First Sentence: Pitt stood shivering on the steps leading up from the areaway to the pavement and looked down at the clumps of blood and hair at his feet.
Thomas Pitt, Commander of Special Branch, and his
sideman, , has been called in to investigate a crime involving signs of a
violent struggle, a missing ladies made from the hope of Dudley
Kynaston, a naval weapons expert and important to the English
Government. The discovery of a severely mutilated female body makes it
important to discover whether this is the maid and, if not, where she
is. As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear that people, and
their relationships, are not always as they seem.
hook draws you into the story, establishes Pitt’s position, role and
background very quickly. This is critical for readers new to the
series. It also returns Pitt much more to his previous role conducting a
police investigating; something many of his fans have missed.
descriptions create such a strong sense of place and atmosphere.
Whether the characters are standing in the dark and cold, or in a warm
kitchen with the smells of cooking; she immediately makes the reader
part of the scene. Beyond description is the understanding Perry
conveys regarding life during Victorian times. The social customs and
restrictions, particularly on women, dress, manners, different types of
households depending upon wealth and social strata all come to life
under Ms. Perry’s deft hand.
The dialogue is excellent and
conveys not only the period, but the class and area of England from
which each character has come. At the same time, when she does write in
dialect, it is never to where the reader has difficulty understanding
It is the characters and their relationships
which are the true strength of the story. Again, each is introduced, a
brief background given and their relationship to the other characters
established. One never feels they need a cast of character to
understand the interrelationships. For those of us who’ve long followed
the series, we’re even caught up, briefly, on past characters. The
relatively new character of Stoker, Pitt’s bagman (in the British sense
of the word), is a wonderful addition to the series and we learn more
about him in this book. One wonders whether he might not take a larger
role going forward.
A major theme in all of Ms. Perry’s work is
honor, integrity, loyalty to another and to one’s country, and
relationships--”…You can’t go through life without owing anybody. The
real debts are hardly ever a matter of money: they are about
friendship, trust, help when you desperately need it, a hand out in the
darkness to take yours, when you’re alone.” ”What debt of honor could
he own great than that to his country?
With “Death on Blackheath,” Ms. Perry has added another wonderful book to an excellent
series. Yes, there may have been a couple slight deficiencies in the
plot and some might find aspects a bit twee (overly sweet), but it also
had very good suspense, and some excellent twists that made you question
some of the characters. All I know is that I’ll definitely be back for
DEATH ON BLACKHEATH (Hist Mys-Charlotte and Thomas Pitt-England-Victorian) – VG+
Perry, Anne – 29th in series
Ballentine Books, 2013