In this superbly accomplished new Charlotte and Thomas Pitt adventure, Anne Perry takes us beneath the glittering surface of wealthy Victorian society into a nightmare world of fear and intimidation, where women are too often blamed for the violent attacks against them, and powerful men take what they want, leaving others to pay the price.
The horrifying rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, wife of a wealthy merchant banker, falls outside the new jurisdiction of Special Branch head Thomas Pitt, but so pervasively offensive are the rumors about the victim that Pitt quietly takes a hand in the investigation.
Yet even with the help of his ingenious wife, Charlotte, and his former superior, Victor Narraway, Pitt is stumped. Why did high-minded, cultured Catherine choose not to accompany her husband to a grand party on the night of her demise? Why did she dismiss all her servants for the evening and leave the front door unlocked? What had been her relationship with the young man seen frequently by her side at concerts and art exhibits? And what can be done to avenge another terrible crime: the assault on Angeles Castelbranco, beloved teenage daughter of the Portuguese ambassador?
©2013 Anne Perry (P)2013 Recorded Books
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
"Midnight at Marble Arch" continues the improvement to the Pitt/Charlotte series which began in "Dorchester Terrace," in which the stories involving Pitt's career with Special Branch finally matched the quality of the novels concerning Pitt as a policeman. I think what made this book so enjoyable for me was the fact that Pitt's involvement in a series of crimes was not primarily in his role as Commander of Special Branch. Instead, he participated in the investigation clandestinely, outside of Special Branch. And the best thing about this book, for me, was that the crime was solved by the team of Pitt, Charlotte, Pitt's former boss Narraway (now Lord Narraway), and my favorite Perry character, Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould.
Perry once again offers an intricate plot, involving several quite vicious rapes which may or may not be connected. The investigating characters spend a great deal of time and effort trying to figure out who, how, when and why, with the answers coming at the eleventh hour. But, as with most Perry novels, the ending is a just one even if not the happiest one. And I must say that the ending of the crime story involves one of Perry's best scenes of violent suspense.
My favorite characteristic of the Pitt/Charlotte books is the very well-researched and presented depiction of the place of upper-class women in the Victorian culture of England, and the restrictions and responsibilities placed upon them. In Midnight at Marble Arch, it is made quite clear that being raped may be the end of a Victorian woman's reputation and marriage prospects in life, so that even more than today women (or their fathers or husbands, who had all the power) refused to report such crimes and those women then had to try to live a normal life while hiding the terrific trauma of rape. They often could not live with it and committed suicide.
The final lovely development in the book is that Lady Vespasia and Lord Narraway are beginning to be quite fond of each other, and a loving relationship seems to be in offing.
The book could have been better if there was less narrative about the consequences of rape (how would I feel if my wife, my daughter, my sister-in-law, my elderly friend was raped?... how would the violated woman feel?... how can I ensure my son won't become a rapist?... how would society treat the raped woman and her husband?... and on, and on, and on). The book is 6.5 hours long, and most of it was devoted to a discussion of the above. There was almost no detection happening and certainly no action (until the very last scene).
No. I will continue to read books by this author. Several of Ms. Perry's recent books have been filled with suspense, detection, and action, so I'm not giving up on her.
The pace was fine. Ms. Porter's narration has been better, though. I felt that the character voices tended to merge a bit. In previous books, she did a better job of keeping the characters distinct.
Too many to mention.
This is one of Anne Perry's best Pitt novels although the real start is Inspector Narroway. I have always like him and was sorry he was removed from Special Branch.
The story is about solving the slaying and rapes of prominent and not-so proiminent women in London. Special Branch gets involved as one of the women is the daughter of the Portunguese Ambassador. But it is Narraway with the aid of Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould who do a lot of the dectective work All in all this is a great book in the series.
It is one of the best she has written in the Pitt series in quite awhile and I hope we see more of Narraway and Lady Vespasia in coming books.
Davina Porter is certainly one of the best narrators there and she is superb in her reading of this book.
I've listened to all of the Anne Perry books: Pitt and Monk. This is one of her best.
The tale is gripping. I couldn't stop listening. I did suspect some sort of the end, but kept changing as the facts presented themselves. In the end, I knew who, but not how or why, or even all the culprits! Marvelous twists that blew me away. I don't know how Ms Perry keeps coming up with such interesting and diabolical plots.. but I sure hope she doesn't stop!
Caution: This book deals with rape, as well as murder.. it isn't overly graphic though and treats the subject matter tactfully and carefully.
As always, Ms Porter is the best narrator for these books. She is so easy to follow and keeps the characters straight. I never have to guess who is speaking.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book.
I don't know. I think I would have enjoyed the print version but I have no regrets at choosing the audiobook.
I liked the interactions of the Pitt family--Thomas, Charlotte, Jemima and Daniel.
I liked many scenes. I enjoyed Pitt's and Narroway's separate investigations, getting to see the inner workings of Victorian households. I also enjoyed the courtroom scenes.
I listened to it in two days. I was intrigued and wanted to know how it would end.
Davina Porter was a good narrator for this material. I have one fault to find with Anne Perry's style. The inner monologues of the characters go on for way too long. It was also a bit difficult listening to a book about rape. However, I enjoy the series and read all the books.
Fan of mystery & romance -- particularly of historical persuasion!"
I love all of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books, but most particularly those narrated by Davina Porter.
A single exposition on Victorian attitudes and practices regarding rape would have been sufficient. But it seemed that every character had to have a long explanation of how rape is handled, who it affects, the consequences, etc. And virtually no detecting
No, but I will be careful with this author if there are other social issues mentioned as being part of the plot. Perhaps violence towards women is a particular hot button issue for her.
She has a lovely way of capturing the social graces with her phrasing and tone of voice.
Annoyance. Really. I started with the expected anger at the treatment of women but the repetitive drumming on this theme just distracted from any plot advancement. The whole mystery solving part of the book happened almost as an afterthought in the last couple chapters.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Lower middle. This wasn't the best Pitt story but it was still well done.
Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould and Victor Narraway's budding romance. We shall see what happens with them in the future.
She did a wonderful job on both male and female voices. I thought she was very good.
Rape is rape.
This was not the best in the series and I think perhaps the author might think about retiring this one. When the children are becoming teenagers, it's time to go. I missed some of my favorite characters from this one. Sister Emily was barely in it, and no Gracie at all. The new girl is not so much fun.
Both the print and audio edition of Midnight at Marble Arch were excellent. The only difference was in hearing the book read gave a better idea of the character's emotions.
There really isn't another book that I could or would compare it to. The characters and the plot are completely original.
The description of the main characters tailing the suspect.
When two of the main characters were discussing the situation at the heart of the story.
Sure I like Anne Perry's books.
Would love to see Anne Perry's books made into TV series.
I find the first victim, the Portuguese diplomat's daughter, an unlikely one. There were 2-3 instances of this victim showing up at society parties where she runs into her tormentor and flips out. Considering people from this social strata attend the same parties, if the victim was raped and traumatized, is it reasonable for her to socialize at all afterwards? Not justifying the crime, but rather how likely is it that a traumatized victim would show up at a party after being attacked. At the least a concerned mother would have sent her back to Portugal or some place to protect her. The context of the first victim seems unreal and detracts from the story,
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