Friday, October 06, 2006

Traitor's Gate by Anne Perry

We meet on the third Friday of the month to discuss this book.

This was a story set in nineteenth century England. I did not start enjoying it until I had read more than 200 pages. As is hinted in the title, it is about loyalty as well as the opposing forces: betrayal and perversion of power. The story deals with loyalty to the Inner Circle, a secret society of men who intend to gain wealth for themselves through Ceil Rhodes' settlement of Africa. It deals with loyalty between men and their women, and loyalty to England.

In the story three things are going on. Superintendent Pitt is investigating the murder of the father of his childhood friend. The murder is made to look like accidental death or suicide. Secondly, Pitt has to discreetly find out who in the Colonial Office is leaking information about Africa to the Germans. In the midst of these two investigations a second unexpected murder takes place. Pitt is hampered by the class structure of the time. He was not from the upper crust of society yet he has to interrogate and possibly arrest one or more of these high society gentlemen.

We get a clear picture of the Victorian woman in this story. She was to be demure and dependent on her man because of her innate feminine weakness which made her illogical. However, the women in Perry's story seem to be the exception. This is especially so in regard to one of the protagonists Charlotte, wife of Superintendent Pitt, who is portrayed as charming and clever. She uses her charm and clever mind to manipulate Eustace, a minor character, so he could gather pertinent information to solve one of the two murder mysteries in the book.

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