Publishers Weekly (review date 5 April 1991)
SOURCE: A review of Highgate Rise, in Publishers Weekly, Vol. 238, No. 16, April 5, 1991, p. 138.
[In the following review, the critic concludes, "Rounded out by a host of lively characters, [The Face of a Stranger] is a memorable tale."]
Having temporarily abandoned Victorian police inspector Thomas Pitt and his highborn wife, Charlotte, in her last, highly acclaimed novel, The Face of a Stranger, Perry features the duo once again. She exhibits her customary skill in recreating 19th-century London, but here her well-drawn contrasts of upstairs and downstairs Victorian society have added psychological acuity. And her focus on a social issue—the secret ownership by members of high society of appalling slum housing—lends depth to the mystery surrounding the death of Clemency Shaw, a courageous woman who devoted her life—and may have lost it—to exposing those who built their fortunes on the misery of the poor. Highgate is a posh Victorian neighborhood that becomes the scene of some highly dramatic house fires that consume people dear to Dr. Shaw, Clemency's husband, a free-speaking liberal who is Perry's most dynamic character to date. Just who is the target of these infernos? Thomas and Charlotte seek answers, while Charlotte in particular finds that Clemency's legacy of compassion did not die with her, Rounded out by a host of lively characters, this is a memorable tale.