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Half Moon Street (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #20)
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Half Moon Street

(Charlotte & Thomas Pitt #20)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,033 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Superintendent Thomas Pitt searches for the identity of a man found dead in the Thames, leading him deep into Victorian London's bohemia to the theater where Cecily Antrim outrages society with her portrayal of a modern woman -- and into studios where masters of light and shadow are experimenting with the fascinating new art of photography.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 2nd 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published March 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,033 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wa sreally suprised by this book because what seemed to be an ordinary criminal history set in the 19th century turned out to be an overwhelmingly written story about Victorian moral ideas and how they change and influence people.
The underlying story about pornography, murder and photography accompanied it very well, but really this book is not worth reading for the mystery but for its really fine descriptions of the tension that moral ideas and their real "counterparts" create in all of us.
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Debbie by: Unfortunately myself lol
Done. Done. Complete. Finished. Fini. Fin. Adios. Au Revoir. Auf Wiedersehen Adios. Ba-Bye. Toodles. Going. Going. Gone!!

Omg I couldn't wait to finish this thing! Let me be completely frank here.. this is a prime example of extreme wordiness getting in the way of what could have possibly been a good story. But alas, it was not. It niggled me to no end. I waded through this. I couldn't wait to finish. I ended up skimming and skipping through to the finished line but had actually given up the race a long time ago.

The bo
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed Perry's Victorian period mysteries and they usually get a 3 or 4 rating. This one gets an extra rating for all the subplots going on as the mystery unfolds. Early photography as an artistic endeavor then as a way to sell pornography, theatre to show the new ideas developing about women and their position in society and in their own families, censorship versus the sharing of forbiddentopics to the harm that can come from unrestricted expression. A wonderful way to get into t ...more
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
:( After Bedford Square I was hoping that the Pitt series was back on track. The mystery part of the book would have made a wonderful novella. Unfortunately more than half of the book was about Charlotte's mother and grandmother and Perry was not able to weave the development of those characters into the mystery as she did with Dominic Corde's character in Brunswick Gardens. I felt it was any unnecessary plot line and if I hear the phrase "the old lady" one more time I am going to scream!!!!
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The murder mystery was incidental in this, I think the author just wanted to be able to express her thoughts on pornography. This was the most preachy yet of the series.
I came close to putting this away without reading-when it was known that Charlotte, Emily, AND Gracie would not be part of this story. I'm so glad I read on-and got to know Charlotte's mother and grandmother in quite a shocking disclosure from the past. Also, the coming together as almost partners of Pitt and Tellman. It would not be as meaningful if you haven't experienced the first 19 books.

"For Superintendent Thomas Pitt, the sight of the dead man riding the morning tide of the Th
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it

Using Hamlet as a framework, Perry builds a complex story of family conflict, betrayal, and avenge. She has constructed a set of characters that allow her to present opinions and actions of persons across social class. Unlike most persons of that time and much to the horror of family members, her characters marry across class lines. In this book, the socially rigid grandmother lives with her disfavored daughter-in-law who after the death of her first husband has married a Jewish actor. Grandmama
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I am a pretty hard book critic. I give very few 5 star ratings and only a few 4's. Most of mine are in the 3 star category and this is one included in that rating. Most people who have read it gave it a 4. I won't go into detail because there are twists and turns in this story that would be spoilers if I told them. Anne Perry is a good writer. This is the first of her books that I have read. I must admit that I am a prude and in some ways this book shocked me. It wasn't crude for crude's sake, b ...more
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This author was highlighted at the library, and I picked this one up, thinking to find a light fun mystery set in Victorian England, maybe reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. And it was a good mystery, but it contained a large part of the book that was deeper, looking into censorship, pushing boundaries, and in the harm that can be done when rebelling against traditional views is done without thought of consequences or repercussions. A pleasant surprise. I might read more from this author.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to this as an audio book and I liked the narrator but I probably would not have finished if I would have read it. The story didn't fully unfold and the Caroline subplot never went anywhere. What happened with her at the end? We will never know. The constant analyzing of each character's reading of eye movements, glimmers and widening or narrowing, seemed a stretch. Just a boring story.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is the first Anne Perry book that I didn't really enjoy. I didn't like the subject matter.
The storyline has everything, including the appearance of a certain well known author. who it is, you'll just have to read the novel
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
I love Anne Perry's novels, all of them, for the vitality and complexity of her characters and her keen depiction of 19th century England. If only there were more than the great stack I've read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read Anne Perry maybe fifteen or twenty years ago...the first several each of her William Monk and Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books, and then I stopped, although I’d enjoyed them. It occurred to me I might try one again and at this much later date I decided to just plunge into the middle of either series...the chances of finding the older ones and being able to read them in order seeming slim. So I checked out two on CD. Since both were from the C &T Pitt ser ...more
Wendy S. Delmater
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every single one of Anne Perry's Thomas Pitt series books deals with a particular societal ill, and if I told you which one this dealt with I would be giving the ending away.

The novel starts with Pitt and his sergeant investigating a dead body found washed up in a small boat on the shore of the Thames. The man in the flower-strewn boat is manacled is to its sides--by all four limbs--and dressed in a torn velvet dress as if he were Ophelia, an Ophelia who was a rape an bondage victim. The back o
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first 5 star for a Pitt book. The mystery was almost beside the point because the characters were particularly acute. Charlotte was present in letters only. And no Gracie at all. However Caroline and Grandma Ellison were at the heart of this book with a heartbreaking story. In addition. The discussions of art and theatre and photography were very interesting, not to mention throwing in Wilde and Yeats as characters. Quotes from Ibsen, scenes from Hamlet, a discussion of Toulouse Latrec and th ...more
The Library Lady
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-mysteries
Anne Perry's Thomas Pitt books are uniformly excellent. But this is an especially interesting one, with Charlotte, Emily and even Gracie offstage, so to speak, and I put it that way because a good deal of the story centers around the theater. Instead, the women here are Caroline, and Mariah Ellison, her vastly unlovable mother-in-law. But a revealed tragedy of the past changes both Caroline's and we the readers the reader's understanding of Mariah, and Caroline herself shows wonderful depths pre ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first Anne Perry book I've read. It makes some excellent arguments that are pertinent today, though it is set in the final decade of the (long) nineteenth century. I bought this at a library sale, and it took me a long time to read it, because I was half afraid it would turn out to be lurid. I was wrong. It is careful and considerate, given the nature of behaviors observed and detected. I know who Anne Perry is, and that, too colored my receptivity to a work of her imagination. I now find my ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another solid entry in the Thomas and Charlotte chronicles, this time when Thomas has to determine the identity, solve the murder, find the porn, and console the wounded, all without the help of Charlotte who is sending long letters from France, missing him but loving the adventure. (There's one silly bit when Perry actually elides part of Charlotte's letter describing the local dresses because she clearly doesn't want to waste her time -- and ours -- in a digression of Victorian-era French fash ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bit of a different format. Not sure if i like it. Wasn't too much mystery. Getting kind of preachy.

Superintendent Thomas Pitt searches for the identity of a man found dead in the Thames, leading him deep into Victorian London's bohemia to the theater where Cecily Antrim outrages society with her portrayal of a modern woman -- and into studios where masters of light and shadow are experimenting with the fascinating new art of photography.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Half Moon Street, #20 in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series, was a good read. Charlotte was away in Paris and the children at the beach with the nanny, so it was up to Pitt and his detective to solve the murder of a man found dressed as a woman in a boat on the Thames. The plot was a little thin but Perry plumped it up with lots of enjoyable descriptions of art and theater of the period.
Laura Mitchell
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting depiction of the early days of photography, but even more intriguing is the issue of censorship that is central to the book, and how the various characters treat the topic. Another (related) theme that is explored has to do with how and/or when certain things are shared - hopes and dreams, but also intense feelings of loss, betrayal, or pain. Certain characters have a significant revelation in a sub-plot but I found that almost as gripping as the main story.
Ann Aldrich
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The usually complex Anne Perry mystery, with three divergent plot lines -- pornography, the arts, and censorship -- which eventually come together in the final page. The mid section becomes so plodding and dull that I would have stopped reading except for my confidence in the mastery of Anne Perry. Once again, she did not disappoint.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast read. With Charlotte and Emily in Paris, we get a peek into the world of their mother, Caroline, and her mother-in-law, their bitter old grandmother. And we get to know Tellman, Pitt's henchman. Plenty of moralizing. Gotta hate that Victorian double standard. Ummm... those class and gender.
I really enjoy these Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries.

This one is a bit different because Charlotte is on vacation in France, with her sister, and appears only in letters home she writes to Thomas.

This book focuses on 3 mysteries: the disappearance of a French diplomat; the sudden appearance of an unknown, long-lost relative; and a murder involving a well-known London society photographer. These 3 events are all intertwined with a family secret and the London theater scene.
Maurita Kling
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This one wasn't my favorite, as a good half of it was ' leadup' & not very interesting. Too much philosophy, not enough action either of the main characters or part of the plot. The second half got better, & as always W/o The Me Perry's books of this series, the ending was very good. Guess I Will read more of this series, after all....
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Piercing and deep...

This novel touches the heart of how human choices and emotions can yield destructive behaviors. Especially, there is focus on those that are barricaded within for years that yield anger and hatred which can poison one's life as well as generations touching that life.
Susan K.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a departure from Ms Perry's usual style in that there was very little of Thomas Pitt or Charlotte. With the emphasis being on women's rights and societal issues, it belaboured the point. Book was well written and certainly drew one in to the social norms of the time in London.
Mary Ellen
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of her best books.
A.J. Wright
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perry’s books are always enjoyable if you like detection in Victorian London!
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Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is a British historical novelist.

Juliet took the name "Anne Perry," the latter being her stepfather's surname. 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 recu

Other books in the series

Charlotte & Thomas Pitt (1 - 10 of 32 books)
  • The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1)
  • Callander Square (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #2)
  • Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #3)
  • Resurrection Row  (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #4)
  • Rutland Place (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #5)
  • Bluegate Fields (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #6)
  • Death in the Devil's Acre (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #7)
  • Cardington Crescent (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #8)
  • Silence in Hanover Close (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #9)
  • Bethlehem Road (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #10)
“He was perfectly capable of looking after himself, although after his marriage he had lost the knack for it. He missed the comfort of all the small things Charlotte did for him,but these were nothing compared to the loneliness. There was no one to talk to, with whom to share his feelings, to laugh, or to simply speak of the day.

And he missed the sound of the children's voices, giggling, their running footsteps, their incessant questions and demands for his attention or approval. No one interrupted to say "Look at me, Papa" or "What is this for?" or "What does this mean?" or the favorite "Why?" Peace was not peace anymore, it was simply silence.”
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