book review: Buckingham Palace Gardens, by Anne Perry

murder AND class rivalry: oh my!

A friend gave me this on my last trip, and I just finished it on the bus from NYC to Washington DC. A century or so ago, four men with their wives are gathered at Buckingham Palace to discuss a massive infrastructure investment with the Prince. One morning, a prostitute is found murdered in a closet. Thomas Pitt, working class detective now risen to Special Services (or something of that sort), is called in.

Ups: The mystery is interesting, and every time I thought it was solved, I was wrong. Overlaying the mystery is a massive amount of class insecurity and reflection from the servants to the working class individuals like Pitt.

Downs: Elsa, one of the wives, spends a lot of time ruminating about love in a not very interesting way. I daresay Perry could have left some of that in Elsa’s unobserved mind.

I enjoyed it, but I doubt I’ll rush out to read more Anne Perry. I admit that I enjoy the simplicity of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, very focused on the mystery itself and less on the people. Perhaps that makes them lesser “literature,” but it allows them to fill one purpose very well, which is what I seek from them.

Note on content: No sexually explicit scenes, but there was a party in the palace the night before the prostitute was murdered, and – despite Pitt’s disapproval – he must ask some carefully phrased questions. A bit of gore at the crime scenes. Grotesque classism on display.

5 thoughts on “book review: Buckingham Palace Gardens, by Anne Perry”

  1. I really liked Anne Perry’s series that starts with “The Face of a Stranger”. The protagonist is William Monk and besides solving whatever murder is at hand, he is also trying to piece together his own identity and past (accident, amnesia, etc). They made me reflect a lot on who I trust and why, how that trust gets established, and relationships in general.

  2. I have read Perry for years, good escapist fiction. I agree completely with your review and comments about Elsa. Perry can get a little preachy. A couple of her books I couldn’t finish because I found the content so objectionable. I enjoy your reviews!

  3. You may not like PD James as much if you don’t want ruminations. 🙂 I’ve only read two so far (and lost a third on the plane coming over here), A Certain Justice and The Murder Room. James struck me as such an extra-perceptive person (even among writers) that I’ve started reading her autobiography, A Time to be Earnest. It’s been a great read so far. James was born in 1920.

    Though I liked the Victorian setting of Perry’s books, I think I prefer James.

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