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Read Cardington Crescent (1988)

Cardington Crescent (1988)

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3.88 of 5 Votes: 4
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0449214427 (ISBN13: 9780449214428)
fawcett books

Cardington Crescent (1988) - Plot & Excerpts

Eighth in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series set in late 19th century London.The StoryThe Eustace March is having a house party and part of its intention is to vet Jack Radley and arrange his marriage to Tassie. For some reason, George, Emily, and Aunt Vespasia are part of the party; Vespasia is Eustace's mother-in-law and George's great-aunt. William and Sybilla March are also visiting. As the members of the party pursue the activities of upperclass-dom, George takes up an overt flirtation with the very willing Sybilla with whom he is falling in love and Emily is terrified at the thought of losing her George. Emily's misery is showing and making George angry [prick!] and Emily determines that she will fight fire with fire and become the life of the party. It does work…on Jack. This does catch George's attention and Emily believes they have a chance again only to find that chance forever shattered when she finds George dead in his bed.As much as he likes Emily, even Thomas is concerned that she may be the murderer. A grave concern when yet another murder occurs within the house. Fortunately for Emily, Charlotte arrives to stay…and detect. The resolution of it revolving around the family dynamics and dysfunctions…with a little help from yet another murderer.The CharactersLady Ashworth, Emily, is married to George in what has been, up to now, a very happy marriage. She is also Charlotte Pitt's sister.Charlotte Pitt married seriously down, class-wise, when she insisted upon marrying Thomas Pitt, the son of a gamekeeper and now a detective with the Metropolitan Police force in London. Of a naturally curious bent, Charlotte regularly "helps" Thomas solve cases by using her upperclass connections---sometimes with Emily and Vespasia's help. It's been a lovely collusion as it provides a showcase for discussing social issues of the day---and satisfying to Perry's readers as Vespasia collaborates with the powers of the day to do something about those issues.Thomas is a social misfit in more ways than just marrying way above himself; he also thinks himself good enough to enter anyone's house…gasp…by the front door. He does try hard not to make political waves, but he still "don't take no shit". Ya gotta love him just for that! Together, they have two children, Jemima and Daniel.Aunt Vespasia, Lady Cumming-Gould, was beautiful as a girl and has retained the beauty and the confidence to be honest and compassionate…and a very smart, no-nonsense woman in her older years. She doesn't put up with much from either Eustace or Mrs. March---go Vespasia!The characters relevant to this particular story include Eustace March who is the head of the family and a more overbearing, self-righteous, know-it-all prick I never want to encounter again. He has a dark, disgusting secret, which only reflects his attitudes. Between him and his mother, they manage to tear everyone apart over and over as they combine forces to railroad Emily.William March is the son of the house and an accredited painter and in 12 years of marriage to Sybilla has not yet managed an heir. A lack his father and grandmother never cease to rail about. Sybilla herself is a beauty in both looks and personality, too bad about her morals, flirting outrageously with George.Tassie March is the daughter of the house and takes after Vespasia's side of the family---she has a compassionate heart. However, she also has carries a family-destroying, bloody secret.Jack Radley is, like Emily, an outsider amongst the Marches with only his face, his personality, and his wit to recommend him although Eustace is courting him for his bloodline. If he marries Tassie, Eustace might get his peerage.My TakeAs ever, Perry does a lovely job of recreating the sense of the late 19th century through the dialog and the mores, culture, and styles of the time. The part I don't understand is why Emily and George and Aunt Vespasia are even staying at the Marches. They all live in London. Why would they be spending weeks at a house where they can't stand its matriarch or her son?? I also resent the summary on the back of the book where it claims that George is a womanizing aristocrat. Sure, he's an aristocrat. But this is the first time [in the series] that George has behaved this way. This does not make him a womanizer!This is just like book covers…don't the summarizers or cover artists ever read the damned book??!Now that I have that off my chest. It's a very frustrating and terrifying read as there seem to be no clues to help clear Emily and the only allies she has are Aunt Vespasia [I do love this woman!] and Jack, the man she suspects of having killed George.The CoverThe cover is…different. In two shades of gray, there is an inch-and-a-half diameter circle rich with an empurpled London street scene at night which doesn't appear to have anything to do with the story.

Three stars for a plot which seesaws between two seemingly disparate murders, four stars for its engaging story, characters, and sense of historical place, including Charlotte and Emily, and Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould who play major roles.Cardington Crescent is the eighth book in Anne Perry’s Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series of historical mysteries. The main story takes place in June 1887. George and Emily are staying with his relations, Eustace March in Cardington Crescent when George is murdered. Pitt is called in to investigate. Emily, the prime suspect calls for her sister, Charlotte, and she helps Thomas with the investigation. The murder is solved at the end of the novel, but not before another murder is committed. As with the other Pitt novels, the theme of Victorian hypocrisy, injustice, and mistreatment, especially of women and children is flawlessly portrayed.However the book begins with another murder, seemingly unrelated to George March’s murder, and not mentioned again until late in the book. The willful dog of a passerby discovers human remains by the side of a churchyard in Bloomsbury, hacked and bleeding and tied up in grease paper. After Pitt’s initial attempts to discover the victim’s identity and murderer, the incident is dropped, not picked up until late in the novel when a clue discovered during the March murder investigation, leads to the solution of the Bloomsbury murders, and, helps to unveil the Cardington Crescent killer. This disjointed plot was mildly puzzling, but did not distract me enough to stop reading. Without hesitation, I recommend the book to all who love the Pitt series.

What do You think about Cardington Crescent (1988)?

This is my latest selection in the Pitt Series and my march towards reading them all. I enjoyed this one as much as any of the others I have read. Many of my favorite characters from this series appear in this book which certainly adds to my enjoyment of the story. In this one Charlotte Pitt's sister, Emily and her husband, George are visiting members of his extended family. George spends the evening flirting with his cousin's wife. The next morning, George is found dead in his bedroom. Members of the family and house guests immediately suspect George's wife, Emily, of murdering her husband in a fit of jealous rage.Charlotte sets out to prove that her sister Emily had nothing to do with her husband's demise. During the course of her subtle investigations she uncovers a number of deeply guarded family secrets. A decidedly good read.

Another very good story from Anne Perry although I must say, the last two books of her's that I've read that involve Thomas and Charlotte Pitt end rather abruptly. Anne has a very good sense of how to build up her characters, the locations she chooses for her stories seem extremely real to the reader and many of the characters can really infuriate you. The smugness, the completely blind and ignorant way the wealthy seem to live in the Victorian period never ceases to amaze. One minute they speak of God and Christianity and the next they're bad mouthing their family members and twisting proverbial knives into their kin. The mysteries that were created in this particular book brought two miserable and nasty realities to the reader- one is dealing with baby farms and the other is how a wealthy man and his absolutely hideous mother care not about anything but their own selfish desires and the havoc it causes. Also, it's extremely infuriating to see how women had to play the part of "children" to some degree and not even be able to confront their own husbands when they were unfaithful, lest it be shown as bad taste, etc. The way Emily had to deal with her husband's stupidity and blatant wooing of another woman in plain sight was completely tasteless and pathetic on his part yet she couldn't do anything to stop it and is even told to grin and bear it.

Lady Emily and her husband, Lord Ashton are visiting a rather unpleasant set of relatives when it becomes apparent that George is falling for the lovely wife of their host's son. Emily is distraught, but with her pluck, she attacks the problem with her usual sense. George and the young woman have a terrible scene and he and Emily are reconciled. The problem is that no one knows this and when George is found murdered, Emily is suspect. The detective on the case is Emily's brother-in-law, Thomas Pitt and Emily's sister, Charlotte is there to help. Emily and Charlotte were both born into society but Emily married far abover her station and Charlotte married the only man she ever found who interested her, Inspector Thomas Pitt, who was tutored with a gentleman's son, but was far below her in social standing. This unlikely pair have had enormous success with Charlotte moving in society and giving Pitt the kind of information he could never glean from interviews, while he brings a suprising intellect and shrewdness and disarming good manner. Finding out who murdered George is more than a little difficult this time because so much is at stake. Charlotte and Emily peel back the hidden layers of this families relationships aided by George's indomitable Aunt Vespasia.
—Anne Hawn Smith

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