Tuesday 16 April 2024

Read in 2024 - 7: Bedford Square

Bedford Square (An Inspector Pitt Novel)

Anne Perry

When I came across my first novel by Anne Perry, featuring Inspector Pitt and his wife Charlotte and set in Victorian London, I liked everything about it - the setting, the characters, the language, how the story was constructed and the case solved.

Since then, I have read a few more books from the series, in no particular order. When not long ago I found a pile of paperbacks at the book stall of Ludwigsburg's Town Church, four out of the eight books I bought for 1 € each were by Anne Perry, and this one was the first from the pile I finished.

I enjoyed the book very much - again, it all came together for me: Likeable, plausible characters, a well-researched and complex setting, an equally complex case and a solution I found satisfactory, as well as beautiful language throughout.

The case starts with a dead man found on the steps to a respectable house on Bedford Square, London. At first glance, nothing links the victim (who was clearly from a different, much lower class) to the owner of the house - nothing except a snuff box found in his pocket. A burglary gone wrong? 

Then, anonymous letters begin to arrive not only at the house on Bedford Square, but other wealthy or otherwise influential men receive them, too. Nothing is asked from them, but the accusations are vicious and, although not true, impossible to disprove - each of the men and their families would end up ruined in the eyes of society if the accusations were made known.

Who is behind the letters, what does the sender actually want, and where does the dead man fit in? 

Another man dies before Inspector Pitt - of course greatly helped by his constable, his wife, their maid and the formidable Great-Aunt Vespasia - cracks the case. For me, the solution was impossible to guess, although I had certain suspicions along the way that proved to be true. 

Much of the charm of these mysteries lies in the Victorian setting; every time it makes me glad that I live today and not back then, when class was everything and formalities hemmed people in on all sides. Another big plus for me is that there is no focus on gruesome detail other than what is absolutely necessary to understand what happened. Instead, it is all about solving a complex puzzle.

Apparently, the series (or parts of it?) have been adapted for TV - I have yet to find out more about this. In any case, I am looking forward to the other three Inspector Pitt novels on my to-be-read pile.

PS: You can find two more reviews of Anne Perry's books on my blog by typing her name in the search box in the upper left corner. I have just looked at them and found that I have been somewhat disappointed by one that I had read in 2011.

From wikipedia, I only just now found out that Anne Perry died a year ago.


  1. Oh, I love Anne Perry's books and have read all of them over the years. Her William Monk series is good too. I have even gone back and started the two series over again on the occasions when I couldn't decide what to read next. I love how they decipher and solve the mysteries without using any of the high tech things we have today.

    1. Yes, I think there is not even fingerprinting involved, is there? It's all about questioning people and observing them, and finding out things from military archives and other documents.
      Years ago I read one of her Christmas stories which I also enjoyed, but it must have been before I started blogging, as I can't find a review of it on my blog.

  2. The series she started just a few years ago was better than the Monk or Pitt books -it was set in WWII a girl working for the government. So sad that she died so there won't be any more.
    I've read all her books - there are several dozen!

    1. I know - the list of her works on wikipedia is impressive! So far, I have ever only read some of the Pitt novels, none of her Monk or any other series.