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Read Bethlehem Road (1991)

Bethlehem Road (1991)

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3.86 of 5 Votes: 1
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0449219143 (ISBN13: 9780449219140)
fawcett books

Bethlehem Road (1991) - Plot & Excerpts

Tenth in the series of Victorian mysteries featuring the investigative strategies and life experiences of Inspector Thomas Pitt and his forthright wife Charlotte. This one explored the suffragette question as it affected various levels of London society in 1888. We get some long speeches on both sides of the issue which didn’t tell me anything about the Cult of Domesticity as it was practiced in this society that I didn’t already know; still, the revelation of just how few basic rights women legally had, and the controlling power their fathers and husbands could wield over them—for both good or bad—is important historical information that many readers who don’t know about this should learn.. I particularly liked the villain’s modus operandi in this one: a serial killer is picking off Members of Parliament crossing Westminster Bridge over the Thames late at night, after a late sitting of Parliament has adjourned. As they hurry briskly home through the damp and fog, to their comfortable homes on the south side of the river, someone is catching politicians of this august body alone, slitting their throats, and then using their white silk scarves to tie their dead bodies, like overdressed scarecrows, to lampposts scattered along the famous crossway. Who is to blame? Is it the diabolical work of anarchists, an embittered suffragette, or a lunatic—-or might it be some personal vendetta? Thomas must investigate, and Great-aunt Vespasia gets Charlotte involved, probing the mystery from another direction, and unbeknownst to Thomas. In this installment, we also come to better know and appreciate Thomas’s new supervisor, Micah Drummond.

This was one of the more complex of the Thomas and Charlotte series. The story begins when a Member of Parliament is found on Westminster Bridge with his throat slit. There seems to be no reason for his death until a second Member of Parliament is killed in the same way. Suspicion falls on the suffragettes and especially one woman in particular who has been greviously wronged by one of the victims, her estranged husband. As this series continues, Anne Perry is giving a riviting description of the state of women during the Victorian era when husbands had complete control of their wives including their money and children. At the time of this novel, laws had just been passed to consider a woman in her own right and not as chattel to her husband. She was also in control of her own money, but things were not a whole lot better. The prime suspect has had her children taken from her including her 6 year old daughter and was cast out without any resources never to see her children again. She was considered an unfit mother because she was a suffragette and, because she did not have independent means, was left to the mercy of friends or a life on the street. Some of the most extreme Victorian attitudes are fleshed out in this story making for some very interesting reading.

What do You think about Bethlehem Road (1991)?

Read by Davina PorterDescription: The gentleman tied to the lamppost on Westminster Bridge is most elegantly attired—fresh boutonniere, silk hat, white evening scarf—and he is quite, quite dead, as a result of his thoroughly cut throat. Why should anyone kill Sir Lockwood Hamilton, the kindest of family men? Increasingly turned off by Perry's books. I put this on to perform a scale of extreme ironing that only comes from five weeks summer bumming. I preferred the monotomy of smoothing combined with the smell of starch on crisp linen to this bloated snoozefest. Expect the rest from this author to hit the OTBRIWPB shelf sooner rather than later.NEXT3* Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #3)3* Death in the Devil's Acre (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt #7)CR Bethlehem Road (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #10) 3* The Face of a Stranger (William Monk, #1)3* A Dangerous Mourning (William Monk #2) 2* A Sudden, Fearful Death (William Monk, #4) 3* The Shifting Tide (William Monk, #14)4* Dark Assassin (William Monk, #15)4* Execution Dock (William Monk, #16)3* A Christmas Guest (Christmas Stories, #3)3* A Christmas Beginning (Christmas Stories, #5)

I was somewhat disappointed with book 10 of inspector Pitt and his wife Charlotte mysteries. I got annoyed with the main protagonists, but not the murders and the following investigation. The idea I especially find ridiculous was Pitt's declining his promotion to the chief inspector and much higher income. Both Pitt's whining about the loss of the job he loved for the sake of his family and Charlotte's sweet insisting on his declining of better prospects and income for the sake of his happiness were grating on my nerves. Why did Anne Perry introduce the idea in the plot which was so implausible? A man in the victorian times wouldn't have rejected the promotion which would mean improving the standard of living of his family, especially when his job involved daily risks of his losing his life in the line of duty and leaving his wife a penniless widow. Moreover, he and his wife would both have thought about the future of their children and the prospect of having more children in the future (there weren't any contraceptives available then). They wouldn't have lived complacently, enjoying their life without any worry about the future.However, apart from this issue the book is a good victorian mystery, providing quite a lot of interesting details about that era, this time focusing on women's suffrage, but also describing how much women's lives were governed by men and women's lack of many fundamental rights.

The issue of women's rights pervades Inspector Thomas Pitt's tenth adventure in late 19th-century London. Three Members of Parliament have had their throats slit while crossing the Westminster Bridge. All three voted against female suffrage. As Pitt investigates, his suspicions fall on a vocal and much-wronged suffragette; other unlikely candidates include anarchists and madmen. As usual, Pitt's wife, Charlotte, and her delightful Great Aunt Vespasia play sleuths as well. Perry uses well-mannered prose, satiric wit, and fine sense of place and time to construct a completely believable and human world. A sterling performance and a collection must.
—Connie Melton

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