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Saturday 10 October 2015

‘Treachery at Lancaster Gate’ by Anne Perry

Published by Headline,
10 September 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-1955-8

Three policemen are dead after a city centre bomb blast. Racial prejudice is rife, and terrorists who want to create anarchy are top of the list of suspects. Special Branch are involved, to the great resentment of the police, who want to look after their own. Drug dealing is mentioned, and senior politicians have plenty to say. Then rumours begin to fly, of police corruption right through to the highest ranks.

Anyone could be excused for thinking that sounds like the basis for thoroughly modern thriller – but anyone couldn’t be more wrong. In the latest in Anne Perry’s long-running Thomas Pitt series, it’s still the nineteenth century. It just goes to show that nothing changes, especially in the criminal world.

Pitt is now head of Special Branch, a devoted family man, and still passionate in the pursuit of justice no matter what the cost – and in this complex tale the stakes are pretty high. The action plays out against a background of political shenanigans involving an important government contract; several key players have their own axe to grind, and don’t make Pitt’s difficult job any easier.

The women in his life work hard on his behalf, but behind the scenes. The main players are strongly drawn, and familiar from previous books in the series: Charlotte, Pitt’s supportive wife; Emily, his socialite sister-in-law, now married to an ambitious member of Parliament, and able to mix in useful circles; Gracie, formerly Pitt and Charlotte’s maid, now married to Tellman, his police liaison, and feistily determined to ensure he does what his conscience tells him is right. We also meet Cecily, whose husband and son are embroiled in the matter: fragile on the surface, she reveals a core of steel.

As Pitt and Tellman dig deeper, they uncover secrets they would prefer didn’t exist, but as is their way, they make sure that right prevails – though there are times when the reader as well as the protagonists wonder if the odds are stacked too high.

Anne Perry’s many fans will enjoy this latest episode in Pitt’s developing career – though one has to wonder how much higher he can climb. Wherever he goes, though, we can rest assured he will continue to be fearless and determined in the pursuit of justice.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Anne Perry was born in Blackheath, London England in October 1938.  Anne had various jobs but there was never anything she seriously wished to do except write. Her publishing career began with The Cater Street Hangman. Published in 1979, this was the first book in the series to feature the Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his well-born wife Charlotte. It was filmed and broadcast on ITV featuring a young Keely Hawes.  In 1990, Anne started a second series of detective novels with The Face of a Stranger. These are set about 35 years before and feature the private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly. Anne won an Edgar award in 2000 with her short story "Heroes". The main character in the story features in an ambitious five-book series set during the First World War.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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