Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ashworth Hall

by Anne Perry
July 2012

I'm still on the Anne Perry kick.
Perry's plots are getting more interesting. This one involves a murder that takes place at Ashworth Hall, Emily's country estate. She and Jack are hosting a conference between Protestant Irish and Catholic Irish representatives. They are, of course, talking about "the Irish question."  Thomas is asked to attend the conference along with Inspector Tellman  in case there is any trouble.  Thomas can blend in because it is natural that he and Charlotte might be visiting Emily's estate.
As luck would have it, someone is murdered. The mediator of the conference is found apparently drowned in his bath. Upon further examination, Pitt determines that the man was actually hit over the head with a jar of bath salts and then intentionally drowned. No one can leave the estate until the killer is found.

Even though her characters are all locked in and almost the entire mystery takes place in one setting, Perry takes us out of the province of the idle rich of London and into the world.

I liked this mystery quite a bit. Gracie, the Pitt's maid, gets to play a role. Pitt does more detecting and  Charlotte does less.

Charlotte, once again, has become annoying.  Because Pitt shows such sympathy for the wife of the murder victim, Charlotte becomes worried that she isn't as vulnerable or needy as Thomas wants her to be. She leaves the estate and travels to London while everyone else is forbidden to leave. She leaves simply to meet with Vespasia to ask for advice on her marriage.  Even though she later finds something that furthers the plot (an article she rips out of the newspaper from the British Museum!!) I find it very audacious that she should leave just because she wants some marital advice from Aunt Vespasia

I hope that Perry redeems Charlotte in future books. She's becoming really irritating. But not enough to keep me from reading more!   On to the next book!

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