his theater friends expound on Ibsen. While she's clarifying her views on the irresponsibility of pornography, Caroline spends long hours entertaining Samuel Ellison, her late husband's American half-brother, who tearfully recounts his nation's history ("I watched the white man strengthen and the red man die"). For a grandma, Caroline is an oddly jejune character, and her moralistic musings overwhelm the mystery plot, which stagnates early on. What's clearly intended to be intellectually challenging comes across as silly and pretentious. There's even a pub scene in which Wilde himself witlessly pontificates, and "a pale young Irishman addressed by his fellows as Yeats, stare[s] moodily into the distance." 15-city author tour; audio rights to Random House Audio. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

'A splendidly plotted yarn' Publishers WeeklyGive her a good murder and a shameful social evil, and Anne Perry can write a Victorian mystery that would make Dickens' eyes pop out - New York Times Book ReviewBeautifully crafted - Cosmopolitan'The Troubles perfectly suit Perry's gift for rooting large-scale social conflict in the minutiae of domestic intrigue' Kirkus ReviewsHer Victorian England pulsates with life and is peopled with wonderfully memorable characters - Faye Kellerman'Perry's narrative is as statley and elegant as a royal barge on the Thames' Washington PostThe novel has a totally contemporary feel and is admirably well-written - Guardian'Master storyteller Anne Perry moves closer to Dickens as she lifts the lace curtain from Victorian society to reveal its shocking secrets' Sharyn McCrumb

On the morning tide, a flat-bottomed boat drifts to the edge of the Thames. A body wearing a green velvet gown and strewn with artificial flowers rests within, chained in a ghastly parody of Ophelia. When the corpse turns out to be a young man, Superintendent Thomas Pitt of the Bow Street Station has to find out if the body is that of a missing French diplomat. Pitt's investigations take him into the shadowy world of some rather specialized photography. In the course of the search, some truly horrible family secrets are revealed, which in true Perry fashion seem more shocking for being disclosed in the context of the Victorian, mannered society. As in productions of several other Perry novels, accomplished actor David McCallum does a wonderful job with voices; each character is distinct and easily identifiable. For all public library collections.DBarbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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