Thursday, March 25, 2021

REVIEW: The Cater Street Hangman (audiobook) by Anne Perry, narrated by Davina Porter

The Cater Street Hangman is a historical mystery. I checked it out via Overdrive.


Cater Street is being stalked by a murderer, and when a maid in the Ellison household is garroted, the tension becomes unbearable. Women have to be careful never to go out alone. Men find themselves wondering if someone they know is the murderer, and wives begin to doubt their own husbands. Inspector Thomas Pitt must somehow navigate upper-class society's secrets to figure out the murder's identity. As he does so, he becomes closer to Charlotte Ellison, who's still nursing a secret crush on her sister's husband.

I started this series with the second book. That worked out well enough, but I was advised to go back and read the first book before moving on to the third. When I saw that this audiobook was available for checkout, I decided to give it a shot.

I read the second book back in 2019 and had already forgotten a lot, so I reread my review before writing this. I feel much the same way about this book as I did about the second: it seemed like it took ages for the murder investigation to make any progress, one detail swooped in practically out of nowhere at the end, and some of the characters' names (like Charlotte and her mother, Caroline) were similar enough that I occasionally had trouble remembering they were separate people. On the plus side, I really enjoyed the gradual progression of Thomas and Charlotte's romance (although I wish there'd been something more to it than her eventually realizing she's in love with him because he's basically the most decent person she knows), and the mystery wasn't uninteresting, just extremely slow.

For some reason, both in this book and in the second one, the level of darkness and tragedy took my by surprise. Something about this series keeps making me expect "light and fluffy," and then I get smacked in the face with sadness. This particular book digs a bit into the pain and unfairness of women being held to one standard while men are held to another.

I really liked Davina Porter's narration and may listen to more audiobooks in this series once I've read my paper copy of Book 3.

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