Bluegate Fields: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel by Anne Perry
Series: Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, 6
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sixth in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt historical mystery series with this story set in the London of 1881 and revolving around Inspector Pitt and his very involved wife, Charlotte.
I’m going to give Perry a break on the “investigation” Pitt and the police force have done into this murder. Part of me is so irritated that they let so much slide. Another part of me believes that Perry is also using this to provide a subtle history on the development of police work with this particular story presenting a very good perspective on how society interacted: the vices overlooked, the allowances permitted, the judgments made upon people depending upon their class. It’s certainly making me appreciate today’s more independent police force. Yes, I realize there will always be a certain amount of corruption, of toadying up to celebrities and people with money, but at least it’s no longer the “accepted thing” to let slide the deaths of anyone below a certain income bracket.
It’s pretty easy to see that from the first, Pitt and Gillivray are going up the garden path with the father leading their sons. Nor does Pitt insist on a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) account from either of the boys. Pitt should have known that the boys wouldn’t understand what was being said…thank god for Charlotte!
Catching Up with the “Family”
It’s been 5 years since Thomas fell in love with Charlotte and Daniel is a few months old now. Alicia Fitzroy-Hammond has married Virgil Smith (Resurrection Row) and Dominic has moved out of the Ellison family home.
Further incidents provide a face and a wake-up call for Great Aunt Vespasia Cummings-Gould, Lady Emily, and Charlotte to team up with Mr. Somerset Carlisle to raise peoples’ consciousness about child prostitution. A damned good thing as it causes some reinterpretation of comments made in the past.
Mr. Athelstan, Pitt’s “superior”, is even more of a jerk than usual—his entire attitude about the murders is just disgusting! He provides the greatest reason for my re-reading these early books. I’m dying to find out when he gets tossed aside and a better man is placed in charge!
In the end, Society will judge.
A teenager, Arthur Waybourne, is found drowned in the London sewers. An obvious murder considering all the clues. But class rears its ugly head and Mr. Gillivray and Mr. Athelstan, Pitt’s technical superior, are insistent that Pitt not bother such illustrious people. Of course, the health of the murdered teen does have a bearing on their concerns as scandal could destroy the family.
Still, scandal is a terrible reason to send someone to the gallows!
Inspector Thomas Pitt loves his work. He loves deciphering the clues and helping people. He especially loves his wife Charlotte and the encouraging support she provides as well as the different perspective she takes on his cases. Gracie is their full-time maid—a requirement in this time period, particularly when a second child has arrived. Lady Emily is Charlotte’s sister while Lady Vespasia is Emily’s husband’s great-aunt and a force of her own. (Perry provides further development of Charlotte’s relationship with Vespasia and introspection on Charlotte’s part as to the interaction between herself and her husband.)
Arthur Waybourne is a teen whose medical condition provides clues as to the motive behind his murder. His father, Sir Anstey, is like any parent. Disbelieving of the reports and then all eagerness to hush it up and find a socially acceptable murderer. Godfrey is Arthur’s younger brother and as easily led as Titus Swynford by their fathers. God forbid their mothers should be told anything.
Mr. Jerome is the cold, unlikable tutor upon whom it is too easy to pin the guilt. His wife, amazingly, seems to love him and has complete faith in his innocence. Albie Frobisher is the seventeen-year-old male prostitute while Abigail Winters is another prostitute, both of whom Gillivray found who bear witness at the trial.
Mr. Athelstan is Pitt’s superior on the police force and he is much more concerned with status than justice. Mr. Gillivray is Athelstan’s toady and willing to do anything to suck his way up the ladder.
Not much field to this cover as it’s all bricks with a couple pigeons.
The title reflects the London neighborhood in which the first body is found, Bluegate Fields.