Charlotte Pitt defends her own sister against a murder charge in Victorian England, in a novel “suffused with atmosphere, emotion, and suspense” (Booklist).
As Inspector Thomas Pitt works to resolve the case of a dismembered woman, his womanizing brother-in-law, George March, Lord Ashworth, is poisoned with his morning coffee at the country estate of his cousins. The primary suspect? Charlotte’s sister, Emily, the murdered man’s wife and Pitt’s sister-in-law. Charlotte and Pitt take on the March clan with the help of Great-aunt Vespasia, their formidable relative and a member of the clan, to break through the wall of deceit and silence. When Sybilla March, George’s suspected paramour, is found strangled by her hair and Emily is the one who found her, the case would seem hopeless—for anyone but the indomitable Pitts. Their pursuit of the truth takes them down a path of corruption, depravity, and murder, from the elegant townhouses lining fashionable Cardington Crescent to the horrifying slums of London.
Perry's Victorian sleuths Inspector Thomas Pitt and his redoubtable wife Charlotte returnafter Death in the Devil's Acre and Bluegate Fieldsto poke holes in the stiff fabric of London's high society. While Thomas works on a case involving a murdered woman whose body has been dismembered and left in packages around the city, Charlotte's brother-in-law George is poisoned at the home of his cousin's family on Cardington Crescent. George had been suffering an infatuation for his cousin's wife Sybilla, and the family would like to squelch the suggestion of scandal by leaving the crime unsolved, allowing their circle to believe the poison was administered by his wife Emily Charlotte's sister in a fit of jealousy. Charlotte arrives at Cardington Crescent to clear Emily's name and while she's there, Sybilla is also murdered, strangled with her own long, lovely hair. Thomas and Charlotte work at the mysteries, each cutting through layers of class structure to arrive at the same sordid point, where incest and child neglect intersect. Perry brings the era to life not just by period detail, but with sure-handed characterization and compelling, timeless plot.