Monday, October 11, 2010

The Whitechapel Conspiracy

by Anne Perry

Mostly Thumbs Up.

Scottish author, Ann Perry writes mysteries set in Victorian times.  I've not read enough of her titles to speak with any real authority, but this book was much different than any of hers I've read previously.  The Whitechapel Conspiracy, was an interesting book to read on the heels of Glenn Beck's The Overton Window

Instead of the Sherlock Holmes type mystery that leads a reader along the quest for the culprit of the the crime and the method used by the criminal to commit the crime, this book, as is apparent in the title, is the unraveling of a huge, convoluted, societal and political conspiracy.  The book takes place in London in the troubled years of the latter half of 19th century.  The industrial areas of London are filled with poverty ridden, worked-to-the-bone poor.  The royal family is seen as irrelevant; the prince is a prodigious spender.  In the poorer sections of London, several people groups (Jews, Irish, Catholics) have become marginalized and are suspected of causing all the ills facing the city.  Revolutions have risen around Europe and revolution fever is surging through certain segments of the London populace.

Bow Street police superintendent, Thomas Pitt, and his household are drawn into what appears to be a conspiracy to hide evidence in a murder trial.  The deeper they dig, the more sinister the plot appears.  Eventually Pitt's wife, servant and her suitor, and his distant aunt put all their various skills to work to solve the crime, and save the city and even the British Monarchy.

The reason I rated the book as only "mostly" thumbs up is that there are parts at which the reading is tedious.  The plot gets bogged down a bit in the history of the various political and societal situations in London at the time.  I also dislike historical fiction that mixes fact with fiction so thoroughly that it is hard for a reader to determine what parts are fiction and what parts are not.  Sometimes historical fiction spurs me on the further research, but this time it just made me feel hopelessly uninformed.  I wouldn't know where to start my research.

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