Monday, January 25, 2010

Anne Perry certainly knows how to tell a great story. I've always preferred her Monk series to the ones featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, but all of the novels I've read by her have been instantly engaging. I was happy to see that at least one of her novels, The Cater Street Hangman, has been made into a film.

I wasn't sure where in the chronology of the novels Cater Street fell, but it turns out to be not only the very first in the series featuring the Pitt characters, but the very first novel that Anne Perry published. I knew it had to be an early book in the series, since this is where Charlotte and Thomas meet. Thomas is a young police officer investigating the troubling deaths of several young women in the Cater Street area. Charlotte's family lives in this area, so in questioning the residents, Thomas becomes acquainted with her. Charlotte becomes further involved in the investigation when the family maid Lily becomes a victim of the killer and her sister Sarah is attacked.

Charlotte lives at home with her parents and two sisters. The story is set in 1881, when certain behavior was expected of well-bred young women. Charlotte's father and brother-in-law are allowed to do as they please, of course -- have mistresses or force themselves on female servants -- without anyone being allowed to question their behavior. The women are expected to look pretty and confine their interests to visiting, painting, needlework and parties. Charlotte, clearly a "modern woman," has little patience for this hypocrisy. Her outspokenness and impatience with the morals of the day quickly set her apart from other females, and Thomas Pitt is soon smitten. As Charlotte puts herself into harm's way in an attempt to determine the identity of the killer, Pitt becomes more concerned for her. Charlotte, however, has no intention of butting out.

The DVD I saw contained only this one program. However, Amazon sells a series with 4 different "Victorian mysteries" on it. Only this one was written by Anne Perry.

Final Verdict for The Cater Street Hangman: Three Gherkins, for being an interesting look at a Victorian mystery with beautiful costumes and scenery


Lisa said...

I love Anne Perry mysteries and started reading them not long after the first was introduced - Cater Street. I also love the Monk series. Did you know that Anne was involved in committing the murder of her best friend's mother when they were in their teens? There was a movie made called "Heavenly Creatures" and one of the stars is Kate Winslet that told the story, Hollywood style. I was so surprised when the movie came out as I was very much absorbed by the books and could scarcely believe the character/author were the same! Anne has even been featured in Architectural Digest when it featured her garden. (I'd have to go through my files to find the date on that one)

Lisanne624 said...

Hi Lisa! Yes, I was shocked when I read that Anne Perry had a dubious past! I'd actually read a true crime book about the case, and I was an Anne Perry fan, so when the two were connected it was a bit of a surprise! She is extremely talented as an author, though, so she and Pauline weren't too far off when they dreamed of coming to America to "write novels." I'd read somewhere that Pauline has worked as a physical education teacher in Britain since her release.

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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