PARAGON WALK by Anne Perry


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A third corpse-and-chat marathon for Victorian copper Inspector Pitt--though again, as in Callender Square (1980), most of the sleuthing here is done by the low-born Inspector's high-born wife Charlotte, in tandem with her well-married sister, Lady Emily Ashworth of posh Paragon Walk. The mystery: Emily's neighbor, insipid young Fanny, has been raped and stabbed to death right on the Walk, and suspicion falls on the local males--Fanny's odd half-brothers, a French rake, even Emily's weak, philandering husband. And one of those half-brothers soon disappears, turning up dead in a chimney. Plain-spoken Charlotte (wearing borrowed dresses) takes tea and cakes up and down the Walk, trading much spirited, catty repartee. . . and finally confronts the culprit, having not been fooled by the suicide and apparent confession of the neighborhood drunk. Rather too much gore and sin (black magic too) implausibly crammed onto a single street--but Charlotte is a charming Sherlock, the badinage (though a tad anachronistic) is decorously savage, and Perry's period blend of social comedy with murder mystery seems to be firming up quite nicely indeed.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's