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Charlotte & Thomas Pitt #31

Treachery at Lancaster Gate

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Gripping and provocative, the latest Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery by New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry peers unflinchingly into the corrupt affairs of Victorian society on the brink of the century’s turn. The world is poised for social and political change, but England holds tight to its traditions, classes, and prejudices.

When an explosion in London kills two policemen and seriously injures three more, many believe that anarchists are the culprits. But Thomas Pitt, commander of Special Branch, knows the city’s radical groups well enough to suspect otherwise: that someone with decidedly more personal motives lit the deadly fuse. As he investigates the source of the fatal blast, he’s stunned to discover the bombing was a calculated strike against the ranks of law enforcement.

But still more shocking revelations await, as Pitt’s inquiries lead him to a member of Parliament hoping for a lucrative business deal, a high-ranking police officer with secrets to keep, and an aristocratic opium addict seeking murderous revenge. As he pursues each increasingly threatening lead, Pitt finds himself impeded at every turn by the barriers put in place to protect the rich and powerful—barriers which, as they start to crumble, threaten to bury him alive.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published March 22, 2016

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About the author

Anne Perry

338 books3,015 followers
Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is an English author of historical detective fiction, best known for her Thomas Pitt and William Monk series. In 1954, at the age of fifteen, she was convicted of participating in the murder of her friend's mother. She changed her name to "Anne Perry" after serving a five-year sentence.

Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many of them feature a number of recurring characters, most importantly Thomas Pitt, who appeared in her first novel, and amnesiac private investigator William Monk, who first appeared in her 1990 novel The Face of a Stranger.

As of 2003, she had published 47 novels, and several collections of short stories. Her story "Heroes," which first appeared the 1999 anthology Murder and Obsession, edited by Otto Penzler, won the 2001 Edgar Award for Best Short Story. She was included as an entry in Ben Peek's Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, a novel exploring the nature of truth in literature.

Series contributed to:
. Crime Through Time
. Perfectly Criminal
. Malice Domestic
. The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories
. Transgressions
. The Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 279 reviews
Profile Image for Beth.
383 reviews8 followers
March 27, 2016
Another Anne Perry book, another quiet rant from me. I'm hooked on her stories: the historical detail, her wonderful characters, and her excellent plots, even though they are developed in an agonizingly slow manner. But why, oh why must the woman have her main characters carry on dozens of lines of mental deliberation and torture for every single line of actual dialogue? The longest conversations by far in Perry's stories are those that take place between the main character and himself (or herself). I find it maddening and distressing that my favorite characters keep subjecting themselves to second guessing their own theories and suppositions...and then third guessing and fourth guessing and--well, it's endless. Page after page. Really. And yet, I keep reading--right to the conclusion (always satisfying in its resolution) but typically abrupt. Seriously! Often a page or less after the climax...no epilogue, no postmortem, no day-after-the-victory look at how everybody's doing. Just...The End. As though she couldn't write another word. Maybe she could wrap things up and let us luxuriate in the clever denouement by just giving us the THOUGHTS of a main character. That could work.
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,213 reviews551 followers
May 5, 2016
In this long winded #31 Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series, the pace is snail like and 50% filled with second guessing contemplative thoughts of the principles. Much more than it is for events or any plot explaining actions. And Anne Perry has chosen to set this case amidst similar current 2015-16 issues. Police corruption, police brutality, terrorist bombing, and anarchy against governments that are perceived as not working for the people. She draws sharp parallels to opium addiction for a young man's horse accident injury that incurs great pain. Almost exactly like the current cycle for over prescribed oxycontin and percocet addictions leading to further long term heroin habits.

Because Thomas is in Special Branch now, Charlotte doesn't hold the same kind of strong role in the case, IMHO. And some of our other favorite characters do appear but briefly and more socially than pivotal to the progression for fingering the guilty. The guilty for the crime of a bombing which trapped 5 policemen, killing 2 of them. And the other 3 are gravely and life long injured.

The court scenes were not realistic- I doubt any judge in any decade would have let that entire occur. And especially within that era and location. But overall, the tone itself became almost preachy, rigid in the thought patterns and there was little tension in this story line.

It was a 2.5 star and I only rounded it up for some views for some of the favorites from other earlier cases. Gracie and Emily, those two in particular. It could easily have been rounded down for the abrupt ending. This one had much too much of the anxious thoughts of the investigating and not enough cognition for the investigated.

Profile Image for Janet.
282 reviews3 followers
May 19, 2016
This was not Ms. Perry's best effort.. After 30 of these books, I am vested in these characters, and I miss the interplay between Charlotte and Thomas. She has now been reduced to providing tea and food, and an occasional comment to make Thomas feel better.

The progression of the plot was also less than stellar. So much of the dialogue was Pitt's interior musings. Characters who have been intrinsic to other books in the series (Vespacia, Emily, etc) were reduced to cameos. They felt added just so we would remember they exist.

I had to reread the last pages several times before totally understanding how things were resolved. The courtroom scenes, always one of Perry's strengths, did not seem realistic.

I have read all of Perry's series, both this and the William Monk stories, and I realize no one can have a home run every time. Compared to many other authors, she is still at the top of my list. I will continue to read her books as long as she writes them, but this one was a bit of a disappointment.
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books329 followers
February 6, 2017
A bomb blast that caught five police officers and Pitt must team up with Tellman once again in an effort to determine if anarchists or a revenge-minded citizen are responsible. This one had the start and early set up to be a complex mystery and a thought-provoking piece backing a fantastic cast of characters in a long-standing favorite series.

Pitt would rather be investigating a case involving anarchists, but the longer he sifts through the evidence- or in this case- lack of the usual evidence, he is convinced that this is a dark murky act meant to draw the eye to that which was deliberately buried.

There is much at stake and no matter what course he takes in regard to the disturbing evidence, trouble will ensue. The public is clambering for the truth as rising fear of safety from bombings or police corruption are stirred about. Meanwhile, a secret political contract that would change life for the better for many hangs on Pitt's being able to walk a tightrope between early exposure for an influential family and staying his hand until the contract is signed.

Alright. Overall, I enjoyed this latest installment in the series. All my favorites including extra time with Tellman and Gracie, Victor and Vespasia, and Jack and Emily are present. There is a mystery and also a social issue or two brought to light. I found much of the usual complexity to sink my teeth into when it comes to the moral and social side even if the mystery offered little challenge for me.

As the old century draws to a close, those living in the historical period are on the verge of great change. Many face it with hope while others face it with fear. Into this mix is dropped this new case for Pitt to solve. There is the rising class unrest that is shown by the strength of anarchist groups and brutal bombings, but also the fear of corruption in the very group meant to stand between the dark and safety for the citizenry. And on a smaller scale, within this group, there is the tension of pragmaticism, bullying, hard duty, and honor as police officers decide where their ethical line is going to be drawn.

I think the only thing the really bothered me was an ending that left me with questions. The main part of the story was covered and completed, but all the little things brought out throughout the story were left dangling. There was no denouement just an abrupt stop. Voila! The end. Hopefully, the next book can answer some of my remaining curiosity, but I would have rather it happened in this one.

So, overall, I liked it and still love this series to death.
Profile Image for P.D.R. Lindsay.
Author 36 books96 followers
March 18, 2016
How nice to find a new Anne Perry on the library New Books shelves. This is a Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novel and a good one too. Lots to think about and re-read to absorb. Perry's novels are always onion books- layers and layers - that keep giving. Her characters have 3D depth and surprise one just as real friends do. This novel is such a good read I will have to buy a copy.

Anne Perry's research is impeccable. Her presentation of the Victorian world is excellent and the reader is swept into that world and it becomes a satisfactory reality. Her use of language is part of that world and she makes writing such a complex novel appear to be easy.

The plot in 'Treachery At Lancaster Gate' is less political than the previous novel and allows Charlotte and her sister, Emily, Gracie and Aunt Vespasia to feature as Pitt's aids again. The novel starts with a bomb blast which kills or severely injures five policemen. Bombs usually mean anarchists so of course Pitt is involved, but he and his men cannot find any anarchist links. However there begins to be, to Pitt's horror and the great distress of his friend, Inspector Tellman, Gracie's husband, signs that these five policemen were deliberately lured to the house. Unravelling the mystery involves much personal pain and difficulty but as usual there is a highly satisfactory ending.

A great read, one for anyone who likes a well written intelligent book, a must for hist-myst fans and all fans of Anne Perry's excellent writing.
Profile Image for Debbie Maskus.
1,360 reviews14 followers
February 18, 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but felt that the ending happened too quickly. The story contains many interesting information, and then the arrest and trial of the bomber finishes in a few chapters. Anne Perry excels in character presentation, especially in expressing their emotions, fears, and beliefs. The newspaper rants that the police lack honesty and valor, and that the time has come to end their rule. The book begins with a bombing in which 3 policemen die, and 2 suffer serious injury. Thomas Pitt, the commander of the Special Branch, rushes to find the bomber. Is the bomber a disgruntled foreigner? An anarchist? The year is 1899, and the average reader would find difficulty in seeing the same problems as today. Perry presents a world similar to now.
Profile Image for Rachel.
18 reviews
August 31, 2016
Longtime reader of Perry's novels. Knowing these characters from the beginning, I'd rank this as a "decent" Pitt entry. Definitely not in the top tier but not one of the worst. Thomas Pitt is one of my favorite detectives--hey, I'd marry him in a second if Charlotte hadn't beaten me to it. With that said, I found the plot thin, and as others have said, the trial quick. The book ends on a bit of a shoulder shrug. The bulk of the novel consists of Thomas creeping his away around the truth and potential fallout. Tellman is the second most prominent character in this novel, and I'm going to be honest, the lantern-jawed policeman has never been one of my favorite Perry characters, but at least we learn a little more (barely) about his upbringing and why he is the way he is. Although there's a bit of Emily and Jack (why do I find him annoying as well?) in this, all other recurring characters seem to be flitting ghosts. They show up for a slice of toast and to rattle the coals and that's about it. Did poor Minnie Maude even get a line of dialogue?!

I will say again that I'm so saddened that we never saw more of Eoin McCarthy and Keeley Hawes as the Pitts. One film--that's all we have to go on. I'm truly surprised that the BBC, ITV, or Masterpiece has not filmed more of the Pitts or the Monks. Either would've made for a good string of episodes.
Profile Image for Tom.
458 reviews13 followers
April 20, 2016
Sorry but - while I normally enjoy a visit with the Pitts - this tale doesn't plod, it trudges. Too mired in endless preaching and repetitions, this story is more turgid then the Thames in those days. Skip this almost painful echo of the Pitt's earlier tales and go find one of those earlier incarnations. Both Pitts and the Victorian Era itself deserve much better! Yawn.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,610 followers
May 29, 2020
Wild to start an audiobook about police corruption at the same time as there is an outbreak of police brutality in the US that ends in rioting. Screw you, 2020, and the Corona-ridden horse you rode in on. The good news is, this is a novel, and as with all the Pitt novels, there is some justice done. It was comforting to know (once I realized what this one was about) that Pitt would get his man. True, there's already several people dead, and you don't get to see the sentencing at the end, but the moral victory is there, and that's important.

PS- Dear Jack Radley, I want to like you. Stop being an ass.
Profile Image for Tgordon.
1,031 reviews8 followers
July 2, 2020
So I was going with a 3 as this book was hard for me to start as I tried several times! However, the crazy twist at the end brings me back in! One of my favorite series and I absolutely live the London pomp of yesteryear!
Profile Image for Fredrick Danysh.
6,844 reviews156 followers
January 4, 2018
In nineteenth century London when an explosion destroys a house, five policemen are killed are maimed. Thomas Pitt with the Special Branch investigates to see if the act was committed by anarchist or was an act of revenge against the officers involved. He will be led into the shady side of the opium trade as he seeks the truth.
Profile Image for Andie.
812 reviews8 followers
August 6, 2016
8/5/16 Treachery at Lancaster Gate, Anne Perry, 2016
After two disappointing reads, the latest book in Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, Treachery at Lancaster Gate shows that Ms. Perry is back in form with an entertaining read. All of our favorites, Charlotte, her sister Emily, Aunt Vespasia and even the ex-maid, Gracie are in the thick of it in this book, helping Pitt solve who bombed a house in Lancaster Gate in London that killed three and severely wounded two other policemen.
Pitt is called into the case because, of course, everyone suspects that an anarchist group is responsible. However, it soon becomes apparent that the culprit(s) are something else altogether, and what Pitt is actually dealing with is a wicked stew of drug addiction and police corruption.
I would have given this book 4 stars if not for the irritating dues ex machina ending that Ms. Perry uses all to often. Still, this was a fun and absorbing summer vacation read.
119 reviews
August 29, 2016
3 1/2 stars. The latest in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. I was struck by the similarity of the conflicts portrayed in the book in turn of the century England and the ones we experience today. The themes of poverty, injustice, possibilities of police corruption, attacks on the police, violence, terrorism, trade deals with China, the question as to whether foreigners with differing political and religious views should be allowed to immigrate to the country.......any of these could be written about today. Although the book was interesting I was a little disappointed in the ending, thus the 3 1/2 stars
Profile Image for Lisa.
Author 1 book29 followers
June 27, 2016
This has one of the better plots of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, until you get to the end, when everything is suddenly wrapped up without the careful explanation that Perry usually provides--she just solves all the puzzles without sufficient foreshadowing or support. I felt cheated. Maybe this series needs to come to a close--although I see the next entry is already scheduled for publication. Well, they can't all be outstanding, but this one is a dud.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,812 reviews31 followers
January 25, 2022
3.5 stars. I can't believe I am almost at the end of the series. I enjoy these characters and like it when it is more of a real case than political intrigue which this was. The ending was great and there was more coming out than I even expected.
Profile Image for Janellyn51.
745 reviews19 followers
June 12, 2017
I'm always happy to hang out with Thomas and Charlotte. At first I thought it was a little pokey, not a lot of Charlotte, the kids are growing up, they didn't figure into it very much. It was good to drop in on Gracie and Tellman, although it wouldn't hurt old lantern jaw to lighten up just the tiniest Bit! The book was timely what with it being about a bombing.....also, with all the opioid deaths, and prevalence of addiction, it was interesting, I wonder how many people understand that not everyone is addicted through choice, and also, what an age old problem it is. That said, I'd like to kick every kid's ass that thinks they can do it now and then and not wind up a junky, thief, and probably dead. Anyway, It was a little pokey and repetitive, but ended with a bang.....way to go Thomas and Victor Narraway really pulled a rabbit out of his hat.
Profile Image for Martina Sartor.
1,057 reviews24 followers
November 17, 2021
Come sempre, la Perry indaga a fondo tra le maglie della morale vittoriana. E Pitt fa giustizia ancora una volta, pur fra timori e dubbi. Non manca nemmeno il colpo di scena dell'ultima pagina.
Per me, Anne Perry è sempre una garanzia.
Profile Image for Irene.
192 reviews
December 31, 2021
I am really enjoying the Pitt mysteries. Good mysteries with a view into the Victorian world.
Profile Image for Beth.
881 reviews16 followers
August 28, 2017
Another good murder mystery in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series. I really enjoy the small details of the Pitts' lives as well as the supporting characters as the mystery unfolds.
Profile Image for Alasandra Alawine.
945 reviews14 followers
January 22, 2018
It was nice to have Tellman and Gracie play a central role in this book, I have missed their characters.

When 2 policemen are killed outright and 3 are grievously injured in a bombing Special Branch is brought in as the bombing is blamed on anarchist. Tellman is the police liaison with Pitt. The reunion of the two friends doesn't go smoothly though as Tellman is outraged when Pitt suggest that the bombing was aimed specifically at the five policemen due to some misdoing on their part. But Tellman's innate honesty soon has him investigating the policemen in question and to his dismay he discovers that they were indeed guilty of wrong doing.

Meanwhile Pitt is forced into arresting the young man responsible for the bombing. Alexander Duncannon is a young man with a powerful Father. A riding accident has left him in unbearable and unending pain with no chance of the injury ever healing. Sadly he became hooked on opium and formed a friendship with Dylan Lezant another young man addicted to opium. One night when they were out buying opium the police were there an innocent bystander was killed and the police swore that Lezant shot him. Lezant was convicted and hung on the testimony of the five police officers who swore that Lezant shot the bystander and that Alexander wasn't there. Alexander tried to get someone to listen to him, but no one would take him seriously. Realizing that he is dying from his injuries and the opium Alexander decided the bombing was the only way to get justice for his friend and expose the police corruption.

Meanwhile the corrupt policemen corner Tellman in an ally and attempt to kill him. Thanks to Stoker's network of spies, Stoker, Pitt and Jack Radley arrive in time to save him.

Abercorn (who hates Godfrey Duncannon and has political ambitions) is the prosecutor in Alexander's case Narraway undertakes Alexander's defense against his Father;s (Godfrey) wishes. Narraway is determined to help Alexander get the justice he risked everything for. But it is Pitt who reveals that Abercorn was the drug dealer who kept giving Alexander more and stronger doses of opium and that Abercorn as Godfrey's bastard son was determined to destroy Alexander and set the terrible events in motion.
Profile Image for Oswego Public Library District.
868 reviews50 followers
September 19, 2016
As Head of Special Branch of Security, Commander Thomas Pitt is in charge of keeping Britain safe from spies, traitors, and revolutionaries. Pitt is investigating a London bombing that has killed two policemen. Three officers are seriously wounded and he soon discovers that the policemen are the targets. He must solve the crime, with the help of his clever wife, Charlotte.

The Pitts are an unforgettable husband and wife team. Thomas has a working class background; Charlotte comes from an upper class family. Charlotte provides access to her female society relatives, who consistently empower Pitt in his efforts to solve a case.

The period detail of Perry’s Victorian England at the end of the century is fascinating and engaging. Perry even suggests that some social inequalities and fears that were present then still exist now, despite the passage of time. Historical mystery fiction at its very best!-mm

Click here to place a hold on Treachery at Lancaster Gate .

Another British detective mystery is A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George.
Profile Image for ShanDizzy .
1,007 reviews
October 29, 2019
What on Earth had happened here in a quiet house on a pleasant London Street near Kensington Gardens? Anarchists? London was full of them. Pitt asked Tellman "Why were these men here? Five of them at this quiet house right on the park? It can't have been an inquiry. You don't need five men for that. There's no one else dead or hurt, so the house must have been empty. What were they doing?

Pitt looked at Tellman's tired, unhappy face and knew that he was still deeply shocked by the violence of the bombing. Of course policemen were killed in the line of duty every now and then, and there were traffic accidents, even trainwrecks where the casualties were appalling. Buildings burned, bridges collapsed, sometimes floods caused terrible damage. But this was deliberate, created by human imagination and intent, and directed specifically at police, men that Tellman knew.

And so begins this intriguing mystery to discover who and why someone bombed a house seriously injuring 3 people and killing 2 police officers. Was it anarchists or something more personal driven by selfish human greed?
Profile Image for Shirley Schwartz.
1,094 reviews61 followers
April 4, 2016
Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Anne Perry and both of her mystery series set in Victorian England. This is the 31 book in this particular series, and it's totally amazing how she manages to bring a new, interesting and exciting mystery with each new book. In this book Thomas and his former constable Telford are dealing with what at first appears to be a bomb set by anarchists that killed three and badly injured two policemen. As Telford and Pitt investigate, they find a mystery that ties back to a two-year old murder case that had apparently been solved and the perpetrator has been executed. As they dig deeper, they find something much more sinister and deadly and it becomes apparent that there is major police corruption behind the incident. Ms. Perry has exposed the dark underbelly of the Victorian aristocratic class again. And she does it so cleverly and so believably that it's just like reading about one of our modern problems - only with gaslights and horses and carriages. Again, I reiterate, she is by far my favourite author, and has been for many years.
Profile Image for Mary.
789 reviews10 followers
February 9, 2017
This is like reading about old friends, I love her Pitt and Monk books. Anne is the master of character building, you immediately "see" the character in your minds eye and want to know/hear more about him/her. In this case, Monk is back working with his old partner from Police days, and they find evidence that they would rather not be there. Very good read.
Profile Image for Diane Waldo.
67 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2016
This is another interesting entry in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery series. It brings back Pitt's old sergeant, Samuel Tellman, and his wife Gracie, which is nice, and also gives a larger role to Jack Radley. Pitt and Tellman have to work together to determine who was behind an explosion that killed three policemen and seriously wounded two others. The investigation points to the son of a man who is central to a delicate contract negotiation with China. While Jack Radley urges Pitt to postpone acting on the results of his inquiries until after the contract is signed, another explosion forces him to make an arrest. The case is resolved satisfactorily, while also revealing a hitherto-unknown talent of Victor Narraway.
Profile Image for Bertha.
246 reviews14 followers
March 4, 2016
Political betrayal and life-threatening secrets are set against the richly evoked streets and parlors of Victorian London.
This is the thirty-first installment of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series.
Once again the author has written an engrossing mystery that keeps you interested from beginning to end.
65 reviews2 followers
July 25, 2016
It was a good read. A story taking place in Eng. ,late 1900's . It all starts with an explosion which killed three police officers and badly wounded two others. At first it is thought that anarchists are responsible but during the course of the investigation police corruption is uncovered, corruption which has even sent an innocent man to the gallows.
Profile Image for Michell Karnes.
534 reviews4 followers
August 10, 2016
Anne Perry has written another great novel. Charlotte and Thomas feel like friends and these friends have solved another great mystery. I like the new role Perry has given Narraway and I look forward to seeing what is next for Jack and Emily.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 279 reviews

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