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Highgate Rise

by Anne Perry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Charlotte & Thomas Pitt (11)

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660827,217 (3.6)7
Late one night, a blazing inferno destroys the home of a well-to-do English doctor. Tragically, the man's wife perishes in the flames. Arson is obviously the crime, but after digging around, Inspector Pitt isn't sure who could have set the fire. Enlisting the aid of his wife Charlotte, Thomas searches the dank London streets for a killer, puzzled by the question of whether the true target was the doctor's wife, or the doctor himself.… (more)
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» See also 7 mentions

English (6)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This was a good story but not Perry's best. I enjoy Charlotte and Thomas Pitt and the way they work together on cases. Some of the characters in this one went into too long discourses over liberty, free speech and other things that just went on too long. I really liked that the first victim, Clemency, had found out about the type of people that were getting rich from getting rent from their slums. These were some of her very pious relatives. Could they be the murderers? ( )
  LilQuebe | Jan 18, 2021 |
arson murder traced to shame over slum ownership
  ritaer | Oct 9, 2020 |
This Charlotte & Thomas Pitt mystery involved Charlotte more than Inspector Pitt. Even Gracie, the maid, got into the sleuthing act--and was realistically helpful. Emily made her appearance, along with her new husband. He is growing into an added plus. The actual guilty party was indicted on a purely emotional basis. That didn't seem quite right, but I suppose that was the most one could expect in Victorian times. The local police complained throughout that Bow Street didn't need to be brought in to solve this case, but were never allowed to accept the necessity in the end.

I was surprised that in two or three instances Dr. Shaw's landlady was misnamed. I expect better of Perry's editing staff. All in all, I thought Perry should have taken the time to strengthen her plot and fix these errors. I expect too much, it seems. ( )
  kaulsu | Jul 11, 2016 |
Anne Perry is one of the authors I routinely look for at book sales, and so I read rather old titles such as this one from 1991. I like her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt very much. They are a loving couple who understand each other, and although Pitt is a cop and their income is low, Charlotte is originally from gentry and has family and friends from that class. This gives them unusual access to people of all walks of life. Charlotte "meddles" in Thomas' cases, but he values her input so unless she gets herself into a dangerous situation, he's fine with that.

This was definitely not my favorite novel in the series, but one wonderful thing about all of them is that the reader gets a bird's eye view of society customs, dress, and rigorous rules as well as the plight of the poor. That's particularly true in this book where one character is determined to do something about the rich living off the exorbitant rents they receive from living quarters that are simply death traps. The story begins with a huge house fire and that leads to descriptions of the uselessness of firefighting techniques of the time. Vivid storytelling of this kind is Perry's forte.

I grew impatient with the storylines in HIghgate Rise though. Characters are questioned over and over by both Thomas and Charlotte, each character's personality and beliefs are gone over ad nauseum. The story veers from one storyline to another and back again. Although we do learn the identity of the killer in the end, there are multiple loose ends left which may or may not be tied up in following novels. Since I read them out of order, I don't know. I just felt like I'd been dropped off in the middle of London in the middle of the night without direction.

Not that this will stop me from searching for more unread titles by Perry. Far from it. I do enjoy most of her books and characters so I will continue to find them for a nice change of pace in my reading life. ( )
  bjmitch | Jul 16, 2012 |
It took me a few Anne Perry and Victoria Thompson novels to discover that the term 'mystery' has changed from how it was used let's say 10 to 20 years ago. Most readers might still associated a mystery novel with a puzzle and with sleuthing, but those terms rarely apply anymore to modern mysteries. Anne Perry is one of many contemporary authors who writes historical fiction with a romantic inclination, which is probably a better label than mystery. Granted, the reader does not know until the very end who has committed the heinous crime, but then again the reveal is most of the time arrived at by the culprit confessing without provocation and regularly without convincing motivation. You could say: with enough time and social pressure the murderer will eventually show him or herself without the need for evidence. Rarely in these novels is there actual hard evidence linking the crime to the crimee.

Traditionally in the context of a murder mystery there are a number of suspects each with the appropriate motivation as to why they wanted to snuff the life out of the poor victim. At the end of the story a sleuth or consulting detective explains why only one of the suspects could have actually committed the crime and why the rest of the bunch are not eligible for the title of murderer, no matter how much they desired that tribute.
In an Anne Perry novel the mechanism is reversed, we now have a number of suspects each of which was potentially at the proper place (one will never know) with the right intentions and correct means, but physical evidence and eyewitness reports don't matter that much. The one who has the best motive wins, it's that simple. Instead of the traditional plotting of the author, sleuthing by the detective and puzzling by the readers, we now have novels where the mystery content revolves around veiled dramatic character interactions. Most of these interactions will mostly appeal only to female audiences and ironically portray a rather traditional domestic picture and gender role division.

From a historical perspective there is much to be found and experienced. Authors like Anne Perry, Victoria Thompson and Caleb Carr to name just a few, are heavily invested in accurate depictions and appropriately original detail. Reading an Anne Perry is just as much an immersive trip into Victorian Times as it is an ongoing daytime television saga. Readers aren't really invested in an Anne Perry for the story, but for the endless almost but not quite amorous interactions between Charlotte and Thomas. For a Victoria Thompson novel you can swap out Frank and Sarah, everything else stays the same.

If you like a trip into a complete and convincing Victorian world with lots of interesting drama and elaborate character interactions through dialog, then you're in for a treat. If you're looking for an Agatha Christie mystery then I suggest you read an Agatha Christie. ( )
  TheCriticalTimes | Jan 5, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Perry, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Botter Pierangeli, RitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Late one night, a blazing inferno destroys the home of a well-to-do English doctor. Tragically, the man's wife perishes in the flames. Arson is obviously the crime, but after digging around, Inspector Pitt isn't sure who could have set the fire. Enlisting the aid of his wife Charlotte, Thomas searches the dank London streets for a killer, puzzled by the question of whether the true target was the doctor's wife, or the doctor himself.

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