Thirteenth in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt historical mystery series set in late Victorian England.
I love it, I love it…Grandmama finally gets all her nastiness thrown back in her face. And about frickin’ time! It’s also rather sweet to see the about-face that Mrs. Ellison is performing. A new love, a new attitude.
These are just about the only bright notes in this story. Public outcry and political pressure along with the horror of the crime caused the police to speedily find a culprit who fit within their parameters. The pressure the police brought onto the witnesses makes me understand thoroughly why Drummond is so insistent about Pitt taking on this promotion! I can understand wanting to make people feel safe, but I cannot understand doing it at the price of an innocent person. What purpose does it serve to throw some random individual to the wolves if it isn’t the right person? The person who actually did the crime? I don’t understand that. I’d be so much more terrified of a police force that will jam up anyone they can make fit AND is okay with leaving the real criminal running about loose to repeat his (her) crime.
Equally, reading the outcry (a very tiny, unprepossessing word for the situation) against the Jews. Assuming that a crucifixion automatically makes it a crime committed by a Jew. What a bunch of idiots!! Hullo! How incredibly simple it would be to use this to make it appear that way. I mean, really, duh… Then that stupid attitude about “breeding”. Oh. My. God. Can people…what am I saying?? Of course they can be that stupid and ignorant. There are still stupid and ignorant people out there today…hard as it is to believe. I just wanna smack ’em all! Where are the Darwin Awards when we need them!??
Oh god, that woman! To have to listen to her spout her absolute nonsense was just…impossible! Oh yeah, uh-huh, I can figure out the real reason her son was deformed the stupid, ignorant, old besom. The damage such ignorance and prejudice can cause! And so condescending in her ignorance!! I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or scream or both!
Oh, Joshua has such a sweet comment in response to Caroline’s worry. We should all be so lucky to love someone like him.
It’s odd that just about everyone on the old case is uncomfortable with it. Why didn’t the police hunt the pawn shops for the necklace? So many of the witnesses and experts were having second thoughts, why didn’t this send up questions? As for Charlotte’s worry about her mother…what a hypocrite!
Interesting historical references to opium being given to wounded soldiers during the Civil War in America and thinking that “it would be less addicting than ether or chloroform, especially if given by the then new invention…” There’s a bit where Gracie and Charlotte are doing some cleaning and Perry mentions their homemade recipes…makes ya grateful for Formula 409, Comet, and other such household cleaning products. Can you imagine having to find your own useful recipes? Having to mix your own cleaning solutions?
The murder of a prominent judge and its possible connection to a notorious case that ended in a hanging has everyone rushing about and a great deal of pressure being brought to bear by the Home Secretary to clear the case. Clues are everywhere, but none seem to connect or make sense. The only clear lead is that it must be connected to a horrific crime committed five years ago. Yet, the convicted suspect is dead. The evidence was clear. Even the appeals court ruled against him. Yet, Justice Stafford revisited every one of the involved parties the afternoon of the evening he died. With a quite firm idea that the case must be reopened.
Of course, it’s always possible that the cheating wife and her lover may have had a hand in his demise…
On a more personal note, Mrs. Ellison has fallen in love with someone completely unsuitable and Charlotte is mortified.
Charlotte Pitt is a Victorian woman who married down, my dears, but she is extremely happy with her police inspector husband and her life as a housewife. And never more so than when she’s “helping” him on a case. Thomas Pitt is the son of a gardener on a noble’s estate and was taught along with the son of the house, which accounts for his posh accent and his comfort level in the houses of the aristocracy. There is nothing that can account for his slovenly dress, however. Their daughter Jemima is seven now and young Daniel is five. Gracie is her now-17-year-old maid who also shares in Charlotte’s investigations. Lady Emily is living retired in the country while she awaits the birth of her next child. Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould does come to Charlotte’s aid with a most unexpected personal result.
Caroline Ellison is Charlotte’s widowed mother who shares her home with her curmudgeonly mother-in-law…what a bitch she is! Mrs. Ellison is quite proper in dress and manner. Although, with her new freedom as a widow, Mrs. E is getting quite feisty.
Micah Drummond is Thomas’ increasingly unhappy supervisor; he’s also a member of the Inner Circle. And badly, baldly in love with the widow of a dishonored man, Eleanor Byam. Chief Inspector Charles Lambert was the officer in charge of the Farriers’ Lane case five years ago. Police Constable Paterson was the investigating officer while Deputy Commissioner Aubrey Winton is Drummond’s superior and the senior police officer in charge of the men who investigated Farriers’ Lane.
Kingsley Blaine was a dreamer and a dilettante having an affair with an actress, Tamar Macaulay, promising to leave his wife Kathleen and marry Tamar. It’s Tamar’s brother, Aaron Godman, who was jammed up and tried for his gruesome murder. Kingsley’s friend, Devlin O’Neill, was briefly questioned and ended up marrying the widow and they live in her family’s home: Mrs. Adah Harrimore is the grandmother while Mr. Prosper Harrimore is her father.
Barton James was the barrister for the defense and Ebenezer Moorgate was Aaron’s solicitor. The trial judge with the interesting story was Thelonius Quade who had an affaire with Lady Vespasia twenty years ago. The appeals court judges were Samuel Stafford (his wife is Juniper Stafford), Ignatius Livesey, Granville Oswyn, Edgar Boothroyd who has since retired and sunk himself in drink, and Morley Sadler. Adolphus Pryce was the prosecutor in the Farriers’ Lane case and is currently Juniper’s lover.
Joshua Fielding is a prominent actor and was also in love with Tamar at the time as well as a suspect—and a Jew!!!—as was Aaron; he seems to be veering in a more upwardly direction now. Clio Farber is another actress and friendly with both Tamar and Kathleen. Even Oscar Wilde has a part to play.
The title refers to the case tried five years earlier in which a murder occurred in Farriers’ Lane.