“The mark of a good mystery story is the "one more thing" that carries you all the way to the last page. OK, maybe you figured out some things, or had a suspicion about the person who ended up being the guilty party, or noticed that something was a clue even if you didn't know what it meant. ...”see full review » see other reviews »
“A lady of the night is found brutally murdered in a closet at Buckingham Palace. A number of gentlemen, including the Prince of Wales, are suspects. This is yet another entertaining historical fiction/mystery by Anne Perry. She never fails to deliver.”2manyhobbies wrote this review Thursday, July 11, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This may be the best of the Thomas Pitt mysteries. Set during the time of Queen Victoria and taking place in the palace, Pitt must discover the murderer discretely and in record time. Instead of his wife Charlotte as his helper, he enlists the aid of Gracie, the family maid. It isn't until the very end that Pitt is able to solve the mystery. As always, well-drawn characters and setting.”mlauerba wrote this review Saturday, February 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Perry always produces a fascinating look at English history and mores with her numerous novels, and this one is no exception. She provides the usual psychological insights and social commentary. The Pitt series remains thoughtful and entertaining with this latest edition.”Sarah (Bebe) Brechner wrote this review Sunday, January 27, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Complicated story set in buckingham palace involving a plot and counterplot to build a railroad across Africa north to south, Thomas Pitt is aided only by grace as an undercover maid, fun read”Rita B wrote this review Sunday, December 2, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great mystery surrounding the possible building of a British railroad line from Capetown to Cairo and several brutal deaths that may be related. Inspector Pitt and his maid are brought to the castle to try and solve the mystery.”Elizabeth Owens wrote this review Sunday, October 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Buckingham Palace Gardens is the 25th book of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series by Anne Perry, set in Victorian England. Charlotte does not play a role in this book, only Thomas Pitt and surprisingly, their housemaid Gracie.
Thomas Pitt, now working for Special Branch to investigate crimes against the State, is summoned to solve a crime that shocks his values: the murder of a prostitute inside Buckingham Palace.
The Prince of Wales was hosting a house party to plan a grand scheme: building a railroad down the spine of Africa. He invited 4 couples: Cahoon and Elsa Dunkeld, Julius and Minnie Sorokine, Simnel and Olga Marquand, Hamilton and Liliane Quase. After dinner the women retired to their rooms while prostitutes were brought in to entertain the men.
Dunkeld is a large, arrogant, short-tempered and violent man who cares most for appearances. He hopes to achieve high-society status with this railroad venture. He does not love his wife; his eyes rove constantly and he uses women casually. He only loves his daughter Minnie, from his first wife. Elsa and Minnie do not get along at all, and Dunkeld therefore holds Elsa in contempt. Elsa fears his violent temper; he beats her when angry. Elsa's heart belongs to Julius, although she loves from afar. She feels that Julius is all the good kind things a life partner should be (and Dunkeld isn't).
Minnie feels only contempt for her husband Julius. She flaunts herself and openly flirts with men; her affair with Simnel Marquand is no secret. Simnel's wife Olga is cold and distant, obviously distraught by her husband's rejection.
Hamilton Quase has a serious drinking problem. His wife Liliane constantly tries to limit his drinking, afraid he will reveal a dangerous secret from the past in Africa.
To investigate this murder, Thomas Pitt can only interview the servants and guests. He is not allowed free run through the palace to look for evidence. Pitt recruits his own house maid Gracie to help, by pretending to be a servant at Buckingham Palace. She has access to many more areas and overhears candid conversations. Of course a maid Gracie has to work closely with resents her, and tries to get Gracie fired. The butler Tyndale knows of the secret assignment, and intervenes when he can.
Late into the story, the Princess of Wales does her part and helps with clues. She is deaf, and so largely ignored by most. She is however quite perceptive, and provides vital information. She alone of the palace supports truth and justice.
The story is similar to a locked room puzzle. Buckingham Palace is guarded, all who enter and exit are known...or are they? Pitt investigates a mysterious large heavy box delivered to Dunkeld in the wee hours by an unknown carter.
When a second murder occurs, and one person seems to be the obvious killer, Pitt races against time to make certain of the evidence. Even after Pitt identifies the killer, he continues investigating all unexplained facets of the case, up to the final plot twist.
I highly recommend the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series to readers who enjoy a historical setting rich with period detail and attitude. The characters evolve over time, so the series is best read in order. First book of the series is The Cater Street Hangman. Next book after Buckingham Palace Gardens is Treason at Lisson Grove.
“Anne Perry did a good job on this mystery. There is a pretty convoluted tale to tell, and the addition of the elan of Buckingham Palace adds intrigue. I find written-out Cockney accents distracting, but there wasn't much of that.
The main sleuth is likeable and the red herrings are plentiful. It kept me interested. I plan to read more by Anne Perry.”
“The mark of a good mystery story is the "one more thing" that carries you all the way to the last page. OK, maybe you figured out some things, or had a suspicion about the person who ended up being the guilty party, or noticed that something was a clue even if you didn't know what it meant.
Anne Perry's detectives don't simply discover who dunnit. They tie up loose ends, and in doing so explain why the whole thing was so darn confusing all the way through. I like that. Even better when they leave me saying "I should have seen that," rather than "not fair!"
There is an unwritten pact between mystery writer and reader that the clues must be there, even if they are so obscured you can only see how they fit together after the detective explains. It's an art, and the best mystery writers respect their readers and play fair. Anne Perry plays fair.”
“Buckingham Palace Gardens is a straight mystery, meaning it engages the mind more than the adrenaline glands as a mystery/thriller or mystery/suspense would. I haven't read a mystery in years and am embarrassed to admit I'm out of practice. I jumped around from character to character in my thoughts of who slashed a prostitute to death inside the royal palace. Because I'm out of practice, I can't quite pinpoint what it is about this novel that failed to satisfy me. It could be nothing more than I'm not British and couldn't pick up on the clues presented in the very proper dialogue, or it could be that the men involved in the crime were arrested based entirely on conjecture. If I were the prosecutor in the case, I'd be stuck with speculation, because I'd be seriously short of witnesses and physical evidence. A shattered this, a monogrammed that, a mysterious character impossible to identify--add these to potential witnesses who are reluctant or not credible, and I'd have a flimsy case indeed.
Oh well. As the old legal maxim goes: If you can't pound the facts, pound the podium.
Because this was one of the books used to illustrate character in Donald Maass's *The Fire in Fiction*, it was one of the books added to my "to read" list--as are all the books in his how-to. Perry's mystery novel is found in Maass's section in the first chapter called, "Cutting Heroes Down to Size." I can't agree with him that Perry cut her hero, Thomas Pitt, down to size, but instead elevated him above many of the other characters occupying a higher social status in British society. She gave him a moral superiority which I appreciated because he wasn't arrogant. He had his standards and refused to be swayed from them, even if the results put his life or his family's in peril.
Perry's characters in general were fascinating. She did an incredible job of illustrating the societal pecking order in Britain and the parallels from one caste to another. From the simple prostitute to the Prince and Princess of Wales, everyone is represented either through the characters themselves or through their attitudes toward other members of society. For this alone, the book is worth reading and, for writers wanting to improve the craft, studying.
“Inspector Pitt must solve a murder that occurs in Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria is going to return to the palace any day and Inspector Pitt must solve the mystery of the murder of a prostitute found naked in the linen closet. It's a good story but it drags in the middle.”Carolyn B wrote this review Saturday, December 31, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No