Not since the bloody deeds of Jack the Ripper have Londoners felt such terror as that aroused by the gruesome beheadings in Hyde Park. And if newly promoted Police Superintendent Thomas Pitt does not quickly apprehend the perpetrator, he is likely to lose his own head, professionally speaking.
Yet even with the help of Charlotte Pitt's subtle investigation, the sinister violence continues unchecked. And in a shocking turn of events that nearly convinces the pair of sleuths that they have met their match, the case proves to be Pitt's toughest ever . . . .
"Very satisfying, a lovely way to spend a rainy spring weekend." -- USA Today
"Thrilling . . . [Perry's] understanding of the historically rich period enables her to devise a plot true to its time yet timeless in its approach to human nature." -- The Orlando Sentinel
In addition to being a splendidly plotted yarn, Perry's 14th Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery, following last year's Farrier's Lane , explores the nature of power while adding detail and color to Perry's ever more elaborate tapestry of late-19th century London life. The discovery in Hyde Park of the decapitated corpse of Oakley Winthrop, a naval captain from a titled family, sends a ripple of fear through the city that still has vivid memories of Jack the Ripper. Those at the top clearly expect Thomas, recently named superintendent in charge of the Bow Street station, to catch the murderer summarily. Thomas views the attack as personally motivated and isolated until a second headless corpse turns up in the park. Adding to the pressure on the new superintendent is Nigel Uttley, candidate in a Parliamentary by-election and member of the Inner Circle, a powerful secret society, who uses the murders as fodder for some rousing electioneering at police expense. While Thomas, spurred on by the discovery of yet another body, determinedly searches for a link among the dead men, Charlotte and her sister, Emily Radley, turn their drawing-room skills to information gathering and uncover a secret to which Thomas was blind. By painting her characters' personal dilemmas as vividly as she does their historical context, Perry keeps her series fresh and continually compelling. (Mar.)