Top critical review
Slow, but I liked it
on April 1, 2001
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.