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The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

The Cater Street Hangman (original 1979; edition 2008)

by Anne Perry

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1,305525,987 (3.66)89
Title:The Cater Street Hangman
Authors:Anne Perry
Info:Ballantine Books (2008), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012 Reads
Tags:Historical Mystery, Victorian England

Work details

The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry (1979)

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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
#1 in the series, Charlotte is a proper upper class Victorian lady. Her world is upset when a murder occurs on her street. Charlotte's curiosity leads her to help the police, and is soon falling in love with the lead detective on the case.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Mar 8, 2017 |
It's been 10 years since I read this book and I thought I remembered it but there was much I'd forgotten. It's a good book although the end seems rushed and a tad contrived. Still, a nice period mystery. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |

So, this book was okay. I didn’t particularly get sucked in or look forward to reading it but it also wasn’t a chore to get through. After getting to the end though it feels like not much happened. This was the first in a series and I believe the author’s first book, period, so perhaps this was a sort of introductory exercise but the characters really don’t develop either. This really just seems to be the backdrop for introducing the main characters of the series, Charlotte Ellison, the middle daughter of one of the families in the neighborhood, and Inspector Pitt, the detective investigating the murders who is obviously drawn to Charlotte immediately despite differences in social standing. For a period mystery-cum-romance there really wasn’t a whole lot of either -- no clues, not much evidence, just a few brief conversations between Pitt and Charlotte. There was more internal family drama (or perhaps tension rather than drama, these are buttoned-up, proper Victorians after all) than anything else which could have been interesting except it all sort of peters out.

There were a lot of problems with the narrative structure. The book is mostly from Charlotte’s perspective but there would be rather abrupt jumps to her sisters or another family member or sudden jumps in time. It makes the story feel a little all over the place and it probably could have benefited from being revised again before publication. We are also often told what the characters are like rather than shown -- Charlotte’s sister Emily is said to be very practical but this is talked about by the other characters rather than demonstrated. These are issues I think very well could be resolved in subsequent books (and probably are -- this novel was originally published in 1979 and the series is still ongoing with the latest out sometime this year) but based on the story’s conclusion I doubt I’ll be seeking out any more of Perry’s work.

Ah, the problematic conclusion. Something that should have affected the characters very deeply and would have been perfect in driving the development of the Ellison family happens with only minimal fuss and with barely twenty pages to go. It’s so uncomfortable for the reader and you have to wonder what the point was. It was like Perry threw it in and then was just sick of writing this story and wanted to get it all over with as quickly as possible. I was sort of waffling on whether I’d add the next book to my reading list but the badly done ending has put me off. Even the inevitable romantic matches were suddenly rushed through and somewhat inappropriately done. Really this wasn’t a terrible book overall but the structural problems and ending nearly dragged this down to two stars for me. ( )
1 vote parasolofdoom | Feb 8, 2016 |
Very entertaining. Though I couldn't divorce the author's background from the story. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Interesting book and a nice quick read.

Set in Victorian London, a young woman is killed and suspicion falls on the various households in the vicinity. We see this through the eyes of the Ellison family. Initially it is presumed to be the work of the 'criminal class' but as Inspector Pitt enters their lives and the investigation progresses, it becomes unclear just who could be the perpetrator. More girls are killed and there is no common thread between them. As a backdrop to all this, you have the lives of Victorian gentlemen and women, the inequalities and injustices, the pampered lives versus the lives of the ordinary people they try to blame. Of course, suspicion falls on each in turn and they end up not trusting each other for various reasons. None of this is in any depth, and that was a little disappointing, but in order to maintain the pace and keep it as a mystery rather than a historical novel, I guess that was the easiest way forward. Plus, of course, this is the first in a series of books, so I fully expect that later books expand on the various characters and the reader will learn more about them. Finally, I thought I'd worked it out fairly early on, but I was wrong.... close but wrong.

Not a challenging book - read it in 2 sittings - but enjoyable enough and a light interlude after a couple of books that I struggled to maintain interest in.
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Perryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Damiani, MaddalenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Charlotte Ellison stood in the centre of the withdrawing room, the newspaper in her hand.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449208672, Mass Market Paperback)

"An ingenious mystery and an excellent example of manners and caste systems of the Victorian era."
While the Ellison girls were out paying calls and drinking tea like proper Victorian ladies, a maid in their household was strangled to death. The quiet and young Inspector Pitt investigates the scene and finds no one above suspicion. As his intense questioning causes many a composed facade to crumble, Pitt finds himself couriously drawn to pretty Charlotte Ellison. Yet, a romance between a society girl and so unsuitable a suitor was impossible in the midst of a murder....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Inspector Pitt investigates the murder of a maid in the Ellison household, and falls in love with Charlotte Ellison.

(summary from another edition)

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