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text 2017-06-28 19:32
Paradise Pier #28
Silence in Hanover Close - Anne Perry

I landed on Paradise Pier #28, which calls for a book set during the Victorian era. I still have two of these Open Road editions of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series that I bought on sale, so I decided to read this one! I'm not sure if this is a reread or not - I have read a number of these books before, but never quite know which ones.

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review 2017-06-06 20:26
Reading progress update: I've read 352 out of 352 pages.
Seven Dials - Anne Perry

Only 330 pages of this count toward BL-opoly, since the rest was previews of coming attractions.

 

I was thinking it's been at least ten years since I last read one of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries by Anne Perry, but on reflection it's probably closer to 15 or even 20 years.  Time flies, and all that.  Also, this is one of the later books in the series than when I stopped reading them, so there have been developments in the Pitts' status that I've missed, such as the birth of two children and so on.

 

But this didn't take away very much from the understanding of this particular novel.  There were some explanations included, though they were neither extensive nor intrusive.

 

The characters of Thomas and Charlotte are still likeable and admirable -- and believable.  After attempting to read not one but two Dorothy Uhnak crime novels with utterly awful characters, I was very much relieved to welcome myself back into the late Victorian London home of the Pitt family and into the lives of their friends. 

 

I wish Perry had included more details of that London of the 1890s, but perhaps that's a bonus granted to those who read the whole series.  Fortunately, there was not an overabundance of fashion detail; enough, but not too much.

 

Better, however, was the integration of contemporary social and political history into the fabric (pun intended) of the story, which involves the tensions between England with its near monopoly of the cotton spinning and weaving industries and Egypt as the exploited colonial source of the raw cotton.

 

Thomas Pitt is now working for something called the Special Branch -- I missed out on the explanation of this in intervening novels -- and is called in to investigate the murder of a young man in the London garden of a mysterious Egyptian woman.  She is understood to be the mistress of a high-level government figure, Saville Ryerson.  Ryerson represents much of the cotton mill interests around Manchester, and negotiations with Egyptian interests are at a delicate point.  The mill owners and workers want to keep the cost of raw cotton down and the supply of it flowing steadily; the Egyptians are tired of being exploited and want the price to rise along with being able to develop their own textile industries.

 

Pitt, who comes from a working class background, has sympathies on both sides, and this makes him a more interesting character than just your ordinary detective.

 

His wife Charlotte, whose family is much higher on the social ladder than Thomas's, has over the course of the series become something of an amateur detective herself.  In this book, her assistance is sought by a friend of their housemaid to locate a missing brother.  Much of Charlotte's detecting is accomplished while Thomas is sent to Alexandria, Egypt, to investigate the history there of the murder victim as well as the mysterious woman who has been accused of killing him.

 

What I didn't like, and what pulled my rating down significantly, was the clumsy way Perry wove (pun again intended) the seemingly disparate threads together.  And the ending was just not believable.

 

That the missing brother is indirectly tied to the murder was bad enough.  But when the whole mystery is solved, the connections between the Egyptian woman and the British envoy with whom Pitt makes contact in Egypt, between Ryerson and Pitt's supervisor in Special Branch, and so on and so on and so on was more than a little eye-rolling.

(spoiler show)

 

The ending was especially awkward because although it seemed to effectively avoid exposing the most dangerous of several scandals, I couldn't quite believe that

[spoiler]

a dramatic murder-suicide in the courtroom during a sensational murder trial wouldn't in and of itself spark further investigation that would uncover the whole sordid mess that was supposed to be covered up

[/spoiler].

Easy, comfortable reading that might have been enhanced a little if I had read all the preceding books in the series, but they weren't absolutely necessary.

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text 2017-06-04 02:19
BL-opoly - Chance #35 - Police Procedural or Police Detective
Seven Dials - Anne Perry

This will definitely suit me better than Dorothy Uhnak!

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text 2016-11-06 13:07
October Wrap-Up & November TBR
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition - J.K. Rowling,Jim Kay
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson,Jonathan Lethem
The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey
Faint of Heart - Jeff Strand
Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett
Interim Errantry: Three Tales of the Young Wizards - Diane Duane
Death Note: Black Edition, Volume 1 - Taskeshi Obata,Tsugumi Ohba
The Cater Street Hangman - Anne Perry

Books Read: 9

 

5 Stars: 2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated Edition)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

 

4 Stars: 3

The Monstrumologist

Faint of Heart

Reaper Man

 

3 Stars: 3

Interim Errantry

Death Note: Black Edition: Volume 1

The Cater Street Hangman

 

2 Stars: 0

 

Books I regret spending money on: 0

 

Reviews Written: 10

 

Reviews I need to write: 4

Interim Errantry

The House of the Seven Gables

Bourne Ultimatum

American Gods

 

November TBR

With only two months left until this year's reading challenge comes to a close, I've selected ten books that I want to finish before the New Year. If I read more than these ten, that's fine, but I do want to finish these books: NeuroTribes, A Storm of Swords , A Feast for Crows, A Dance With Dragons, Anansi Boys, Equal Rites, Moving Pictures, Small Gods, and Mort. I'm in the process of finishing up Neverwhere and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Macabre Tales from the Halloween Bingo, but once they are completed, I'm jumping right in to A Storm of Swords.

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review 2016-10-26 19:57
Review: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux,Manuela Hoelterhoff,Anne Perry

 

Well, that was crappy. Things do happen in this novel, and yet, it somehow manages to be completely anticlimactic. How? Everything important happens "off-screen" to characters Leroux never bothered to even consider that someone would want to read about, despite being the lead characters in the novel. No, instead, let's have chapter upon chapter in first-person from the point of view of a character that's barely been introduced until the last third of the novel when he's narrating! Erik and Christine? PHHHT! Who'd want to read about the main protagonist/antagonist?! The most interesting chapter in the damn thing is when Christine describes being taken underground by the "Angel," and even then, it's waaaaaay after the fact. I suppose Leroux thought he was creating mystery and suspense. It doesn't work. I can't imagine how this was published as a serial, when no chapter left me wanting more.

 

The characters are insufferable. The only one I felt mildly for was Christine, who had to deal with Raoul's bratty behavior, and Erik's homicidal stalking, the managers not really caring that she disappears and suspecting her of orchestrating some of Erik's tricks, Carlotta's loyal audience giving her a hard time every time she sings... I had a basic female empathy for her, even when she was being frustratingly naive. Raoul can go eat a bag of turds for life; Leroux tried to excuse his behavior by telling us it's his inexperience in love. Generally an inexperienced person doesn't accuse the person he loves of being an unfaithful whore every other sentence, as she's trying to confess what happened. Sighs. And Erik... just forget it.

 

All of it is written as an investigation of mysterious events that transpired at the Opera, making it rather a precursor to modern procedurals, but also making it distant and difficult to care about anyone. It's one saving grace is how short it is.

 

So why is my rating so generous? Well... I said 'its one saving grace,' but it has another, and that's that Leroux came up with an idea so fantastical, so lurid and interesting, that a hundred and five years later, it still belongs in our public consciousness. He did it poorly, but it's inspired so many adaptations, so many people to take the bare bones of what he laid out and elaborate on. And that is more than a noteworthy feat.

 

My Modern Library edition also includes an analysis of the text, which discusses such things as antisemitism and Freudian psychology. Which I feel is giving far too much credit. And also an introduction by Anne Perry, which just creeped me the hell out with her rhetoric espousing sympathetic killers.

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