Buckingham Palace Gardens
by Anne Perry

Ballantine Books, 2008. ISBN 978-0-345-46931-1.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 06/20/2008

Fiction: Mystery

A brutal murder has taken place in Buckingham Palace after one of the Prince of Wales' late night parties. The Prince's choice prostitute has been found murdered and mutilated in the Queen's own monogrammed sheets and the culprit must certainly be one of the Prince's four guests, their wives, or even the Prince himself. Special Services agent Thomas Pitt is called in to clear up the matter quietly and discreetly, for news of the event would be a political scandal and a crippling blow to the monarchy.

Anne Perry delves into a world of Victorian entrepreneurship and power, political maneuvering and ulterior motives as she introduces us to four powerful men who want to change history and secure British power forever by creating a six-thousand-mile railroad that would stretch from South Africa to Egypt. The men and their wives create an intricate web of lies, deceit, adultery, and ambition that will keep you guessing—and fascinated—until the last page. The characters are complicated, realistic, and powerful. Each struggles with his or her personal demons while desperately trying to maintain a social façade of perfection and grace.

Despite the fact that the novel is set in Victorian times, the characters encounter many of the same challenges, have the same desires, and face the fear, failing, or loss of affection as we do today. The story is pertinent to modern lives as well as a delicious step back in time.

Buckingham Palace Gardens is an intense class drama and a thoroughly engaging plot. I enjoyed discovering the clues alongside detective Pitt and his undercover maid Gracie and was intrigued by each new development in the story line. This is the first book by British author Anne Perry that I have read, and I was thoroughly impressed. I can understand why she has sold over 20 million copies of her books worldwide. She has written more than twenty other mysteries about the adventures of Detective Pitt. I cannot wait to go back to the bookstore and try another of her works, just to see if it is as enjoyable a read as Buckingham Palace Gardens.

Anne Perry is a British author whose first book was published when she was in her late 30s. She began writing mysteries set in Victorian London at the suggestion of her stepfather. She has since written several highly popular series, including more than 20 books about the adventures of Detective Pitt.

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