“character” in Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2007

·     the characterization of Inspector Pitt begins on the first page, through the eyes of the sergeant … “He did not meet the sergeant’s conception of a senior officer … downright scruffy … the man let the force down. Still, the sergeant had heard Pitt’s name and spoke with some respect.” Is Perry writing for readers who have read the previous books, or for the reader who has not read any of the Pitt series? She must accommodate both.   ·     Pitt feels guilty at taking the case from another man, and uncomfortable with his evasive poking around … we have an immediate (p2) sense that we are dealing with a man of exceptional integrity   ·     “Mobray took a deep breath and sighed slowly. “The elder Mrs. York was a remarkable woman …” This begins the characterization of Mrs. York, who turns out to be a lot more sinister than Mobray’s infatuation would suggest.   ·     Pitt’s interrogation technique changes from simple questions to complex, and he immediately trips up the Foreign Service officer he is questioning. We are impressed that he is a skillful detective.   ·     “Ballarat … was the antithesis of the disheveled Pitt, whose every garment was at odds with another …” … characterization repeated for emphasis. Why did Perry choose this means of describing Pitt? Does his manner of dress play an actual role in his subsequent actions? For all this emphasis, it should, but I don’t recall that it does.   ·     Charlotte is first mentioned on p17. Her first words are “Any interesting cases?” If the reader is familiar with the series, this would be in character with earlier stories. If not, it serves to set her character and an important aspect of their relationship in just 3 words.   ·     Emily, who will be such a major player in this story, is briefly mentioned, but not truly introduced until p29. The initial characterization of her starts out as a description, from Emily’s perspective, of her recently murdered husband George, but evolves in a few sentences into a self-characterization of her feelings for George, her wisdom, her intolerance for injustice, and her evolution into someone more like Charlotte – opinionated, quick to anger, and a fighter against “all she perceived to be wrong” even if “sometimes hasty.” A perfect setup, in one paragraph, for the role Emily will play.   ·     Jack Radley entered … casually dressed … his tailor was clearly his chief creditor … his smile … those remarkable eyes.” All this from Emily’s pov (which the omniscient narrator knows, tells us about Radley and Emily’s feelings for him. Next page: “his eyelashes still shadowed his cheek.” Another reference to his eyes, his individualizing feature.   ·     Mrs. York. They are discussing the winter art exhibit at the Royal Academy, and Charlotte says she does not paint very well. “I had not supposed you to enter a work, Miss Barnaby, merely to observe.” Nasty! We don’t like Mrs. York.   ·     Pitt’s persistence is shown in his relentless pursuit of leads, even after so many of them turn prove unproductive (at least for now).


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