November 9, 2013

Book: Rutland Place by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:01 am

imageWe have reviewed some of Anne Perry’s books in the past. As always, this one is also a Victorian mystery with one of Anne’s favourite investigator Thomas Pitt playing a part. This mystery hits close to home for Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte.

Charlotte’s mother Caroline is distressed because a locket with the picture of a long-time crush is stolen. Picture is of Paul Alaric, a local playboy!  Happily married Caroline fears a scandal and still goes weak in the knees even now, whenever Paul even looks in her direction. Charlotte is scandalized.

The theft seems to be part of a broader series of events. Many items are stolen from various houses and Caroline feels watched. The sense of something not being right deepens when Mina Spencer-Brown, a wealthy neighbour is dead by poisoning.

There are many neighbours introduced, and their story told in parallel. For instance, Ambrosine Charrongton’s daughter Ottilie had died just a week before. Eloise Lagarde and her brother lived alone but Mina had a crush on him. Ambrosine’s daughter had died and she is the mother in law of Mina.

As in a classic murder mystery, suspicion falls on several people. When Charlotte suspects Lovell Charington of having murdered his daughter Ottilie, he takes her to a nightclub to prove she has not died. She only has become a bar singer, a huge scandal that they cover up by claiming that she is dead – one suspect freed from suspicion.

Tomrod Lagarde has an accident and becomes paralyzed and his devoted sister Eloise is beside herself with grief. Enough characters? In a small book, this makes your head spin a bit. This is no Game of Thrones Series to put in so many characters, now, is this?

Then the story twists around, with the denouement coming almost in the last page. The solution for the missing items is interesting. But the answer to the mystery is not.

Populated with Ada Church, the most famous musical performer, Amyrillis Denbigh a spiteful old woman, Dr Mulgrew who seems to be the physician for all these rich people, the story lacks the tightness of some of Anne’s best works, for instance Whited Sepulchres.

The book is not bad. But there is nothing to set it apart from any of the mysteries that abound. This book deserves a 4/10

–        – Krishna


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