A Victorian murder mystery


Another book in my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014.

death in the devil's acre

Death in the Devil’s Acre by Anne Perry.

This particular author was recommended to me by Lorna from Tearoom Delights.  Lorna knew I liked crime fiction and she had read several Anne Perry books and thought I might like them.  She was right.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first book by this author and I will look out for others.

From the bookcover:

The dregs of society.  Victorian London has all too many insalubrious slums, but none worse than the notorious Devil’s Acre.  Even so, the discovery of a body there one dismal January night disgusts slum-dwellers and upright citizens alike; not only is the dead man a respectable doctor, but he has been hideously mutilated as well.

Inspector Thomas Pitt is called from his bed to begin the investigation, but meets with suspicion on all sides.  Forgers and brothel keepers know that a policeman’s presence is bad for business; the murdered man’s colleagues regard Pitt as an interfering tradesman.  Like it on not, Thomas Pitt has to turn to his aristocratic wife Charlotte.  WIth her quick mind and Society connections, she can explore where he cannot.  Particularly when further killings lead to old acquaintances.

The blurb is not really a true indication of the book as Thomas doesn’t really turn to his wife for assistance, in fact he warns her several times not to interfere.  I liked the fact that the story paints an accurate picture of the life of women in Victorian London but having said that, my favourite character was a male character and a minor one, the forger named Squeaker.  I loved the way the author used the authentic speech of Squeaker in the dialogue as it helped to paint a vivid picture of life in the slums.

There were several moral and political issues discussed in the novel and these added to the authenticity of the tale.

You can read what Goodread readers thought of Death in the Devil’s Acre here.

There appears to be about 29 books in the Pitt series and as has happened with me so many times before, I have not started at the beginning but at number 7.  I will just need to continue on from there.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I didn’t realise Anne Perry had written so many Pitt books. She has other series as well, featuring different main characters and which are just as good as the Pitt ones. Quite a remarkable achievement. I don’t know if you’ve seen her Wikipedia page but I was astonished to discover that she’s also a convicted murderer.

    1. suth2 says:

      Wow! I wonder if that is true? Wiipedia is not always to be trusted.

      1. suth2 says:

        That should read Wikipedia. Oops.

      2. That’s true, so I’ve done a bit more checking and there’s a book about it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perry-Murder-Century-Peter-Graham/ Apparently there have been films and plays based on it, too. Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, there’s also a Youtube video of Ian Rankin interviewing Anne Perry here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_oYT9mvChw

        1. suth2 says:

          Thank you for those links Lorna. I knew about the two girls in New Zealand but I had no idea that one of them was Anne Perry. I had also seen the film Heavenly Creatures so knew the full story. By moving countries and changing her name she was able to start a new life.

          1. You’re welcome, Heather. I don’t think many people knew who Anne Perry was until quite recently. One of the things I’ve noticed about her writing is that there’s often a strong sense of right and wrong in the stories. Knowing a bit more about her background now makes me see that in a different light.

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