Betrayal at Lisson Grove by Anne Perry

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Betrayal at Lisson Grove by Anne Perry

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: It's Victorian England and Inspector Pitt has his hands full. Unrest across Europe and beyond sees him and his team involved in some dangerous, dodgy and outrageous goings-on as individuals pursue their own agendas.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Headline
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755376827

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After recently reading Perry's Acceptable Loss and thoroughly enjoying it, I was looking forward to reading this book and hoping it would be as good as read. The novel opens with Pitt, Special Branch, in the midst of frenzied action trying to catch a suspect. Suspected of murder, it's imperative that he's caught. They weave between crowds, duck through alleys, but their best efforts are simply not good enough. The man is not caught. He's free to strike again. This all makes for a good, old-fashioned chase as Pitt makes up his mind to board a ferry for France, believing that's where the suspect could be heading. Pitt is extremely thorough and meticulous in all matters of policing but this may very well bode ill later on in the story. We learn of deep unrest in parts of the world: Europe and Ireland in particular. And Perry is good at giving her readers a little palatable history here and there, to keep us all in the loop.

Pitt takes along his younger colleague Gower, for corroboration and much-need assistance. It will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. But through intelligent thought and also his specialist background, Pitt is able to ascertain that not only is nasty business afoot but the suspect could be involved. In France, he recognizes several faces who are known political activists. The plot thickens nicely ...

Parallel to all this stealth work, Pitt's superior back at Lisson Grove Headquarters is having troubles of his own. A situation has arisen in which he's portrayed in a less than flattering light. In fact, he's suspended from duties. But he's offered assistance from a surprising source: Pitt's wife, Charlotte. They make hasty but elaborate plans to travel to Ireland where with Charlotte's welcome softly-softly approach, they hope to piece together the jig-saw.

Perry takes time to build up her characters. We get background information on all of the main characters which was both relevant and which I welcomed. Not all in one, big dollop but in reader-friendly, bite-sized pieces. Her engaging style makes it easy for the reader to get involved and immersed early on. Perry also weaves an intricate tale of claim and counter-claim, of dirty goings-on, of murder, of revenge and the enduring power of love. There's plenty of action but there's also plenty of narrative so that the reader can catch his/her breath. I loved Perry's style.

There's a strong sense of Victorian times: the etiquette of the middle-classes for example, even when at times they appear to trip over themselves for the sake of good manners. Pitt comes across well as a man of decency and Charlotte I found delightful - a true heroine, if ever there was one. She can be feisty when she needs to be. The plot is excellent, rippling along at a nice pace and it's all believable, sadly. We can relate to modern times, if we wish. References to Queen Victoria underline the seriousness of parts of the plot. For me it's one of those books where you've reached the middle and you don't really want to get to the end because it's so good, if you get my drift. I've read two books of Parry's in fairly quick succession and I'd now declare myself as a fan. Highly recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you haven't already read Acceptable Loss also by Anne Perry, you should.

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