Summary and book reviews of Southampton Row by Anne Perry

Southampton Row

By Anne Perry

Southampton Row
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2002,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2003,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

For many years Anne Perry's magnificent novels have transported millions of readers into the very heart of one of the richest, most vibrant societies the world has ever known: England in the golden ages of Queen Victoria. Gaslight, cobblestones, halls of power, haunts of vice–all the splendor and sordidness of a world that believed the opulence would last forever.

But now, toward the end of her long reign, Victoria's gold is tarnishing. With a general election fast approaching, a deep rift separates aristocratic Tories from the Liberal opposition. The powerful Inner Circle – a secret society of men sworn to support each other above all other loyalties – is committed to seizing one critical seat in Parliament, a first step towards the achievement of sinister secret ambitions. Passions are so enflamed that Thomas Pitt, shrewd mainstay of the London police, has been ordered to forego his long awaited vacation, not to solve a crime, but to prevent a national disaster.

The Tory candidate is Pitt's archenemy, Charles Voisey, a ruthless leader in the Inner Circle. The Liberal candidate is Aubrey Serracold, whose wife's passionate committment to the Socialist agenda may hurt his chances. Equally damaging is her dalliance with spiritualism. Indeed, she is one of the three participants in a late-night séance that becomes the swan song of stylish clairvoyant Maude Lamont. For the next morning, the maid finds Lamont's brutally murdered body in the séance room of the house on Southampton Row.

To Pitt's heavy burdens is now added the investigation of this most baffling crime. Meanwhile, his wife, Charlotte, and their children are enjoying the country vacation that Pitt has been denied–unaware that they, too, are deeply endangered by the same fanatical forces hovering over the steadfast Pitt.

In this riveting new Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novel, Anne Perry again proves herself a sorceress who transcends time and change, a master without parallel of the dazzling milieu she has so memorably made her own.

CHAPTER ONE

"I'm sorry," Assistant Commissioner Cornwallis said quietly, his face a mask of guilt and unhappiness. "I did everything I could, made every argument, moral and legal. But I can't fight the Inner Circle."

Pitt was stunned. He stood in the middle of the office with the sunlight splashing across the floor and the noise of horses' hooves, wheels on the cobbles and the shouts of drivers barely muffled beyond the window. Pleasure boats plied up and down the Thames on the hot June day. After the Whitechapel conspiracy he had been reinstated as superintendent of the Bow Street police station. Queen Victoria herself had thanked him for his courage and loyalty. Now, Cornwallis was dismissing him again! "They can't," Pitt protested. "Her Majesty herself."

Cornwallis's eyes did not waver, but they were filled with misery. "They can. They have more power than you or I will ever know. The Queen will hear what they want her to. If we take it to her, believe me, you will have ...

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Library Journal

Another perilous case for Thomas Pitt. His enemy Charles Voissey is running for Parliament as a Tory, and the wife of his liberal opponent was present at a seance run by a not-so-foresightful clairvoyant she was subsequently murdered. Can Pitt solve the case and salvage the campaign?

Publishers Weekly

As ever, excellent craftsmanship sets this series in the front rank of historical mysteries.

Booklist - Connie Fletcher

Fast moving and utterly engrossing.

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