cover image Brunswick Gardens

Brunswick Gardens

Anne Perry. Fawcett Books, $25 (389pp) ISBN 978-0-449-90845-7

The 18th case for turn-of-the-century London policeman Thomas Pitt offers Perry's guaranteed entertainment, although without the full depth of last year's Ashworth Hall. Now in command of the Bow Street station, Pitt is sent to the home of prominent vicar and scholar Ramsay Parmenter, where a young woman has died in a suspicious fall down the stairs. Unity Bellwood was as adept at irritating others as she was at her work of translating ancient texts with the reverend. Pitt faces the awkward possibility that the dead woman was pushed by Parmenter himself; by Parmenter's intense son, Mallory, who is annoying his Anglican father by studying to become a Catholic priest; or by Dominic Corde, a curate who lives in the house. Complicating issues is the fact that Dominic, the widowed husband of Pitt's wife Charlotte's dead sister, is an elegant former wastrel with whom Charlotte was once infatuated. As Pitt probes ""all the little sins"" of the household, he discovers secrets that several of his suspects have failed to confess about themselves and about Unity. Meanwhile Charlotte, drawn to visit Dominic, witnesses social interactions among the family group that her husband, in his official capacity, could not observe. Within this clearly drawn cast, the face of the villain begins to emerge even before Pitt is called in on a second death in the household and closes in on the crimes' solution. Author tour. (Apr.)