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Read Highgate Rise (1992)

Highgate Rise (1992)

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3.92 of 5 Votes: 2
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0449219593 (ISBN13: 9780449219591)
fawcett books

Highgate Rise (1992) - Plot & Excerpts

Anne Perry is one of the authors I routinely look for at book sales, and so I read rather old titles such as this one from 1991. I like her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt very much. They are a loving couple who understand each other, and although Pitt is a cop and their income is low, Charlotte is originally from gentry and has family and friends from that class. This gives them unusual access to people of all walks of life. Charlotte "meddles" in Thomas' cases, but he values her input so unless she gets herself into a dangerous situation, he's fine with that.This was definitely not my favorite novel in the series, but one wonderful thing about all of them is that the reader gets a bird's eye view of society customs, dress, and rigorous rules as well as the plight of the poor. That's particularly true in this book where one character is determined to do something about the rich living off the exorbitant rents they receive from living quarters that are simply death traps. The story begins with a huge house fire and that leads to descriptions of the uselessness of firefighting techniques of the time. Vivid storytelling of this kind is Perry's forte.I grew impatient with the storylines in HIghgate Rise though. Characters are questioned over and over by both Thomas and Charlotte, each character's personality and beliefs are gone over ad nauseum. The story veers from one storyline to another and back again. Although we do learn the identity of the killer in the end, there are multiple loose ends left which may or may not be tied up in following novels. Since I read them out of order, I don't know. I just felt like I'd been dropped off in the middle of London in the middle of the night without direction.Not that this will stop me from searching for more unread titles by Perry. Far from it. I do enjoy most of her books and characters so I will continue to find them for a nice change of pace in my reading life.

As I read other reviews I can understand why some might have thought this novel was not quite as engaging as some of Perry's other novels, I was able to see into a society that is suppose to act one way and only one way. No one should know where the family money comes from or question it. There should be no freedom of speech or speak one's mind in this time period. Charlotte Pitt has a hard time with this - I would have a hard time in this period as well. This novel deals with people who own housing in the slums and how bad things are in these buildings. We still have this problem today. People own property and they don't take care of them. I did guess who was the one that "dun it" once the character was introduced into the story. I still love the writings of Anne Perry as she doesn't have to use sex, and bad language to keep a reader interested in the story. Yeah, Anne!

What do You think about Highgate Rise (1992)?

A Victorian mystery featuring Charlotte and Inspector Thomas Pitt. Clemency Shaw, wife of a prominent doctor, has died in a tragic fire in the peaceful suburb of Highgate, apparently the intended victim of an arsonist. As Inspector Pitt searches for clues to the murder, his wife Charlotte uses her social connections to gather gossip about the Shaw family and to help him solve the case. Each book of the series (this is not the first, if you like to read things in order) addresses a different social problem of the Victorian era and carries along the story of the Pitts and their family. The reader gets a real flavor of what it must have been like to live in Victorian England, regardless of one's status in life.

Part Victorian Jerry Springer show, part clue-less mystery, but unfortunately, rarely believable, if I hadn't enjoyed this book's sequel, (and didn't have two more with me in English language book exile) I might be giving up on Anne Perry right about now. When I read a Victorian novel, I want the people in the book to act Victorian, dammit. Instead, if it wasn't members of conservative and respected Victorian families airing their dirty laundry out in front of complete strangers, it was very recently widowed and ostensibly bereaved men flirting with the detective's wife. Coupled with a murder that was solved because the author told us it was, well, to say it didn't quite meet my expectations is a bit of an understatement. I like when Perry focuses on her Bow Street detective. I feel she has a good handle on him. When we spend most of the book with his wife and her gaggle of silly women (Is your husband working on a case we can meddle in? I'm soooo bored.), though, I feel I've left the time period and a sense of the gravity of the occasion behind.

All the things I didn't like in the last book are continued in this book and the plot just wasn't as engrossing. The WHOdunit was boringly stereotypical, the WHYdunit was just not believable, the great climatic scene was dumb and the emotion of the book was mostly forced. On the other hand, Thomas and Charlotte are still quite likable, their servant Gracie gets involved which is nice for her and Charlotte's introduction to this segment of society through her crotchety old grandmother was different. What is getting a bit old is the way almost everyone who is involved in the church is portrayed. I know that all churches, the church of England in the 1800's included, have their share of shallow self serving people, but surely there was more than one solitary lonely truly good church person back in these days. I know not all writers look favorably on religion, but I expect more from Anne Perry, who is herself religious, although obviously not Church of England.

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