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The Whitechapel Conspiracy

Perry, Anne

ISBN 10: 0345433289 / ISBN 13: 9780345433282
Published by New York: Ballantine, 2001
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Signed by the author on the title page, not on a tipped-in sheet or bookplate. No inscriptions, personalizations, or remainder marks. Bookseller Inventory # 131-60

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Whitechapel Conspiracy

Publisher: New York: Ballantine

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition, First Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

For readers everywhere, the arrival of a new novel featuring Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, is cause for rejoicing–an occasion to bask once again in the matchless panorama of life in Victorian England, where gaslight gleams on cobblestones and silver spoons clink gently on fine china; where honor and shame keep close company; where the end is sometimes used to justify the most murderous means. The Whitechapel Conspiracy is the series masterpiece, based on real events that shock us today as much as they chilled Londoners more than a century ago.

It is spring, 1892. Queen Victoria persists in her life of self-absorbed seclusion. The Prince of Wales outrages decent people with his mistresses and profligate ways. The grisly killings of Whitechapel prostitutes by a man dubbed Jack the Ripper remain a frightening enigma. And in a packed Old Bailey courtroom, distinguished soldier John Adinett is sentenced to hang for the inexplicable murder of his friend, Martin Fetters.

Though Thomas Pitt should receive praise for providing key testimony in the Fetters investigation, Adinett’s powerful friends of the secretive Inner Circle make sure he is vilified instead. Thus Pitt is suddenly relieved of his Bow Street command and reassigned to the clandestine Special Branch in the dangerous East End. There he must investigate alleged anarchist plots, working undercover and living, far from his family, in Whitechapel, one of the area’s worst slums. His allies are few–among them clever Charlotte and intrepid Gracie, the maid who knows the neighborhood and can maneuver it without raising eyebrows. But neither of them anticipates the horrors soon to be revealed.

The Whitechapel Conspiracy resonates from the degraded depths of the East End to the seats of the mighty. Anne Perry weaves history into a rich and seamless tapestry of suspense.

Review:

After a less-than-impressive outing with the more-turgid-than-tense Half Moon Street, Anne Perry is back on familiar--and entertaining-- turf with The Whitechapel Conspiracy. As if apologizing for their last efforts, the whole Victorian crew seems thankfully less concerned with respecting social mores than with ratcheting up the pressure in a nicely paced political-conspiracy potboiler.

For Inspector Thomas Pitt, doing one's job can have unpleasant consequences. When his testimony sends distinguished soldier John Adinett to the gallows for the murder of Martin Fetters, traveler and antiquarian, Adinett's friends (members of the Inner Circle, "those men who had secret loyalties which superseded every other honor or pledge") ensure that Pitt loses his command of the Bow Street station. He is forced to leave his family and take up an undercover existence in the slum district of Spitalfields, chasing anarchists (though he feels he might as well be chasing his own tail). But when his wife, Charlotte, their maid, Gracie, and her would-be suitor, Sergeant Tellman, apply themselves to the task of restoring Pitt's good name, they uncover an anarchist's conspiracy that dwarfs even Guy Fawkes's Gunpowder Plot. The secrets and lies of respected men lurking in the halls of power, who will stop at nothing short of abolishing the monarchy, form the backdrop for the trio's frantic investigations. To top everything off, Perry throws in a marvelously effective subplot--but to divulge how Jack the Ripper figures into the narrative would be to spoil a highly entertaining read.

The novel has its flaws; Charlotte's great-aunt Vespasia seems less the dynamic character she has been throughout the series than a mouthpiece of mourning for the waves of change. Yes, the reader is tempted to say, the potential downfall of the British monarchy would no doubt be painful and unspeakably unsettling for those who respect Victoria and her forebears--but must one natter endlessly on about it? Better to let the whole shebang go gracefully into that good night. No fears for contemporary Victorian-philes, though; with Thomas and Charlotte around, who could doubt that the monarchy will live to fight another day? --Kelly Flynn

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J. Jay Johnson is a collector and dealer specializing in signed first editions, with a focus on genre fiction: mysteries, science fiction, fantasy. Want lists are welcomed.

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