The Cater Street Hangman is the first of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries. Set in the Victorian era, it is an elegant and complex mystery full of well-drawn characters and rich period detail. When a maid in the upper class Ellison household is strangled, Inspector Pitt is called in to investigate. He finds a world ruled by strict manners and social customs, where the inhabitants of the Ellison's neighborhood appear to be more outraged by the thought of scandal than they are by murder. Inspector Pitt finds a most unlikely ally in Charlotte, the Ellison's spirited daughter. But as the murders continue, Charlotte and Pitt find themselves drawn together by more than the investigation.
Sometimes the personal story of a particular author seems almost as intriguing as the books they write. Such is the life of British author Anne Perry (aka Juliet Marion Hulme). As a child Hulme was very ill with tuberculosis and ended up being fostered out by a family in the Caribbean. She did get better, and the family moved to a private island in New Zealand, where she describes her life as a Swiss family Robinson type existence. She became ill again and during her bouts of illness through her teen years, she missed most of her childhood education. However, her mother had prepared her by teaching her how to read and write by the time she was four. Her heart always seemed to be in writing.
At the age of 15, Juliet and her best friend plotted and killed her friend's mother. The three went for a walk in the park and Hulme dropped a stone, causing the mother to bend over to pick it up, and her friend hit her own mother on the head with a half brick. They had planned on the strike killing her, but they had to strike her 20 times before she was dead. The girls were put on trial and each served five years in prison. It is said that they never saw each other again after being released. For many years, nobody connected author Anne Perry as the teen murderer, Juliet Hulme. In 1994, the film Heavenly Creatures, portrayed Hulme and her friend Pauline Parker with characters being played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey respectively.
Perry's genre of writing covers Victorian Era Detective fiction for the most part. Her novels have been centered around two main characters, Thomas Pitt and William Monk. She has published 47 novels and several collections of stories.
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