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Bedford Square: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel Mass Market Paperback – Apr 4 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (April 4 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449005828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449005828
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.2 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,929,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Even if you prefer the tougher, edgier William Monk books by Anne Perry, such as A Breach of Promise, there's no denying the wealth of detail and the powerful emotions at work in her longer series of Victorian murder mysteries featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. The Pitt books effectively merge Henry James with Raymond Chandler: by having a middleclass policeman married to a socialite, Perry can probe both worlds, as she does in Bedford Square, a story of high-level blackmail and murder.

A famous historical scandal called the Tranby Croft affair (a gambling case involving the Prince of Wales) is very much in the news when the body of a working-class man is found early one morning on the posh doorstep of General Brandon Balantyne. No one in the house claims to know the murdered man, but he has a valuable piece of jewelry belonging to the Balantynes in his pocket. Thomas Pitt and his outspoken aide, Sergeant Tellman, must tread lightly, but Charlotte--and especially her sharp relative Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould--aren't restrained by such social niceties. Gracie, the Pitts' smart and rough-tongued maid, is also a valued asset to the investigation, which proceeds in a satisfying, if not particularly surprising, manner to a highly dramatic conclusion.

Other recent books in the Pitt series include Brunswick Gardens, Ashworth Hall, and Pentecost Alley. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

History, social commentary and suspense blend artfully in this 19th installment (after Brunswick Gardens, 1998) in Perry's popular series featuring London Police Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his adventurous wife, Charlotte. The mystery arises when a body is found outside the home of respectable General Brandon Balantyne (who appeared in two earlier Pitt novels). Pitt and Sergeant Tellman, whose class prejudices are challenged during the investigation, are mystified by the body's identity and the motive for the murder. Their diggings lead them to a parallel case, when Pitt discovers that six honorable men, including Balantyne and Assistant Police Commissioner Cornwallis, are being blackmailed. Perry uses the historical Tranby Croft gambling scandal involving the Prince of Wales as backdrop, highlighting how even the imputation of wrongdoing can tarnish someone's good name. To find the blackmailer, Pitt seeks a common bond among the accused. The careful reader may spy that link before Pitt does, but will nonetheless be swept along by the narrative's rush and engaged by its attention to period detail. Aiding Pitt is a cast of smart, well-drawn female characters: Charlotte, whose social connections afford her access to society's upper crust; Gracie, the Pitts' uneducated but no-nonsense maid; and Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould, Charlotte's worldly-wise relation, who dominates the narrative once she joins the investigation. Pitt solves the case based on a clever red herring, uncovering the murderer in a quick, horrifying finale. Yet again, Perry delivers an astute and gripping examination of life behind Victorian England's virtuous facade. Mystery Guild main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Feb. 6 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has the good qualities of the rest of the series -- strong setting, interesting characters and an original plot. In this one, however, the plot doesn't quite hang together in several respects. Why would anybody believe in a suicide note written not in handwriting but pasted from newspaper, like the blackmail letters prominent citizens have been getting? And why was it necessary for the dead man found on a doorstep with a snuffbox in his pocket to look like another man? The conclusion comes rather suddenly and considerably out of left field -- the author hasn't done a good job of foreshadowing the end.
As already suggested, this volume is about blackmail, with both old and new characters receiving notes threatening to spread irrefutable falsehoods about their pasts. This was an interesting theme, which could have been more deeply explored.
Yet again, unrequited love plays a part here. For some reason, people in these books are perpetually falling for people they can't have. I'm not sure it's realistic for it to happen so often, but in the context of one book it's perfectly fine.
Sergeant Tellman, with the chip on his shoulder, gets more development here and becomes a really appealing character.
Despite my quibbles with the plot, I found the book essentially enjoyable.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book greatly, as I do all the Pitt series. I have found, though, that it is vital to read them in order! I have not received all of them yet, but I can't keep myself from starting one the moment I get it, and therefore I read this one out of sequence - with consequences! There are references to the occurrences of the first book in which the Ballantyne family appear, Callander Square, but I don't think anything that would "give it away." However, clearly this family is deeply involved in Death in the Devil's Acre, and I have to admit that there are some serious "spoilers" in it! I don't know how serious since I haven't read it but it surely must give away "whodunit."
Otherwise, the plot and characterizations are very interesting... but I felt with this one more than any other in the series that the detectives could have gotten there quite a bit sooner. It wasn't just a case of the reader having more information than Pitt, either. And it doesn't seem very characteristic of Pitt to bend facts to fit his perceptions. It is only by pursuing something that he feels is totally worthless, but necessary as a tying up of a loose end, that he stumbles on the truth. It says something for his conscientiousness, but I felt it was out of character for him to ignore two glaring inconsistencies regarding a piece of evidence toward the end!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A dead man found on the steps of one of Victorian London's most fashionable homes kicks off the 19th mystery featuring Superintendent Thomas Pitt of the Bow Street Police Station and his clever wife, Charlotte.
Although General Brandon Balantyne denies knowing the shabbily dressed man, his snuffbox was found in the dead man's pocket. Since he's dealing with his betters in class-conscious Victorian Britain, Pitt must tread carefully as he delves into the dead man's past in hopes of finding a connection.
"Bedford Square" is a story which promises much but delivers little. There's much talk about class differences -- Pitt's constable assistant is nearly blinded in his anger against the upper classes -- and in Pitt's investigation of what turns out to be a nasty wide-ranging blackmail plot, we are repeatedly told that the victims are all pure in character and how least revelation, no matter how false, will blast their reputations so utterly that it becomes tedious. The solution to the mystery is extremely disappointing: neither making much sense, nor is it in keeping with what we know of the characters. A disappointing book to someone who wondered what all the shouting was about.
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Format: Hardcover
I LOVE Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries and eagerly await my yearly "update" on their lives, like a summer visit to favorite friends. It's sad to see Great Aunt Vespasia growing older and more frail but she's as elegant and original as ever. Charlotte's determined curiosity and compassionate nature have brought her perilously close to danger again--but this time it's General Balantyne's heart that is the victim. Gracie is more confidently her own woman and, amazingly, the stuffy Sgt. Tellman is forced to re-examine some of his dearly held prejudices. We don't glimpse into Thomas Pitt's heart and mind so much this time, but he's compassionate and loyal to his superior and friend, Mr. Cornwallis, and in his following the threads of blackmail and murder. It is the actual mystery that disappoints--it flows swiftly from scene to scene and carries you along to a conclusion that leaves you scratching your head..."wait a minute...didn't so-and-so know that Mr. X and Mr. Y were involved? How could they not know what they all had in common?" And the reason for the blackmail in the first place is swiftly resolved and never adequately explained. Catch up with "old friends" but don't expect much from the mystery.
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