The Cater Street Hangman is the first book in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series written by Anne Perry. The main protagonist, Charlotte, is an upper-class girl living in London during the Victorian Era. However, she is known as Charlotte Ellison in this novel. And in fact, Thomas Pitt is nowhere to be seen for several chapters.
What brings these two together is a series of grisly murders. Multiple women are found dead near Cater Street (near the Ellison Household), their necks garroted and their remains butchered. Nothing really connects these women, except that they are women. Some are upper class, others are servants. But it isn’t until Lily, one of the Ellison’s housemaids, is also killed that Pitt comes into the picture. The Ellison family is pulled in even deeper to the murders when Sarah, Charlotte’s sister is also killed. Thomas Pitt is an inspector investigating the murders, and he does a thorough job, placing no one above suspicion until they are cleared. He even digs deeper into Charlotte’s father, unearthing an old secret. Yet in spite of this unveiling, and in spite of their differences in class, Thomas and Charlotte fall for each other.
Oh, and they solve the murders, though investigating seems to have nothing to do with it. Everything is unraveled due to a not-so-happy accident. The ending is what stole the fifth star from this review. The unveiling of the criminal happens in literally the last three pages, and then there’s nothing more. No explanation of what happened to any of the characters afterward. It was basically “Oh that’s the killer!—THE END.” Luckily, there are tons of books in the series, but I doubt there’s any additional closure for this case.
But I’m still excited to have a “new” author to read and more Victorian crime mysteries to get invested in!