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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Death and intrigue in high places.

Murder on the Serpentine (A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel #32) by Anne Perry




In this novel Pitt finds himself undertaking a mission for Queen Victoria. One that could have grave consequences for the Prince of Wales and the future of the monarchy. 
We meet some interesting new characters along with old friends.
A boating accident on the Serpentine, 'a decorative stretch of water that curved across the middle of Hyde Park.' In the dead of night of a trusted and favoured courtier of the Queen's--Sir John Halberd drowns. This leads to Pitt being called before the highest figure in the land. His task, to discreetly continue the inquiries Halberd had undertaken for the Queen and to discover the truth behind the boating 'accident.' It seems embroiled in the affair is Delia Kendrick, a former mistress of the Prince of Wales and now wife to one of his closet friends. 
For me a huge part of the intrigue of this novel lies in the emotional and psychological struggle that Pitt has to come to terms with. We see him wrestle with his conscience and ideals as he fully assumes the mantle of Commander of Special Branch. Trying to formulate the ways between honourable behaviour and necessity for the good of all. A very rocky path.
Victor Narraway and Vespasia are out of the country. Normally Pitt would consult Victor when the action moves into the upper stratosphere of high society. Now Pitt has to rely on his own resources and Victor's notebooks.
Looming on the horizon is the possibility of a second Boer War. Murder, suicide and gun running are in the mix.
Charlotte cannot enter so readily into Pitt's cases--these are now concerned with State secrets and anarchy. She does however do what she can.
I find her inclusion into the Lady's Club and murmurs of the suffragette movement interesting. Ah, if that came to pass that could open up a whole lot of possibilities, even conflicts for Pitt and Charlotte. But I digress!
Another fascinating addition to the Pitt collection.

A NetGalley ARC

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