Anne Perry was born on October 28th, 1938 in Blackheath, London. Her father, Henry Hulme, a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, was an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Anne remembers him as "a very gentle man, very compassionate, an absent-minded scientist." Her mother, Hilda Marion Reavley, is a well-educated, independent woman whose favourite expression is: "You can do a lot more with honey than vinegar!" The atmosphere in the house at Greenwich was liberal and lively; Anne remembers, "I read a great deal, and had parents who gave me time and attention. There was always discussion in the house and as far as I can recall, no subject was forbidden." The bombing of London during the Blitz of 1940 left no one unscathed, and Anne herself suffered debilitating nightmares as a result of the German onslaught.
Her childhood was also dogged by ill health, in particular respiratory problems. At the age of six, she contracted pneumonia, and when she was eight, doctors warned her parents to prepare for the worst. When she recovered sufficiently to be able to travel, her parents took the advice of their physicians and arranged for her to stay with friends in the Bahamas and then in New Zealand. They joined her in New Zealand after another crisis in Anne's health when she was aged ten, bringing with them her younger brother Jonathan, who was then four years old. The family settled in Christchurch, where Anne's father had been awarded the post of Rector at Canterbury University College.
Half Moon Street
Superintendent Thomas Pitt cannot immediately ascertain exactly what segment of society the dead man riding the morning tide of the Thames came from, but the sight of him is unforgettable. He lies in a battered punt drifting through the morning mist, his arms and legs chained to the boat's sides. He is clad in a torn green gown and flowers bestrew his battered body.
Is he, as Pitt fears, a French diplomat who has gone missing? Or merely someone who greatly resembles him? Pitt's determined search for answers leads him deep into London's bohemia to the theatre where beautiful Cecily Antrim is outraging society with her bold portrayal of a modern woman--and into studios where masters of light and shadow are experimenting with the fascinating new art of photography.
But only Pitt's most relentless pursuit enables him to identify the wildfire passions raging through this tragedy of good and evil, to hunt down the guilty and protect the innocent.
Once again, Anne Perry asks us to look deeply into the crimes of heart--and rewards us a fresh and brilliant portrait of the engrossing world that she has long since made her own.
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