Nicole's Reviews > The Cater Street Hangman

The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
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May 07, 2011

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bookshelves: 1001-fiction-read, 1117-perry, 1000-fiction
Read in May, 2011

I had read the first two or three books in this series several years ago at the recommendation of a friend, and I found them okay, but not terrific. Recently, something brought the character of Inspector Pitt to mind, and I decided to revisit the novels. Unfortunately, what I'm most interested in, namely, the relationship between Pitt and Charlotte, doesn't really get a huge amount of attention in the books, at least so far. (At the time of this writing, I've read the first three.) Working out the mystery doesn't take up much space either -- the endings always come pretty much out of the blue in the last 5 or so pages of the book. They're sort of Agatha Christie-esque in that way, though Christie novels don't end so abruptly. What does get covered to a great extent in the books is the effects that doubt and suspicion have on families and friendships, and especially on marriages. The books are set in 1880s London, so they are steeped in Victorian gender norms, and they stress the double standard on male and female behavior. The first book in the series came out in 1978, and I was originally going to write that they were very much a reflection of second-wave feminism, but now I'm not so sure. I was just reading more about Perry -- and her life before she was Anne Perry, when she did things that made her worthy of being portrayed by Kate Winslet in a major motion picture -- and I'm not so sure anymore. Between her teenage experiences and her later membership in the LDS church, I'm not sure that feminism explains the books' themes, although I suppose it might. Certainly, the success of the books can be owing at least in part to their resonance with the contemporary women's movement.

I listened to an audio version of this book, and it was nicely performed.
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