Review

Angels In the Gloom

by Anne Perry



Anne Perry continues even at this late date to mystify for all the
right reasons. Not content to rest on the laurels of her two
historical mystery series --- one featuring William Monk, the other
concerning Charlotte and Thomas Pitt --- she introduced a third
that has become known as the World War I novels. ANGELS IN THE
GLOOM, the third of this fine series after NO GRAVES AS YET and
SHOULDER THE SKY, continues the saga of the Reavley family, or
specifically the Reavley siblings ---Joseph, Matthew, Judith and
Hannah --- all of whom are involved in primary or secondary roles
in the British military effort during the early days of World War
I.


While these tales are primarily mysteries, Perry delves into war
and romance as well. Indeed, Perry's powers of description are
fully revealed in ANGELS IN THE GLOOM, as her descriptions of war
on land and sea are so realistic and riveting that they almost
overshadow the plotlines they support. The primary mystery in this
series continues to revolve around a powerful, shadowy figure known
as The Peacemaker, who is determined that the hostilities will end
quickly, even if it means the ultimate subjugation of Great Britain
to Germany. His machinations have already caused the death of the
Reavleys' parents, giving them dual reasons --- revenge and
patriotism --- for bringing his actions to an end.


In the meantime Joseph, on leave to home after sustaining grievous
wounds on the front lines while pursuing his duties as a chaplain,
finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery when Theo Blaine is
found brutally murdered in his own backyard. Blaine had been
instrumental in the creation and development of a new, top-secret
weapon that is certain to turn the tide of the war in Britain's
favor, and his death prior to the completion of the project is
potentially a lethal blow not only to the weapon but also to the
war effort. There is no lack of suspects for the murder ---
everyone from a clandestine German spy to Blaine's own wife is
under suspicion --- and Joseph soon finds that his role of priestly
confessor makes him privy to a number of village secrets that he
would rather not know. Joseph is also torn as to whether his duty
lies in ministering to the needs of the village citizens reeling
from their personal wartime losses, or whether he should resume his
post on the front.


Meanwhile, Matthew pursues his own espionage, working uneasily with
an attractive double agent to whom he is feeling an unwelcome but
undeniable attraction, even as he knows that her ties to the enemy
doom any involvement he might otherwise entertain. Hannah, Matthew
and Joseph's sister, maintains a somewhat passive role, caring for
Joseph as he recovers from his wounds while at the same time
tending the home fires as her husband Archie is involved in
Britain's naval effort.


If anyone in the family receives short shrift in ANGELS IN THE
GLOOM, it is Judith, still performing the dangerous but important
work of driving an ambulance in the thick of combat on the European
front. Rather, the focus is on David, who finds that the fate of a
family friend depends entirely on him, and Matthew, who in the heat
of battle discovers at long last the identity of The Peacemaker and
has the opportunity to avenge the wrong and heartbreak done to his
family.


The World War I series is arguably Perry's most ambitious work,
painted upon a broad canvas that encompasses wartime England, the
European front, and the war-ravaged Atlantic where England's
maritime supremacy is challenged and rises to meet its penultimate
test. While The Peacemaker plot, which has been the thread
connecting the first three novels of this series, is ultimately
resolved in ANGELS IN THE GLOOM, Perry could certainly take the
series in a number of other directions. If her fans have any say in
the matter, her World War I series undoubtedly will live on.


   












Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 22, 2010

Angels In the Gloom
by Anne Perry

  • Publication Date: October 31, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345456572
  • ISBN-13: 9780345456571