Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review: The Angel Court Affair by Anne Perry

The Angel Court Affair (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, Book #30)
by Anne Perry
Release Date: March 31st, 2015
2015 Ballantine Books
Hardcover Edition; 288 Pages
ISBN: 978-0553391350
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

2.5/ 5 Stars

When Commander Thomas Pitt is ordered to protect a young woman visiting London from Spain, he cannot see why this is a job for Special Branch. When she disappears in the dead of night from Angel Court, however, he is faced with a dangerous mystery. Sofia preached new, and some say blasphemous, religious ideals, and her life had been threatened. But Pitt senses there is some deeper and more dangerous reason for her kidnap - if that is what it is. Three men are caught up in the hunt for Sofia - her cousin, a banker for the Church of England, a popular and charismatic politician, and a journalist who seems determined to goad Pitt to the truth. Each seem to be hiding something, and as the search for answers stretches from London to Spain, Pitt knows that time is running out, and the nation's security could be at stake...Angel Court is the thirtieth superb mystery featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt from the master of Victorian crime.

My Thoughts
The Angel Court Affair is the thirtieth entry into the Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series, and while I enjoyed the discourse about faith and its place in our lives, I wasn't as crazy about the mystery or the plot in this one.  One of things I have always admired about Ms. Perry's work is her ability to showcase the real goings-on underneath the polish and glamour that exists in posh London.  There was no attempt to hide away from, or shy away from, some of the difficult subjects, nor to show exactly how the people of London lived, especially in some of the more undesirable areas of London. I just felt like this book was lacking in that 'something' that usually defines an Anne Perry novel.

Pitt, now head of Special Branch, takes on the role of protecting a woman visiting from Spain, a woman who creates a lot of controversy wherever she goes as she preaches a more dangerous form of belief that the people are used to, or are comfortable with, hearing.  Throughout the novel I kept waiting to hear what these blasphemous and radical ideas were, but I really saw no indication of anything that was really rather different or dangerous and couldn't really fathom why Special Branch was involved, considering the other events happening in the world at that time.  While I get that she is an Englishwoman, married to a Spaniard, I really heard nothing else that would make me raise my eyebrows and think 'treason', or anything else for that matter; at least nothing that appeared in this book.  And I didn't really buy into it.

What I did like were Charlotte's discussions with her daughter around women's issues and how difficult it would have been for an outspoken woman to grow up during this time period.  For a sixteen-year-old girl who is questioning her self and her place in the world, seeing a woman like Sofia would be rather confusing; I can definitely see how her ideas would make other young women question their place in the world and how they fit in.  There was also quite a bit of discussion and philosophizing about one's religion and belief in god and the afterlife.  I enjoyed both of these discussions as I thought they were quite intelligent and interesting.  Not really sure what they had to do with the 'mystery', but fascinating nontheless.

The Angel Court Affair is a miss as far as I am concerned with regards to this series.  While I enjoyed the discussions about women's issues and faith, in general, I thought the mystery itself was rather uninteresting and not nearly as good as earlier novels.  I didn't buy into the reason why Thomas got involved in this as an international scandal as it felt contrived; there has to be a way to get Thomas involved, after all.  What Perry usually does so well in her novels, fell quite short in this one: too many one-dimensional characters (including characters I normally love, like Vespasia and Narraway), lack of pacing, repetitious discussion about religion and faith, and lack of convincing plot (although the actual murders were a bit gruesome.)  I'm not really sure I would recommend this one. 


  1. Never read a Victorian crime thriller...Will read Anne Perry

  2. Another author whose work I've missed. I read so many thrillers that other areas get missed.

    1. I really enjoyed her earlier work and would highly recommend them. The later stuff has fallen a bit flat for me though, although I always read them in case they get better again.