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Brunswick Gardens: A Pitt Mystery [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Anne Perry
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 17 1998
2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by David McCallum

Like the great Victorian novelists whose mantle she wears with such distinction, Anne Perry creates a rich and intimate world and fills it with remarkably vivid characters who experience the majesty--and shame--of the British Empire at its brilliant zenith. Now, in Brunswick Gardens, she explores the controversial birth of a philosophy that enflamed fiery debate--and possibly murder.

A century ago, Charles Darwin's revolutionary theory of evolution rocked the civilized world, and the outraged Anglican church went on the warpath against it. In a mansion in London's affluent Brunswick Gardens, the battle is intense, as that most respected clergyman, the Reverend Ramsay Parmenter, is boldly challenged by his beautiful assistant, Unity Bellwood--a "new woman" whose feminism and aggressive Darwinism he finds appalling.

When Unity, three months pregnant, tumbles down the Parmenter staircase to her death, Thomas Pitt, commander of the Bow Street police station, is virtually certain that one of the three deeply devout men in the house committed murder. Could it have been the Reverend Parmenter, his handsome curate, or his Roman Catholic son? Powerful forces demand that the scandalous matter be cleared up immediately. But Pitt and his clever wife, Charlotte, refuse to settle for less than the truth . . . and justice.

Like all Anne Perry's novels, Brunswick Gardens translates great moral issues into deeply moving human dramas. Perhaps the most psychologically penetrating book she has written, it is a distinguished addition to her acclaimed body of work.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

This reading of Anne Perry's sixth Victorian mystery featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt (Defend and Betray, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/96) is skillfully rendered by David McCallum, who gives an impeccable performance. Here Perry explores the social and moral issues of the day. Unity Bellwood, assistant to Reverend Ramsey Parmenter, falls down a flight of stairs to her death; her last words are: "No, no, Reverend!" He is suspected of pushing the young woman to her death. There are, however, other people in the house. Thomas, commander of the Bow Street police station, will not be satisfied until the whole truth can be unearthed. Engrossing and enjoyable for lovers of traditional mystery novels, although it holds few surprises for the discerning. Recommended for public library collections.?Jacqueline Seewald, Red Bank Reg. H.S., Little Silver, NJ.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Mesmerizing . . . a great place to begin with what I guarantee will become a Perry addiction.”—Los Angeles Times

“Once again . . . Perry amazes us.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“As in most good detective fiction, no one and nothing—including death—is exactly as it seems.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Taut with tension and political intrigue.”—San Francisco Examiner
 
“[A] brilliant series.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into Thomas Pitt. Jan. 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Brunswick Garden is a story that is set in the home of a highly placed religious scholar. A death there brings Pitt to investiage. However, before Pitt even gets more than a brief glimpse of what has happened, pressure is brought to bear from the government and Church of England to reach a quick conclusion with as little public fanfare a possible. This sets Pitt onto a path that is even more determined to be thorough and as painstaking as possible; he shows he will not be dictated to as he carries out his investigation.
As he enters deeper into the household, he discovers that he has crossed paths with his brother-in-law Dominic Cord - a man Charlotte, Pitt's wife, was infatuated with as a teenager and young woman. His return to their life rekindles Charlotte's thoughts of him and also restokes Pitt's resentment towards him. The fact that he is a suspect makes it harder for Pitt to remain purely objective because of the inner resentment he feels against Dominic. This situation makes Pitt more human and believeable. If I met a man in the course of my work, who was once the object of my wife's adoration, I'd have a hard time staying neutral and not resenting the hell out of him too. Perry catches this emotional load that Pitt has to bear exactly right.
Throughout the book, emotions are barely under the surface. From Charlotte's renewed attention to Dominic, Pitt's resentment of Dominic and Charlotte, religious beliefs etc., there is an current that is almost palpable and real. Where these emotions lead is surprising as well as sad. In one case, these is the start of an affection that can only be returned obliquely and indirectly, not as it should be.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Brunswick Gardens Jan. 16 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an enjoyable book overall, much more dramatic than I expected to read from Perry, but is flawed by insidious historical errors.
This is a solve-a-murder mystery, but it's kept interesting by a succession of seemingly contradictory clues and by the possibility of multiple culprits. It's also quite a psychodrama; at times it reminds me of Elizabeth George's work, as one ends up trapped in a room with a number of vocally unpleasant people. A difficult young woman has died, and nearly everyone in the house at the time had some reason to dislike her. Meanwhile, because the primary suspect is a clergyman, the local bishop puts pressure on the police to hush the matter up. The conclusion is clever, neither out-of-left-field nor obvious until the very end.
My essential problem with this book was the anachronistic beliefs and thought patterns its characters revealed. The dead woman, Unity Bellwood, is a feminist, and that's not at all anachronistic; the book is set during a period of agitation for female suffrage. But the way she and her friends express themselves is very much in terms of personal development, of being allowed to "be themselves". Those are very late-20th-century concepts. In addition, when the curate Dominic talks to grieving or troubled people, he may as well be quoting from a modern self-help book; his lines don't have a nineteenth-century ring at all.
Most readers probably will not notice the anachronisms, and despite a certain lack of physical action common to many of Perry's books, this is a generally entertaining novel.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow, but I liked it April 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Thomas Pitt is ordered to discover who is responsible for the death of Unity Bellwood, scholar of ancient languages and a "new woman". While investigating, Pitt is reunited with a relative he hasn't seen since "The Cater Street Hangman", who is now taking up orders for the Anglican Church. We are given a whirlwind tour through the Bohemian lifestyle, and are privy to several characters' struggle to bolster and preserve their relgious convictions in the wake of Charles Darwin's landmark theory on the evolution of the human race.
While I didn't think that this was one of her best works, I did feel that Perry was trying to do something different with regards to involving one of the prime suspects in the actual sleuthing process (in this case, Charlotte's widower brother-in-law, Dominic Corde). As I read the book, I felt that Corde, in some ways, made more progress than Pitt. It does make a sort of sense though, since Corde lived in the same house as Bellwood.
I was disappointed that Perry's more interesting supporting characters, Great-Aunt Vespasia and Charlotte's mother, Caroline, barely get a mention. Charlotte's Grandmama only got one good scene, and she is great for comedic relief. I wish Perry could have somehow involved these ladies more in her exploration of how feminism affected them personally. That could have been really interesting.
Still, kudos to Perry for trying something different. Wish it could have been better.
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1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment ! Jan. 4 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a fan of Anne Perry, I look forward to read one of the adventures of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. However, this latest novel is so disappointing that I am not sure I will ever read another one. As several other readers have pointed out, the culprit is obvious early on. But my biggest criticism is that the explanation of "how it was done" is not credible and really does not make sense. I feel cheated !
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