Charlotte Pitts mother asks her to come to see her right away. She confides that a locket was stolen one that her mother-in-law (Charlottes paternal grandmother) had given her. Eventually, Charlotte comes to realize why this small theft is so crucial to her mother. A time when Charlotte and her sister Emily stand out as exceptions in the society they were born to.
I've asked myself while reading her books if murder must always have some dark and unsavory element behind it and I decided that it isn't unlikely, seeing that it IS murder we are discussing after all, which is a very dark subject. While Charlotte strives to help not only to find the locket but to protect her mother from herself, a murder is committed and Inspector Pitt (Charlotte's husband) is called to investigate. Charlotte is confronting her mother about her mother's infatuation and making the case that she doesn't really know the man and he doesn't really care about her either. Especially since we live in a culture where we often mistakenly label infatuation and passion as "love", which is much deeper and less selfish in nature.
Your tastes may run different but here are my favorite books by this author: The Cater Street Hangman, (I believe this is her first.), Buckingham Palace Gardens, or Death on Blackheath (These are from the Pitt series. I also read:Defend and Betray which also has a very twisted ending twice (The last 2 are of the William Monk Series.)
While Charlotte, her husband, sister and mother look for the necklace a young woman is murdered though the extablishment wants to call it suicide.
I applaud the reception of Rutland Place, 1983 and scowl at three-star feedback or less; protesting This isn't a typical mystery. She acknowledges the skill with which Charlotte assisted Thomas's police work. When she feels concerned about a direction their Mother is taking, Charlotte summons Emily. I had yearned to see Charlotte with her parents since she married and enjoyed the familial interaction greatly.
The Story The potential for disaster is horrendous and Caroline Ellison finally writes Charlotte for help. After all, Charlotte has worked on cases for her husband, this is no different except they will avoid the scandal of a policeman on the doorstep. Obviously one mustn't mention what one has lost, so Caroline and Charlotte make the rounds of the neighbors calling on them and dropping hints, looking for any sign of guilt or information. Giving us an inside look at the relationships between each of Mrs. Ellison's neighbors. And Mrs. Spencer-Brown's murder is not the only tragedy to strike in Rutland Place. Thomas Pitt has the manners and speech of Charlotte's class, but certainly not the appearance. Caroline and Edward Ellison are Charlotte's parents. Grandmama Ellison is a major pain and lives with Caroline and Edward. Of the neighbors in Rutland Place, there is Ambrosine (very eccentric) and Lovell Charrington (very uptight) with their remaining son Inigo who takes after Mama (their beloved daughter Ottilie died); the very critical and poking Mina and Alston Spencer-Brown; Eloise and Tormod Lagarde, an orphaned brother and sister; the spiteful Mrs. Amaryllis Denbigh is quite up in her own worth and dismisses anyone she feels is beneath her; and, Theodora von Schenck (Amaryllis' sister) is a widow with a great deal more money than previously.
Rutland Place begins with a series of petty thefts, and escalates to bloody murder and a troubling denouement.
I truly wanted to like this book.
As of 2003 she had published 47 novels, and several collections of short stories. The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories . The Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories