Nancy McKibben's Reviews > Midnight at Marble Arch

Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry
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bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery, reviewed
Recommended for: readers who like thoughtful Victorian murder mysteries

Midnight at Marble Arch
By Anne Perry

I have read many of Anne Perry’s novels, which are mostly detective novels set in Victorian England (there is another series whose setting is World War I), and I particularly like the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt stories, of which this is one.

Midnight at Marble Arch focuses on the crime of rape - not only a particular rape, which Special Branch head Thomas Pitt and his colleagues must solve (always with the help of wife Charlotte), but on the attitude of society toward rape in that time period. This sort of double focus is a feature of Perry’s novels, and the many philosophical discussions about various sorts of crimes are probably one of the reasons for their popularity.

I had not read far into the book when I happened to see an article elsewhere that revealed Anne Perry to be a convicted murderer. While living in New Zealand with her family, Perry and her friend murdered the friend’s mother when they were 15 years old, was jailed for five years, then released. Perry and her mother moved to England, where she changed her name and later became a successful crime novelist.

This is no secret - Perry even spoke about the murder a few years ago on a British TV program - but one can hardly expect her publishers to focus on this aspect of her history, so I would guess that most readers are unaware of her past.

In terms of her writing, her crime is moot - she is simply a good writer - but in terms of content, it’s clear that Perry has spent the rest of her life wrestling with questions of morality. I happily read her books for years without knowing about her background, but they seem more comprehensible now that I do know, so I pass that knowledge on to other readers.

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Reading Progress

November 17, 2013 – Started Reading
November 17, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 18, 2013 – Shelved
November 18, 2013 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
November 18, 2013 – Shelved as: mystery
November 18, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed

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