Reviews for Brunswick Gardens


Kirkus Reviews 1998 February
It's 1891, and once again Superintendent Thomas Pitt of London's Bow Street Station is called upon to solve a difficult case (Ashworth Hall, 1997, etc., etc.). The victim this time is emancipated, argumentative Unity Bellwood, a young ``new woman'' and an expert on ancient languages who was employed as research assistant by the Reverend Ramsey Parmenter, the highly respected vicar of St. Michael's Church. Unity was killed instantly in a fall down the grand staircase at 17 Brunswick Gardens, residence of Parmenter, his wife Vita, son Mallory, daughters Clarice and Tryphena and--a shocker for Pitt--Dominic Corde. Now a curate, Dominic was once Pitt's brother-in-law, widower of his wife Charlotte's sister who'd died ten years before. Just before Unity fell, she was heard to call out ``No. . . no, Reverend''; meanwhile, there are no signs to indicate accident, and an autopsy reveals that the victim was three months pregnant. Parmenter denies guilt, as do the others, and Pitt is faced with a seemingly unsolvable puzzle. Much--unendingly so--is made of Dominic's unsavory past, which Pitt painstakingly investigates, and of his redemption in the church, under Parmenter's guidance. A second death in the household is taken as a confession until Pitt, aided by Charlotte, realizes he's taken a wrong turn and at very long last gets it right. A scenario that might have been intriguing is drained of both suspense and momentum by endless, long-winded, stately discussions and musings on the nature of man and faith. A far cry from this veteran author's best and a test of endurance for even the most devoted fan. Copyright 1998 Kirkus Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1997 December
When the beautiful and pregnant assistant of a powerful Anglican priest is found dead at the bottom of a stairway, Thomas and Charlotte Pitt investigate. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1998 February
Within the historical setting of Victorian England, Perry (Ashworth Hall, LJ 2/1/97) sets a new mystery in motion to be solved by the enduring Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte. Unity Bellwood, a scholar of ancient languages, is found dead at the bottom of the stairs in the home of her employer, the Reverend Ramsey Parmenter. Soon, it is discovered that she was three months' pregnant. Afterward, suspicion and distrust grow among household members?Ramsey's wife, Vita; daughters Tryphena and Clarice; son Mallory; and devoted religious convert and protege Dominic Corde. The murder of Reverend Parmenter follows. Perry explores modern themes of feminism, discrimination, and free love within the well-defined strictures of Victorian mores, and her characters emerge as realistic and credible. Highly recommended for popular collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/97.]?Michelle Foyt, Fairfield P.L., Ct. Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 January #3
The 18th case for turn-of-the-century London policeman Thomas Pitt offers Perry's guaranteed entertainment, although without the full depth of last year's Ashworth Hall. Now in command of the Bow Street station, Pitt is sent to the home of prominent vicar and scholar Ramsay Parmenter, where a young woman has died in a suspicious fall down the stairs. Unity Bellwood was as adept at irritating others as she was at her work of translating ancient texts with the reverend. Pitt faces the awkward possibility that the dead woman was pushed by Parmenter himself; by Parmenter's intense son, Mallory, who is annoying his Anglican father by studying to become a Catholic priest; or by Dominic Corde, a curate who lives in the house. Complicating issues is the fact that Dominic, the widowed husband of Pitt's wife Charlotte's dead sister, is an elegant former wastrel with whom Charlotte was once infatuated. As Pitt probes "all the little sins" of the household, he discovers secrets that several of his suspects have failed to confess about themselves and about Unity. Meanwhile Charlotte, drawn to visit Dominic, witnesses social interactions among the family group that her husband, in his official capacity, could not observe. Within this clearly drawn cast, the face of the villain begins to emerge even before Pitt is called in on a second death in the household and closes in on the crimes' solution. Author tour. (Apr.)

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 January #4
The 18th case for turn-of-the-century London policeman Thomas Pitt offers Perry's guaranteed entertainment, although without the full depth of last year's Ashworth Hall. Now in command of the Bow Street station, Pitt is sent to the home of prominent vicar and scholar Ramsay Parmenter, where a young woman has died in a suspicious fall down the stairs. Unity Bellwood was as adept at irritating others as she was at her work of translating ancient texts with the reverend. Pitt faces the awkward possibility that the dead woman was pushed by Parmenter himself; by Parmenter's intense son, Mallory, who is annoying his Anglican father by studying to become a Catholic priest; or by Dominic Corde, a curate who lives in the house. Complicating issues is the fact that Dominic, the widowed husband of Pitt's wife Charlotte's dead sister, is an elegant former wastrel with whom Charlotte was once infatuated. As Pitt probes "all the little sins" of the household, he discovers secrets that several of his suspects have failed to confess about themselves and about Unity. Meanwhile Charlotte, drawn to visit Dominic, witnesses social interactions among the family group that her husband, in his official capacity, could not observe. Within this clearly drawn cast, the face of the villain begins to emerge even before Pitt is called in on a second death in the household and closes in on the crimes' solution. Author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 November
YA-Perry continues to reveal the intricacies of women's rights in Victorian society in this murder mystery. When Inspector Thomas Pitt investigates the murder of Unity Bellwood, he is forced to admit that his former brother-in-law, Dominic, is one of the key suspects. Or did her employer, Reverend Parmenter, push her down the stairs? Unity was antagonistic and flaunted women's rights and Darwin's ideas in Parmenter's very traditional home. Pitt's wife is appalled that Dominic could be a suspect and helps with the detective work. Even though there is a limited number of possible perpetrators, readers will still be surprised as clues are found to reveal the answers. This is more of a character study than a novel of action, but it will appeal to Perry's fans.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 1998 School Library Journal

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