Excerpt from Southampton Row by Anne Perry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Southampton Row

by Anne Perry

Southampton Row
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2002, 336 pages
    Feb 2003, 336 pages

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Yes, Dartmoor would be good: great, clean, wind-driven skies, the smell of earth and grass on unpaved lanes. They would walk and talk together, or simply walk! He would fly kites with Daniel and Edward, climb some of the tors, collect things, watch the birds or animals. Charlotte and Jemima could do whatever they wished, visit people, make new friends, look at gardens, or search for wildflowers.

The cab stopped. "Ere y'are sir," the driver called. "Go right in. Gentleman's expecting yer."

"Thank you." Pitt climbed out and walked across the pavement to the steps leading up to a plain wooden door. It was not the shop in the back room of which he had found Narraway in Whitechapel. Perhaps he moved around as the need directed? Pitt opened the door without knocking and went in. He found himself in a passage which led to a pleasant sitting room with windows onto a tiny garden, which was mostly crowded with overgrown roses badly in need of pruning.

Victor Narraway was sitting in one of the two armchairs, and he looked up at Pitt without rising. He was a slender man, very neatly dressed, of average height, but nevertheless his appearance was striking because of the intelligence in his face. Even in repose there was an energy within him as if his mind never rested. He had thick, dark hair, now liberally sprinkled with gray, hooded eyes which were almost black, and a long, straight nose.

"Sit down, he ordered as Pitt remained on his feet. "I have no intention of staring up at you. And you will grow tired in time and start to fidget, which will annoy me."

Pitt put his hands in his pockets. "I haven't long. I'm going to Dartmoor on the noon train."

Narraway's heavy eyebrows rose. "With your family?"

"Yes, of course."

"I'm sorry."

"There is nothing to be sorry about," Pitt replied. "I shall enjoy it very much. And after Whitechapel I have earned it."

"You have," Narraway agreed quietly. "Nevertheless you are not going."

"Yes I am." They had known each other only a few months, worked very loosely together on just the one case. It was not like Pitt's long relationship with Cornwallis, whom he liked profoundly and would have trusted more than any other man he could think of. He was still unsure what he felt about Narraway, and certainly he did not trust him, in spite of his conduct in Whitechapel. He believed Narraway served the country and was a man of honor according to his own code of ethics, but Pitt did not yet understand what they were, and there was no bond of friendship between them.

Narraway sighed. "Please sit down, Pitt. I expect you to make this morally uncomfortable for me, but be civil enough not to make it physically so as well. I dislike craning my neck to stare up at you."

"I am going to Dartmoor today," Pitt repeated, but he did sit down in the other chair.

"This is the eighteenth of June. Parliament will rise on the twenty-eighth," Narraway said wearily, as if the knowledge was sad and indescribably exhausting. "There will be a general election immediately. I daresay we shall have the first results by the fourth or fifth of July."

Excerpted from Southampton Row by Anne Perry Copyright 2002 by Anne Perry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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