In this superbly accomplished new Charlotte and Thomas Pitt adventure, Anne Perry takes us beneath the glittering surface of wealthy Victorian society into a nightmare world of fear and intimidation, where women are too often blamed for the violent attacks against them, and powerful men take what they want, leaving others to pay the price.
The horrifying rape and apparent suicide of Catherine Quixwood, wife of a wealthy merchant banker, falls outside the new jurisdiction of Special Branch head Thomas Pitt, but so pervasively offensive are the rumors about the victim that Pitt quietly takes a hand in the investigation.
Yet even with the help of his ingenious wife, Charlotte, and his former superior, Victor Narraway, Pitt is stumped. Why did high-minded, cultured Catherine choose not to accompany her husband to a grand party on the night of her demise? Why did she dismiss all her servants for the evening and leave the front door unlocked? What had been her relationship with the young man seen frequently by her side at concerts and art exhibits? And what can be done to avenge another terrible crime: the assault on Angeles Castelbranco, beloved teenage daughter of the Portuguese ambassador?
As an ordinary policeman, Pitt had once entered London's grand houses through the kitchen door. Now, as a guest in those same houses, can he find the steel in his soul to challenge the great men of the world with their crimes? The path to the truth takes him in deeply troubling directions, from the lofty world of international politics and finance to his own happy home, where his own teenage daughter, Jemima, is coming of age in a culture rife with hidden dangers.
In this rich, emotionally charged masterpiece, Anne Perry exposes yet another ugly secret of Victoria's proud empire. And in a courtroom battle of unparalleled brilliance, we thrill at the chance to witness a massive wrong righted.
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This is the 26!! book in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, and this book shows that Ms. Perry has retained all of her writing skills (in fact they appear to increase each time I read another book). I have read each and every book in this series and her equally as good William Monk series and after over 50 books in total, I still rank Ms. Perry as my absolute favourite author! This book is extremely well-written. It is exciting from the first page to the very end. I love the characters in these books, and I feel that I have gotten to know them all very much after so many years. I love the setting-Victorian England, and I love the messages that Ms. Perry sends with each book as to what the culture, social and justice systems were like in those days. And I love Thomas Pitt! He's a wonderful character-a family man who loves his wife and family. Pitt's background (son of a gamekeeper) aids him in his career as the head of Britain's Special Branch. His sense of right and wrong and his fairness learned as a servant in a great house also aid him in his decision-making. He has intelligence and compassion and these have stood him in good stead as he carries out the duties of his new prestigious position. This particular book is a very strong entry in this long-running series. Ms. Perry is very clearly at the top of her game because each new book is just as wonderful and exciting as the last one. In this book, Pitt and his old boss Victor Narraway are each pursuing a violent rapist, and of course this means uncovering some long-buried secrets. They each are concerned with what appears to be different instances, but as they continue to look, they discover there are things that may connect the two apparently unrelated cases. The action continues throughout the entire book until the final pages. I couldn't put the book down, but that is the way it always is for me when reading an Anne Perry novel.