I just don't have time to do full blown reviews right now!
When I did my January recap post, I realized that I had only read one Scribd book. If I am going to maintain my subscription, I need to read at least four or five books a month to make it worth my while.
When I saw that Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series was available, it made me think. I've really struggled with the idea of Anne Perry as a novelist/murder mystery writer given her personal history as having been involved in - and gone to juvenile prison for - a murder.
I am also, however, a believer in giving people - even people who have been convicted of crimes - a legitimate second chance at reformation, especially when they committed their crimes as juveniles (Perry was 15). At this point, the murder was a long time ago (1954), and so, while I am still uncomfortable, she has done what was asked of her by her community, and can fairly claim to be both remorseful and reformed.
That's a long intro into this review, but I think it is important to say it before I talk about the book itself.
So, The Cater Street Hangman was Perry's first published novel, and is the first in her long-running Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. I do not believe that I had ever read this book before, although I think I have read others in the series. This is the introductory story that explains how Inspector Pitt - a working class policeman in Victorian England - met and married his beloved Charlotte - a young woman from a much higher social class.
There are a lot of things to like about this book. The setting is convincing and well-rendered, and Charlotte Pitt nee Ellison is a very likeable character. The hypocrisy of Victorian upper-class society is exposed in a way that is compelling and infuriating. And the mystery itself is interesting, although I did figure it out.
I have two complaints: first, the romance between Pitt and Charlotte takes a second fiddle. I would have liked to have seen more of them falling in love. It feels sort of perfunctory. Second, it ends so abruptly that I couldn't believe it was over. The mystery is solved and in literally the next paragraph, the book is over.
By the time we begin the second book, Pitt & Charlotte are married, so we never do get to witness the fireworks and fights and drama that would have ensued when her parents learned she was going to marry a policeman. I was hoping for some popcorn worthy entertainment here - since I knew that they ended up married, I was looking for some major rows and recriminations to enjoy. We are deprived (or spared, depending on your perspective) of the opportunity to see Charlotte stand up to her parents.
Solid Victorian mystery with interesting main characters.