Highgate Rise by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As this series progresses, Anne Perry is going into some of the worst excesses of the Victorian age. This book centers on two aspects that were hotly debated at the time. The book begins with a terrible fire which kills the wife of a very outspoken local doctor. She had been quietly become involved in trying to breach a system of rental property law which allowed investors to charge extremely high rents for tenements in horrible conditions without anyone being able to tell who the property owner was. The poor were forced to live in such crowded and unsanitary places and they were also leased as brothels, opium dens and sweatshops. Many a righteous upper class families fortune was build on the backs of the wretched poor without anyone being the wiser. Neither of the Pitts can decide if the doctor or his wife was the intended victim.
When another fire errupts at the home of the doctor's friend with whom he is staying, the focus returns to the doctor however, the friend was an outspoken proponent of liberal Fabinism, which was also a source of contention in the village. While Thomas Pitt explores the motives relating to the doctor, Charlotte, Emily, Jack and Aunt Vespasia concentrate on the work the doctor's wife, Clemency, was doing. It appears that she had managed to trace the landlord of a despicable tenement and was surprised and appalled by whom she found as the owner.
While this plot was convoluted, all our main characters were engaging as usual and Charlotte's maid Gracie made an enterance as a detective also. She was an entrancing addition and a breath of fresh air, especially as various characters engage in some very long winded philosophical speeches which strain the patience of the reader.
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