Callander Square, by Anne Perry

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I needed to take a little break from romance, so I read a Victorian mystery, Anne Perry's Callander Square.

The bodies of two newborns are discovered buried in a garden in the posh Callander Square region of London. Inspector Pitt and his precocious young wife, Charlotte, begin solving the crime from two different perspectives--one from within the walls of the peculiar residents' homes, and the other from the outside.
This was excellent, a B+.

It took me a bit to get into Callander Square, but when I did, I couldn't stop turning pages. The police case in this book was fascinating; I simply couldn't figure out how it all fit together.And yet, when I read the solution in the last pages, it all fit perfectly, and all the clues were there, if only I had known to look!

Not only was the story gripping, the characterization was outstanding enough to make the book worth reading just for it. I'm not, by any means, an expert, but the characters felt real and they felt Victorian. Many of their attitudes were incomprehensible for me now, but they felt right for those characters and, probably because this wasn't a romance, I liked reading about them.

Perry's characterization, IMO, is even better than PD James', an author whose novels I've always thought of as being wonderful psychological studies, more than whodunnits. Perry's just as good at creating real people, interesting people, with the added benefit that some of Perry's people are likeable, while James' just depress me.

There was very little about Pitt here. -Callander Square is only the second in the now 20+ book
long Thomas Pitt series, and most of what I know about Thomas and Charlotte comes from the later books. Plus, a great deal of the action here is narrated through the suspects' POV, which gave this whodunnit a non-traditional feel. It's not something I'd care to have in every mystery novel, but it worked here and I liked it.

I'm glad I have quite a few more Anne Perry novels waiting for me to read, and many more I can reread.

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