From the Publisher
“Vibrant . . alluring . . . It is [Perry’s] fine-bladed outrage that draws the blood in this series.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Difficult to put down . . . tricky and beautifully paced.”—The Virginian-Pilot
“Stands as one of her most intricately constructed plots . . . Perry packs a triple wallop into the final pages, one climax following another.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Unfolds in a masterly fashion, sure to satisfy devotees of the classic puzzle.”—Houston Chronicle
“Beautifully crafted, filled with the gaslit atmosphere of a bygone world.”—Cosmopolitan
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The 16th Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery demonstrates Perry's trademark skill for enhancing well-designed mystery plots with convincing historical settings and cleverly drawn relationships among characters. In this outing, Pitt, last seen in Traitors Gate, tackles a case that could cost him his career. As it has been only two years since the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders, the Home Office anxiously anticipates the speedy arrest of the person who has murdered a Whitechapel prostitute with her own stocking. Finlay FitzJames, a young diplomat who is the son of a powerful merchant banker, is the prime suspect, even though the evidence against him is circumstantial: an old Hellfire Club badge, inscribed with Finlay's name, was found under the prostitute in bed, and cufflinks with his initials were discovered in the room. While Pitt grapples with this politically sensitive case, his sister-in-law, Emily Radley, makes friends with Finlay's younger sister, a social butterfly named Tallulah. Thanks to Pitt's diligence (and Emily's and Tallulah's meddling), the case is closed. Or so it seems until another very similar murder occurs. Whitechapel residents are terrified anew, Parliament is filled with grumblings, the Queen conveys her displeasure and newspaper reporters are turning the investigation into a case study in police incompetence and corruption. As Perry edges toward her surprise ending, she crafts her tale with elegance, narrative depth and gratifying scope. BOMC main selection. (Mar.)
Thomas and Charlotte Pitt take on Jack the Ripper in this latest in Perry's best-selling Victorian mystery series.
Superintendent Thomas Pitt's rise to commander of the Bow Street station has carried him above the sordid run of London crime, but when Whitechapel prostitute Ada McKinley is tortured and strangled two years after the reign of Jack the Ripper, a cufflink and a button from the defunct Hellfire Club on the scene make the case sensitive enough to bring in Pitt. Both articles are traced to Finlay FitzJames, a young diplomat whose wealthy, ruthless father Augustus's massive contempt for Pitt and his mission casts his son in an even more suspicious light. Pitt, keenly aware of the pressure to arrest someone else, is relieved when his own wife Charlotte and her sister Emily Radley, insinuating themselves into the confidence of Finlay's sister Tallulah, uncover an alibi Finlay cannot make publicand even more relieved when he extracts a confession from a pimp that seems to close the case. A trial follows, as well as a speedy executionand then, to Pitt's horror, there's a second murder exactly like the first, linked to Finlay by still another scrap of haberdashery. If Finlay is innocent, who is so determined to incriminate him? And if he's guilty, how can Pitt bring him to book when he's being ridiculed all over town for hanging the wrong man?
Repetitious and yet perfunctory in probing the suspects; and bits of the truth, at least, are obvious from the beginning. Still, the mystification, and the intensity of Pitt's dilemma, are genuine. Altogether, Perry's best book since Defend and Betray