What an odd sight! The dead body of a peer of the realm sitting upright in an empty hansom cab. He had been decently buried once before, Inspector Pitt knew. There was something terrible amiss. Despite doctor's claims of death by natural causes, Pitt insisted on serious digging to unearth the truth--even if it killed him.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: One of the better entries in the series -- so far . . ., April 10, 2003 Reviewer: Michael K. Smith from Baton Rouge, LA USA This is the fourth novel in the Charlotte and Inspector Thomas Pitt series of high Victorian mysteries, though I've read several others out of order. All of them seem to be a mix of police procedural and social commentary, in which Pitt has to delve into the depths of London's underclass while Charlotte wades through the unpleasantnesses of Society's drawing rooms. Sometimes the latter is better written and more interesting than the former, but in this case the mystery is interesting and also funny in an oddball way. The recently buried keep turning up out of their coffins -- sitting in hansom cabs, or in church pews, or leaning against their own tombstones. All were apparently natural deaths, so Thomas isn't even quite sure for much of the book whether any serious crime actually has been committed. Meanwhile, Mr. Carlisle, an avid and politically astute social reformer, is making converts to his cause of reforming the workhouses by dragooning his social acquaintances into visiting the slums and rookeries. Charlotte (who married down) is a likeable enough character, and her sister, Lady Ashworth (who married up), is well done, but Thomas himself seems to emote too much. Aunt Vespasia, on the other hand, is a marvelous depiction of a grand and starchy old lady who's smarter and more socially aware than most of her contemporaries. Although Perry repeats her bad habit of nearly blowing off the solution to the mystery in favor of sociological commentary, this is a pretty good read.