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ewillse

Surrounded by Books

I read historical fiction, mystery, foodie memoir, and well-crafted YA (sometimes other genres).

Buckingham Palace Gardens (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Series #25)

Buckingham Palace Gardens (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Series #25) by Anne Perry - Why haven't I read Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books before? Victorian era mysteries, right in (one of my) sweet spots. I'm told that it's better to read the series in sequence to see how the relationships develop, but I think I had enough fun reading this that I don't mind reading out of order.The way it started, with a prostitute gorily murdered in Buckingham Palace, gave me a rather persistent thought of "London... SVU?" which I had trouble shaking over the first couple of chapters. But that's more a commentary on myself than it is on the quality of the book.The thing that impressed me most was the way the investigation and the interrogation got bound and constrained by social niceties of status and of how different classes were allowed to interact. Perry switched perspectives in different chapters, enough so that I could really see the discrepancy between characters' interior lives and the constrained way they behaved towards each other, navigating the social sphere in a series of calculations of how much to say to whom, when. I don't think I've seen that captured quite so well in other Victorian era historicals I've read. I think I have, for the first time, in years of reading Victorian era historical mysteries, an understanding of just the sheer painful stiltedness and constraints of having to conduct a murder investigation in a society bent on keeping up rigid social structures. I enjoyed a few moments where investigators were trying to shield women, or servants from what was going on, only to be dumbfounded by what people already knew.Definitely going to read as many more books in this series as I can.