Someone has beheaded four men of different social classes and left their remains in London’s Hyde Park. Why these particular men? What connection did they have to each other? These are the questions Inspector Thomas Pitt must answer in Anne Perry’s Victorian murder mystery The Hyde Park Headsman.
This is the fourteenth novel in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. Charlotte, Pitt’s wife, helps her husband solve crimes bringing to each case her own understanding of London’s middle to upper class society, a culture she knew before her marriage. In this novel, however, Charlotte is busily readying a new home for their small family. Thomas, newly appointed Superintendent of the Bow Street police station, finds himself in a struggle against the invisible but powerful Inner Circle, the assistant police commissioner, the constables under him, and even his own conscience. A horrified city still reeling from the terror of the unsolved Ripper murders wants the offender caught. For lack of an alibi, the lover of one of the victims is suspected of the grisly murders. But did he commit them?
Anne Perry immerses the reader in London of the late 1800's with a sense of atmosphere that lends authenticity to each of her novels. Victorian England was not the morally pure haven most people would imagine. Immorality, according to her novels, was not reserved to the lower classes that resided in the hovels of Dickens’ fiction, but was also practiced, albeit in secret, by the members of upper class society. Perry paints fascinating pictures of the Victorian time period. She weaves an intriguing web of mystery that will keep you wondering until the last few pages. Reading the previous books in the series is not necessary to enjoy this murder novel but I firmly believe that after reading The Hyde Park Headsman, you will want to explore the other Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries.