Buckingham Palace Gardens
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From Publishers Weekly
The detecting and diplomatic skills of Thomas Pitt, now assigned to the Special Branch, are tested as never before in bestseller Perry's solid 25th novel to feature the Victorian sleuth (after 2005's Long Spoon Lane). In 1893, the discovery of a prostitute's mutilated corpse in a Buckingham Palace cupboard after a stag party presided over by the prince of Wales could spell political disaster for the monarchy. Pitt soon eliminates the members of the sizable household staff as suspects, narrowing his focus to the prince himself and his close friends, who, it turns out, have been planning a major construction project in Africa—a railway that would run from South Africa to Egypt. Though the sensitive nature of Pitt's assignment precludes any active involvement by Charlotte, his wife and partner in earlier cases, he's able to place her maid, Gracie Phipps, on the palace staff to assist him. Perry does a nice job with some plot twists, even if most readers will quickly discount the heir to the throne of England as a viable suspect. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“An intricate plot about a murder at the palace [with] an irresistibly appealing Upstairs, Downstairs perspective . . . a fine introduction to Perry’s alluring world of Victorian crime and intrigue.”—New York Times Book Review
“Another winner . . . a wonderful cast of characters with many twisting plots.”—Press Journal, Vero Beach, Fla.
“Perry writes with an intelligence that’s both refreshing and entertaining.”—Arizona Republic
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Be advised NOT to hold your breath any longer or waste your time reading this latest novel.
It's rather boring, hugely repetitive and not all that suspenseful.
If you like Charlotte Pitt, you'll only find her on half of one page. So much for a great team.
The hero of Buckingham Palace Gardens is really their loyal maid, Gracie, now about 20, who goes undercover at Buckingham Palace to aid her master, Mr. Pitt of Special Services, working there to solve a murder.
It's really Gracie's book. She solves pretty much everything. But then you will have solved things long before Pitt, here a rather plodding figure.
Too bad. I really looked forward to reading this book. I like the series, the characters, the setting in time and place. Imagine a murder at Buck House. Enter the Prince of Wales, the aristocracy. Nope. Forget it.
Read her trilogy of World War I novels. Murder, suspense, intrigue, and excellent writing make these books well worth reading. Anne Perry wrote this series with heart and a sense of the history of WWI. (Her grandfather fought in the Great War.)
With Buckingham Palace Gardens, Perry writes with a heavy hand, far too many interrogative sentences. on every blasted page and forgot how good a writer she can be.
reading the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series.
I love the characters. I want to visit them.
The murders are in such detail, it is if
you are actually there. I have read every one
of the books in this series & have enjoyed
every one. You won't regret reading this book
I have long been a fan of Anne Perry's work and her research and attention to detail in place, time and dialogue remains in top form.
This story takes place in Buckingham Palace, but it is not the Palace of tourist's photos. There are plots afoot and not until the end are things in some way resolved. Special Branch, the Prince of Wales, a dead prostitute in the linen cupboard of the Palace and Thomas Pitt. This is a page turner--so plan no special meetings or long interruptions once you start the book.
Perhaps not as full as some of her earlier works but definitely a great read made better if
you come into the story knowing the trials and tribulations of the Pitt family. It is enjoyable
as a stand-alone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is an earlier time with the Monk series, but with Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, it is the waning days of the Victorian era - After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria was almost a recluse in her grief and didn't execute her duties as she did.
The Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series has always been charming because it features a working class man, a policeman, Thomas Pitt, who through a murder investigation met a gentry family, and one of their daughters, Charlotte, and they fall in love and marry. She has to adjust to doing her own chores, and he has guilty feelings he is depriving Charlotte with the luxuries she is accustomed to - But they are rich with the love and respect they have with each other. They have 2 children, and have a maid, a whisp of a young woman, Gracie Phipps, who helps them. She literally grows up in the Pitt household.
The charm of this series is Mrs. Perry used all the adult characters to be involved in the mystery and resolution of it. But as Pitt has progressed from policeman to a member of Special Services, that cannot happen as readily. But this outing it is Gracie Phipps' time to shine.
There has been a murder in Buckingham Palace. The Queen is away and the Prince of Wales and his buds are at play, in the guise of meeting to plan a railroad that will run the span of Africa...when the ladies go to bed, they have prostitutes come in to 'entertain' them. Something goes wrong and one of the girls is found in the laundry closet and is naked and gutted - blood all around the sheets - and the Queen's sheets to boot!
With the sensitive nature of the crime, Narraway and Pitt are called in to find what happened and on the QT handle it.
Charlotte, and her sister Emily cannot come on this type of investigation. They used to go in and glean facts and clues for him in social situations, and enlist help from Emily's great aunt in law Aunt Vespasia Cumming Gould - she is a jewel in this series - once was hailed as the most beautiful woman of her time, she is still beautiful in the winter of her life and loves to help them.
But the only person who may be able to help in this Buckingham Palace mystery is Gracie Phipps - she is put undercover as a maid in the palace to see if she can find clues - servants in those days were just about invisible - they could be standing in back of guests dining and the guests treated them as if they weren't there - and the servants could hear a lot of juicy things...
There are brief appearances by our friends, Charlotte, Emily, etc. But thank goodness, Narraway goes to Lady Vespasia for advise about the people involved in the murder investigation. Her part is too short, but much longer than our other friends we are accustomed to seeing in the Pitt books.
The mystery is well layered with twists and turns, and Gracie learns that she is capable of helping Thomas. The difference in class is such a major factor - many of the servants even in the Palace cannot read - and they make a big deal that Gracie can read - and even read Oscar Wilde!
Palace's resolution is handled well, and it is another excellent work by Perry -
Hopefully Perry will give us more of our friends in the next Pitt book.
But Perry continues to write true reflections of the time.
When one of the prostitutes hired to entertain the Prince of Wales and his four male companions is found butchered in a linen cupboard at Buckingham Palace, the Prince immediately summons the services of the Special Branch to clean up the mess and see that there is no scandal. And the police officer ordered to oversee such a miracle? None other than Thomas Pitt. Honest and with a strong sense of right and wrong, Pitt soon finds many of his cherished illusions about royalty sorely tested by developments in the case. But time is of the essence: the Queen is due back and the scandal must be death with before her return. And when Pitt's investigations reveal that the murderer can only be one of the Prince's friends, he quickly realises that he needs help ferreting out the truth about the rich and powerful. And so, while his superior, Narraway, flies around London using his contacts to find out more about the Prince's friends, Pitt enlists the help of his maid, Gracie, to discover the gossip "belowstairs" among the palace servants, never really anticipating the scope of conspiracy he would uncover and the effect it could have on his career...
The disappointing part about "Buckingham Palace Gardens" is that Charlotte Pitt barely makes an appearance in this particular outing; I did miss her presence and the input that she could have provided this particular installment. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed "Buckingham Palace Gardens" and the manner in which Anne Perry used Gracie to act as Pitt's foil. As usual, the period details and ambiance were superb, and her character portrayals vivid and lifelike. At heart, the story-line was a deceptively simple one; but Perry did such a fantastic job of layering plot twist upon plot twist, that this seemingly simple mystery became an engagingly perplexing conundrum for Pitt and us to solve. If I had any criticism, it was that I didn't fully understand the reasons why one of the characters conspired against another -- but perhaps a rereading of the novel is in order. All in all, however, I'd say that "Buckingham Palace Gardens" was a delightfully engrossing read.
Author, "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria"
Inspector Pitt, the irascible and intrepid central figure, is awakened "by his boss, Narraway, very early in the morning. He's got to investigate the murder of a maid. 'Can't one of the more junior policemen go to the scene of the crime,'" grumbles Pitt. 'It's at Buckingham Palace,' says Narraway."
In Perry's very readable way, she narrows the suspects to a group of house guests who've been meeting with the Prince of Wales to persuade him to support the funding of the Cape to Cairo railway project, certainly a hot and timely topic! Naturally enough, there's plenty of court intrigue here, and as always, plenty of socially relevant significance.
Perry gives us a fascinating picture of Palace life and her hero, naturally, belives firmly in the concept of justice; alas, he also witnesses how the privileged few seem to want to "make their own laws and (provide) their own justice," a theme that certainly is not unique to this particular period. Pitt is able to overcome the usual obstacles, as he has done in all of the Pitt stories. Still, Perry's style of writing--and she handles Pitt with care--carries the book, and with such great ease.
Pitt came to literary life in 1979 with the mesmerizing "The Cater Street Hangman" and then proceeded to lead a successful series of some 18 other books. Perry's similar series, timewise, involves William Monk (debuting in 1990 with "The Face of a Stranger"). A "private equiry agent," Monk and his wife Hester hold their own lenghty series and later Perry introduces us to her WWI set, beginning with "No Graves as Yet." All three are excellent reading. Granted, Perry's conclusions rarely contain any major surprises, but that doesn't dilute the reading thrill and interest-grabbing moments she creates. "Buckingham Palace Gardens" is yet another of Perry's accomplishments!