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on 3 October 2012
I can hardly keep up with Anne Perry as she is so prolific. I have always enjoyed her characterisation of Thomas Pitt and the development of his family and professional relationships.
Yes, she does seem to rathe hang a cause on her characters - this time it is the matter of rape in Victorian England - but I enjoy the way she uses fiction to get across some very good points. Even now it is difficult to report rape. How much so over 100 years ago!
As usual, she has several stories intertwining, and this time there is less of Charlotte, and more of Victor Narraway and of Lady Vespasian.
The denouement is quite unexpected, although she gives enough hints for you to follow.
A very good read which kept me up to finish it.
Now I will wait for the next William Monk!
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on 17 December 2012
For the first half of the book, I was in heaven. Thomas seemed back in top form, Charlotte and Vespasia were helping and Victor Narraway became a full character. The crime, while a bit gruesome was a domestic type, not another fake intrigue, special branches thing. Bravo....but...while the victim and the peripheral characters are as interesting as in the early books, the plot begins to falter, then really becomes a bit outlandish at the end. Also continuity is a problem. There were some minor things but the biggie was that a particular character testifies then a chapter or so later his upcoming testimony is discussed, then he testifies and...uh...what? Also the motivation and the construct of the crime seemed a bit much to me. The motive was weak and even if it served, wouldn't another method have been more assured? The elaborate set up seemed ridiculous and struck a hugely false note. Anyway...this one was more interesting and altogether better than the last couple of books but shesh--publishers need to actually read the books they publish and EDIT!!
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on 29 May 2013
This book was as good as Anne Perry's other Pitt novels but I can't help feeling that it could have been better with a lighter touch.Perry does rather tend to beat her reader over the head with the particular message that she is trying to get over , this time the evil of rape .The attitudes of her charactars was much more that of today's metropolitan liberals rather than the Victorian middle class and didn't sit well with some of them.Parents didn't discuss these matters with their children so openly in the 20th century , let alone the 19th .Having said that the charactarisation was as good as ever and the plot full of twists and turns although the ending seemed a little rushed.It was still a darn good read.
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on 17 October 2012
This was an excellent story , completely differnt from the last couple of Pitt stories. Well thought through and executed.

The story was very compelling and kept you guessing until the end what the outcome would be .It brought to life the stigma of rape and the disgrace it brought in this era to the for and that a woman's downfall was her own fault not the man's.

I am glad that we now live in a more enlightened age.
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In this latest of Perry's Victorian crime novels, Thomas and Charlotte Pitt face two complicated and violent cases of rape and death.

I've only read a handful of Perry's books but she has a tendency to hang her books on a theme usually connected to Victorian sexuality: here the motif is rape and violence against women, shadowed by a background of the Jameson Raid, one of the moves towards the Boer war and thus an act of colonialist `rape' against Africa.

Despite the Victorian setting, Perry interrogates attitudes and opinions about rape that are more grounded in our own modern debates than the late nineteenth century, and her anger, even rage, is palpable at times. She does, however, make this a crime which is of crucial importance to men rather than just to women, and so breaks down any gender stereotypes. That women turn against other women when it comes to sexuality is also a sad but true reality which she exposes in this book.

There is a slight problem with the pacing of this book which, after a slow and detailed tempo, suddenly rushes to an unconvincing conclusion. But there is so much good stuff in the emotional excavation that takes place that I was willing to overlook this flaw.

So don't read this if you're looking for some frothy historical crime: this is intelligent, gritty, distressing, and heartfelt. Recommended.
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First Sentence: Pitt stood at the top of the stairs and looked across the glittering ballroom of the Spanish Embassy in the heart of London.

Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are attending a glittering society ball. Charlotte notices a young woman who seems to be afraid of a young man who refuses to leave her alone. The young woman runs away and through a glass window to her death. A wealthy banker, also at the ball, returns home to find his wife brutally assaulted and dead. Although Thomas Pitt, now head of Special Branch, can't openly investigate, he asks for the help of his former boss, Victor Narraway.

From the very beginning, Ms. Perry's descriptions place you within the scene and make you feel part of the story. You also become completely involved with the characters, as she also describes emotions very well.

The characters are wonderful. They become people you care about and want to follow. I'll admit I did try to figure out Great Aunt Vaspasia's age. As Charlotte is now 40, I would guess Vaspasia to be in her late 70s/early 80s. She's a wonderful character, no matter her age. One thing I did particularly like about this book is that it is an ensemble cast relying still on Charlotte and Thomas, but more on Victor Narraway, as well as Aunt Vaspasia and solicitor Peter Symington. Another thing I truly appreciate is that the characters grow and develop with each book, including seeing more of the Pitt's daily life and their children.

Perry has also taken historical figures and either used, or referred to them, in their appropriate roles--Rudyard Kipling, Randolph Churchill, Dr. Jameson and Cecil Rhodes--as well as incorporating important events of the time, such as the search for gold and Boer War. This adds life and veracity to the story.

With each book Ms. Perry focuses on a social issue critical to the period as well as in today's headlines. While some may find her focus on this issue to be heavy-handed, I felt it well-done and as critical a focus for the story as it is necessary to address today. The subject is well handled with the level of outrage and import it deserves. Beyond that, it is a very good mystery. You think you know who's guilty, but are you right? Or is there a surprise waiting for you? Sorry, you'll have to read the book to find out.

"Midnight at Marble Arch" held to the high standard of Ms. Perry's writing and confirms her place among the very best mystery writers. Highly recommended.

MIDNIGHT AT MARBLE ARCH (Hist Mys-Pitt series-England-1896/Victorian) - VG+
Perry, Anne - 28th in series
Ballentine Books, 2012
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I feel as if Perry was trying to make a great big statement with this book. Tackling the issue of rape in that era and the upper echelons reaction to it. The theme was relevant for that era but the points and arguments had a 21st century ring to them. That could mean two things. Either we as a society have not moved one inch in our thinking and approach to the issue in the last few centuries or Perry forgot which era she was writing in.
It was quite evident how much the author wanted to point out her stance on the matter. How the victims are/were treated as the guilty party and rejected for being raped. Blamed by other females for bringing it upon themselves, being bad women hence deserved it or making the man forget himself. All of those stereotypical answers can still be heard today. Women of that era couldn't accuse or come forward it would mean embarrassing their family and bringing shame upon their own person.
I think getting the point across was more important than concentrating on the usual Pitt type murder mystery. It overshadowed the sub-plots.
It wasn't the usual comfortable Perry style mystery. This was Perry finding her voice and shouting above the noise.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
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on 25 July 2013
Previous books have warranted purchase as they were worth reading again. Not this one. There was too much moralising and some of the characters' thinking and behaviour was too modern. Victorian girls may have lived through their teens but they did not behave like modern teenagers - a real Victorian Jemima wouldn't have dared to argue. The ploy of using delaying tactics at a trial is one AP has used several times before and this time it just seemed a tired reworking and a means of getting herself out of a problem with the plot, which was insubstantial at times. Narraway was lumbering around in an unconvincing manner and his connection with Aunt Vespasia does not work. In fact even Aunt Vespasia is below her best.

I think in this instance not enough happened, there was a lack of the different levels of plotting. Previous novels have had all kinds of apparently separate threads which come finally to a satisfactory whole. This did not happen with this novel.
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on 23 June 2013
I love Anne Perry books - especially when I can sit back and enjoy the stories narrated by the charismatic Davina Porter. The novels have given me a valuable insight into the history of Victorian England in an easy to understand format.

I was delighted to see more books by Anne but I am so disappointed by the reading of this book by Dierdra Whelan. I am sure she is popular with others but for me she does not seem to understand what she is reading - to her they are just words - not part of a story that is in all probability true and that needs to be told. She narrates very quickly without the sensitivity shown by Davina and she also seems to swallow the end of her words. Sorry but I will buy no more read by Dierdra.

I would give 5+ for the story and only 1 for the performance
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on 21 February 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.Kept the suspense going right to the end. I haven't anything else to say, and I think there should be NO limit on peoples comment whether Just a few words or for the verbuse person who cannot stop writing
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