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Dorchester Terrace: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Apr 3 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780345510624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345510624
  • ASIN: 0345510623
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #169,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 7 2012
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: It was mid-February and growing dark outside.
Just as the series has continued, so have the lives of the characters. That is only one reason those of us who love this series are loyal to it; these are characters in whom we have become invested.

After the events of the previous book, 'Treason at Lisson Grove', we find Thomas Pitt now as head of Special Branch. Unfortunately, neither Pitt nor others are certain he's capable of handling his new role. Ms. Perry wonderfully helps us understand the complexity, both socially and with regard to experience, of the new position Pitt now holds. Victor Narrraway has been moved out of Special Branch into the House of Lords yet misses his old role. Great-Aunt Vespasa, one of my favorite characters, providing insight and wisdom, is Ms. Perry's vehicle for ruminations on the mental and physical pain of being elderly. Charlotte, Thomas' wife, is ever loyal and supportive. Stoker, a fairly new character and Pitt's second, is someone about whom we know little except for a delightful revelation toward the book's end.

Ms. Perry's attention to period detail is astonishing. Additionally, the book is an amazing history lesson on Austro-Hungary and the tensions which led up to WWI. Make no mistake; however, this is not your old, dry, boring history course. Far from it. It is fascinating and well incorporated into the plot.

'Dorchester Terrace' contains good tension and suspense with a very good twist which catches both the reader, and the protagonist, unawares. Well done, Ms. Perry.

DORCHESTER TERRACE (Hist Mys/Prof Inves-Thomas Pitt-England-1896) ' VG
Perry, Anne
Ballantine, ©2012
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Format: Kindle Edition
The year is 1896 and newly appointed head of Special Branch, Thomas Pitt is well aware that some people think he’s the wrong man for the job. When Pitt learns of a possible assassination plot on an Austrian Duke about to visit the royal family, he’s determined to keep that from happening.

Meanwhile, his wife’s great aunt Vespasia is concerned about her old friend and Italian freedom fighter Serafina Montserrat who’s nearing the end of her life and suffering from dementia. The prospect of spilling political secrets to the wrong people terrifies Serafina so much that she’s afraid someone will kill her to keep those secrets buried. When Serafina is indeed murdered, Vespasia asks for Thomas’s help. Thomas is reluctant to become involved until he realizes that Serafina’s secrets could be related to the assassination plot.

It was a treat to read a book that didn’t depend on run-a-muck chase scenes and short, breathless chapters to keep me interested. I do enjoy those types of novels, but Dorchester Terrace is something special. Anne Perry keeps the pages turning simply through well-crafted storytelling. She stomps on the old notion that crime writers have to place a dead body in chapter one. Seraphina doesn’t die until nearly the halfway point in the book, yet the pacing is perfect. Characters’ backgrounds, agenda, secrets, and betrayals are slowly revealed through seemingly simple, methodical revelations that reminded me of Agatha Christie’s style. I’m in awe of the quality of Perry’s writing, and although I haven’t read nearly enough of her work, Dorchester Terrace inspires me to want to read more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not her best, but this is still a strong and well-written book, though a little slower than usual to get up to speed. Once there, it is a clever look at major events from angles not presented before. Enjoyable in every way...once you get past the first fifty pages which needed something to 'zing' them.
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By Mary M O'Brien on Aug. 12 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the mystery and how it played out however, Narraway and Aunt Vespesia have come to dominate the last couple of books in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. Actually, Thomas Pitt seems to have become an also mentioned compared to Charlotte and the other two characters. As much as I like Thomas Pitt's character, maybe its time to retire the series if Anne Perry has to spend most of her time involving the others to the point that the main series character is becoming more and more of a side line character.

However, if you like the time period and all the extra members of the crime solving team this book will be for you. The book is also an enjoyable way to spend a rainy, stormy afternoon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 101 reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
A new and darker Pitt April 14 2012
By Hillari Delgado - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Dorchester Terrace' marks a point of departure for Thomas Pitt, protagonist of Perry's popular Victorian series, and a restructuring of the series itself. It remains to be seen if fans embrace this new, darker Pitt. If they do, it may be reluctantly, in exchange for the broad new range of plots and character conflict made possible by the genre shift from period mystery to international espionage.

Perry's skill, as well as her burden, has been inventing new plots over nearly thirty novels. By the time Perry moved Pitt to Special Branch, a forerunner of MI5, the strain was showing. Wife Charlotte and popular secondary characters were reduced to cameos, and the stories lost their unique charm.

'Dorchester Terrace' returns to series strengths: Pitt's new stature requires him to rely on wife Charlotte for her social acumen. Lady Vespasia's and Emily and Jack Radley's aristocratic connections provide vital clues and timely help. Perry's weaknesses are also present: characters ruminate at length; one or two interviews provide the bulk of the information to solve the mystery; the ultimate motivation for the crime is thin.

The chief interest in 'Dorchester Terrace' is Pitt's ethical dilemma. Will he compromise his principles, and how far, to protect his country from deadly threats? Does he have the strength, the ruthlessness, to move in the murky arena of espionage, even kill, if necessary? Pitt's adversaries are betting he does not. Even Pitt himself, the man Perry has taken pains to develop as a deeply ethical and compassionate man, does not know. His self-discovery, and the shocking conclusion, are the reasons to read 'Dorchester Terrace.'
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
another lively historical novel April 13 2012
By R. A. Frauenglas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the 25th book in the author's series featuring Charlotte & Thomas Pitt. She's already published nearly 60 books. I've read them all & have always enjoyed each one. Her two main series & her Christmas novels all take place in Victorian England. Perry brings period novels alive. Her cast of supporting characters always strengthen the main characters & always add to the story line. In this novel, Charlotte's sister Emily & her husband Jack Radley, the ever regal Aunt Vespasia, & Lord Narraway; all reappear & play important parts in the solving of this mystery. Thomas Pitt is now the head of Special Branch (first formed as a branch of London's Metropolitan Police in 1883) & has to solve an assassination plot concerning the Hapsburg family. Events from the violent upheavals in Europe during the mid-19th Century have unexpected repercussions. There are twists & turns & surprising betrayals. This mystery seems to have been inspired by the real assassination which actually began WWI. This is another page-turner by Perry & the reader won't be disappointed.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Letdown April 10 2012
By Jo Ann McGrath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I love being in the world with the people Anne Perry has created. I looked forward to returning to it with her latest, having read all the previous Pitt novels in the last year. However, I fear she is reaching....and not connecting. Far too much blathering on about nearly everything that was, ultimately, meaningless. Certainly the events of the time were fascinating and Perry knows her history. But you can't make a mystery from a series of events unless you have meaningful characters with believable problems to play with. I felt nothing and no one was satisfactorily presented, and the characters were of cardboard.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding Historical Procedural & Very Enjoyable April 10 2012
By D. Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dorchester Terrace was a book I was unable to put down. It had a fascinating plot with two new female characters who are extremely memorable--Serafina Montserrat, a revolutionary for Italian freedom who fought, loved, and rode "like a man," and Adriana Blantyre, a Croatian woman married to a diplomat, who saw her father executed when she was a child. Along with Charlotte Pitt, her sister Emily Radley, and the indomitable Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould, they make the stereotype of the staid, gentle Victorian woman to be an oxymoron.

Pitt, now head of the Special Branch replacing former head Narraway, has received some information from his trusted assistant Stroud that there is likely to be an assassination attempt on an Austrian duke who will be visiting England soon. His investigation into not only the assassins but the reason behind it lead him to 10 Downing Street. His brother-in-law Jack Radley, no longer a member of Parliament but now working for the Foreign Office, is at first unconvinced, but he knows Pitt well enough to come to his aid.

However, for me the star of the book was Aunt Vespasia, who has discovered that a fellow revolutionary from her youth is very ill. She visits Serafina Montserrat and resumes their friendship; she also meets Adriana Blantyre, who was befriended by Serafina when she was orphaned. Serafina is heading downward into dementia and is afraid that she will betray secrets from the past to the wrong person. Vespasia is skeptical at first, but she soon realizes it might be true. She & Narraway work together, parallel to Pitt's Investigation; everything eventually comes to a head with the arrival of Duke Alois.

We see some little domestic touches from the Pitt household with 13-year-old Jemima, 10-year-old Daniel, and their new maid Minnie Maude, replacing the newly married Gracie. Emily is more prominent than she has been in the last few books, which is very good. Charlotte becomes friendly with Adriana and begins to worry about her, as she should.

I truly enjoyed this book; it's Anne Perry at her best.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
great Victorian police procedural April 3 2012
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1896, Thomas Pitt still struggles with replacing Victor Narraway as the chief of Scotland Yard's Special Branch. Part of his concern is that his former boss was exonerated of all wrong doing in the recent Irish fiasco (see Treason at Lisson Grove), but was not returned to his position.

Pitt's staff reports that someone has made inquiries into railway signals and points at the Dover-London rail. Pitt fears an assassination is being planned of a European dignity due to the Dover connection, but whom, where and when are unknown. In London, a demented elderly Italian ex agent and a Croatian wife may have the information Pitt needs; he turns to his spouse Charlotte to ferret out the data to prevent a heinous crime. When he learns Austrian Duke Alois Habsburg is coming to London via Dover, Pitt thinks he is the target, but cannot fathom why kill so many innocents to get at a minor noble; so he ponders whether that assassination is a distraction from the prime plan.

The latest Pitt late Victorian police procedural is a great mystery as the hero feels out of his depth running the branch while many others in government agree with his assessment. In fact only his wife and his former boss believe he is capable of doing the full job, which includes decision making in the gray fuzzy areas. Action-packed, fans will relish the insight into the tottering Austro-Hungarian Empire within a fabulous time ticking investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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