bookspluslife

November 15, 2015

Book: The Twisted Root by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:24 am

imageWe have reviewed many of Anne Perry’s books earlier in this forum. You may remember that she writes mystery stories but set in Victorian era.

Let us look at the story.  In these kind of books, the only way to review is to look at the plot minus the ‘who did it?’ ending. That is what we will now do. This features one of her routine detectives, Monk.

Lucius Stourbridge comes to see Monk. Monk is back from a honeymoon with Hester.

In many of the earlier books, Hester was caught in a love triangle between Monk and Oliver Rathbone, a brilliant and compassionate lawyer, and finally, in a previous book, she chose Monk and agreed to marry him. Also as I have already pointed out, the stories move the life of Monk and other characters through a series of books, which is nice if you read them all, hopefully in sequence!

Lucius was betrothed to Miriam, the lovely lady (She was Mrs Gardiner, so you guess that she has been widowed before deciding to marry Lucius) and she has disappeared. Hester in the meanwhile is fighting to improve conditions in a hospital (she realizes that training of nurses is required to improve care and install sanitary procedures, but faces resistance at every turn). On top of everything, she finds that medicines are being stolen too. Callanda Divot, the rich aristocrat with a benevolent nature and is a friend of Hester and Monk,  is also with her there.

Monk  finds that the coachman, who also disappeared with Miriam,  was found murdered in a different police precinct and the coach and horses were not stolen. Why was he murdered if not for money? And where is Miriam?

Robb, the superintendent in that precinct is young but seems extremely able.

In his enquiries, Monk learns that Miriam was adopted as a child, wandering in the streets and that the adoptive mother lives close to where the coachman was murdered and Miriam disappeared.

He finally tracks Miriam down before Robb and learns nothing from her, except a statement that she cannot tell him anything. He also notices her visual great distress. Mariam is arrested by Robb.

In the meanwhile, Robb’s very sick dad and Hester form a bond.

Miriam refuses to help in her own defence and keeps a fierce silence, resigned to her fate.

When the case is closed, Lucius comes to Monk again to find the truth. When they discover that Mariam’s mother (who adopted Mariam) was dispensing medicines to the poor from the hospital (a kindly act but a crime) they conclude that the coachman was blackmailing her and then arrest the mother. Mariam is released into the custody of Stourbridges but seems strangely petrified to go with them.

Hester decides to continue the crime of smuggling drugs to patients who need them, even at a danger to her of going to jail, and one of them is Robb’s own father! She also confirms from Mariam’s adopted mother, who is now in jail for the murder, that the coachman was indeed blackmailing her. Seems an open and shut case, especially she is not interested even in defending herself against the charges or even explain what she knows.

But when Verona Stourbridge, the mother of Lucius is murdered in her own house by what seems to be a family member in exact same way as the coach driver while the nurse was still in prison, the case takes a bizarre turn and Robb invites Monk to help him.

When Miriam is also arrested, Monk and Hester reach out to Oliver Rathbone for legal help.

He tries to talk to both Miriam and her mother with no avail.

Monk and Robb are puzzled : How did the coachman know about the theft of the medicines to blackmail Miriam’s mother??

Finally, to save Miriam, Cora decides to tell how she found Miriam all those years ago, in court. She reveals the bombshell about Miriam, how she arrived and her precise condition of arrival.

When they claim that there was a woman murdered all those years ago by the killer, who is revealed at this point, Hester goes with Robb to find the body and does find it, based on the descriptions of the place given.

From there the mystery unravels quickly and the ending is a bit sudden in my view, where everything becomes known together and there is a sense of hurried completion but still a fairly good book to read.

6/10

– – Krishna

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January 10, 2015

Book: Half Moon Street by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:18 pm

ImageOne more book from Anne Perry featuring Thomas Pitt. We have reviewed some earlier book with the same detective earlier.

Thomas Pitt is called to investigate a bizarre crime, where a body is found in a boat, the victim of a murder. The body is that of a man and is manacled to the boat and dressed in a woman’s satin clothing and arranged in a suggestive sexual pose after death, which makes it a very unusual case.

Thomas Pitt is relieved that the corpse is not that of the French embassy official who was missing, thereby avoiding an international scandal. But who is he?

Also, as is her wont, the author comments on the social mores of the time through side strands of the story that makes it very effective and adds to the weight of the story. This time it is through a play that Pitt and Charlotte’s mother Caroline go to, where a woman shows her loneliness too plainly for everyone to notice (in the story) as she is not supposed to in ‘civilized society’.  Anne rails against the restrictions on woman who are not supposed to show so crass an emotion like sexual desire.

Pitt identifies the man as a high end photographer who takes pictures of people in their fancy costumes and brings out ‘the real soul’ in each of them with clever lighting, and other additions. Caroline’s mother is appalled at Edward being ‘shamelessly flirted with’ by her daughter.

A French Diplomat seems to be somehow involved. Unusually for Anne Perry’s stories, Oscar Wilde makes a cameo appearance in the story! And when the poet Yeats also makes an appearance, the story really goes off the usual path of Anne Perry stories. However, both are only appearing fleetingly and have nothing to do with the main strand of the story itself. There is a hint in the story that they also appeared in an earlier story by Anne Perry but I have not read that one, whatever that book is.

My complaint is that she got carried too far into the social message, which is definitely interesting (of free expression of passion by women and women’s right to be informed of the uglier facets of life instead of being protected by men) that the main story hardly moves at all from time to time.

Mariah, Caroline’s dead husband’s mother, who is staying with her now since Emily is away with her husband, disapproves of the unseemly friendship between Samuel Ellison and the twice married Caroline. Having failed to persuade Caroline’s actor husband Joshua to take the threat seriously, she decides on dishonesty and writes a letter filled with flirtatious intentions to Samuel in Caroline’s name and handwriting in desperation. Then when set up, she calls Joshua to ‘witness the wantonness’. When she is found out, she is contrite, and in a conversation she admits to the penchant of her husband for sodomy. (‘Unnatural acts’) which has deeply affected her.

Meanwhile, Pitt and Tellman find out that the money for the cameramen came from salacious pictures sold clandestinely of women, who may or may not have been aware of what is gong on. When one of the pictures of the famous actress Antrim is in the exact same pose as the murdered person, Pitt knows there is a strong connection.  Caroline finds out where the pictures were bought from – in an independent way from Pitt, who tracks it to another wholesaler. When he confronts Antrim with it, she reveals a whole new side to her.

Caroline proves she can stand up to Antrim (Cicily) even when she is pissed that her son, who is a newbie, upstaged her in Hamlet. She suspects that he has some evil torment in him in order to be able to portray Hamlet to near perfection.

Well, the ending has the requisite twist but has the feeling of an abrupt ending, with no clues about the murder – this is not a book where you can guess who did it by reading it because there seems to be no clues except a direct explanation at the end.

Anne Perry can do social commentary of the Victorian era with the mystery part well and gets it near perfect in some books (For one example, read our review of A Breach of Promise elsewhere in this blog) but in this book, the social commentary seems to take over the entire book with a murder put in there as an afterthought.

Also the initial confusion about whether the murdered man was the French ambassador or not is a bit confusing. You feel definitely that it holds an important clue, but you find out otherwise at the end, which gives you a feeling of being let down.

All in all, still a readable book, but by no means one of Anne’s best.

Let us say 6/10

  • – Krishna

July 13, 2014

Book: A Breach of Promise by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 2:35 pm

imagesI considered this, when I read it years ago, as the best book written by Anne Perry in terms of the mystery and how it is revealed. I re-read it recently and have no reason to change my mind. This is simply a very good mystery, well told, and twists and turns that would make you sit up and take notice.

 

What makes it so good is that Anne likes to add a little social commentary on how wrong some of the accepted social norms of the day were, and usually it is a side script brought in via Hester Latterley’s work as a nurse or as views and comments from characters. Here it is fully integrated into the main story.

 

Let us follow the story.

 

Killian Melville an architect of genius. Barton Lambert, a wealthy man, recognizes his genius, and engages him, giving him the opportunity of a lifetime. When Zilla Lambert, his daughter, shows an interest in Killian and he spends a lot of time in her company, both Barton and his wife Delphine approve and encourage it.

 

Delphine does the next logical thing, and announces their engagement in The Times. Killian refuses to marry her and refuses to give a reason. Everyone is astounded and especially, Barton and Delphine take Killian to court. If they win, Killian will be professionally ruined and he will be unable to practice his profession that he truly loves and excels in.

 

Killian comes to Sir Oliver Rathbone for defence in desperation.  First Oliver refuses to do anything with it, as he agrees with the motives of the Lamberts in suing Killian. Then, Oliver meets the Lamberts in a party and then feels  that Kelvin is victimized by high expectations, and Delphine, the domineering mother of Zilla and agrees to represent the case against his own reservations.

 

Hester Latterley is serving to look after a soldier Gabriel Sheldon who got disfigured in the Sepoy Mutiny of India and is back in England. His whole family struggles to even talk to him! Hester begins to understand his predicament.  His brother Athol Sheldon is an insensitive boob who is stuck in his own ways and primitive notions. The wife Perdita struggles to find common topic to talk to the husband. Martha, the housekeeper too agrees quietly that Athol is a bumbling fool. (‘Muscular Christian Englishman’ as the book describes him)

 

The case begins and the prosecuting attorney Sachavarall  is clever and very good. He paints a picture of Kevin deceiving a girl for no reason at all and even Oliver struggles to see why his client would be innocent. Killian refuses to discuss any details even with his own lawyer Oliver in private, and seems resigned to whatever his fate may be.

 

The case is going against Oliver and Killian inexorably. Sachavarall, the prosecution lawyer, is savouring the possibility of an easy victory in this case. Barton Lambert and Delphine conduct themselves perfectly on the witness stand.

n the meanwhile, with no evidence and certain of being convicted, Killian kills himself, much to the shock of everyone in the courtroom.

 

Only when he is dead and a doctor is called to do the autopsy is the real reason for his reluctance to marry revealed. A very good twist. The twist moves further when Monk continues his investigation.

 

At one point, you wonder why the story continues when everything seems to have been revealed. It turns out that there is a very good reason and not one page is wasted in building up the story unnecessarily.

 

It turns out, in an even more bizarre fashion, that Killian’s attempts to kill himself started when he was in the courtroom, in the middle of all that crowd!

 

The investigation into how and why a central character committed an apparent suicide when she was with the others the whole time is fascinating.

 

And a sideline search of Monk searching for relatives of the maid Martha Jackson’s sister Dolly Jackson’s deformed children ties so neatly into the story. Makes you gasp when the twists come. Amazingly told tale. Fabulous!

 

A pleasure to read from beginning to end.

 

I will give it a 9/10

 

–        – Krishna

November 9, 2013

Book: Rutland Place by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 12:01 am

imageWe have reviewed some of Anne Perry’s books in the past. As always, this one is also a Victorian mystery with one of Anne’s favourite investigator Thomas Pitt playing a part. This mystery hits close to home for Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte.

Charlotte’s mother Caroline is distressed because a locket with the picture of a long-time crush is stolen. Picture is of Paul Alaric, a local playboy!  Happily married Caroline fears a scandal and still goes weak in the knees even now, whenever Paul even looks in her direction. Charlotte is scandalized.

The theft seems to be part of a broader series of events. Many items are stolen from various houses and Caroline feels watched. The sense of something not being right deepens when Mina Spencer-Brown, a wealthy neighbour is dead by poisoning.

There are many neighbours introduced, and their story told in parallel. For instance, Ambrosine Charrongton’s daughter Ottilie had died just a week before. Eloise Lagarde and her brother lived alone but Mina had a crush on him. Ambrosine’s daughter had died and she is the mother in law of Mina.

As in a classic murder mystery, suspicion falls on several people. When Charlotte suspects Lovell Charington of having murdered his daughter Ottilie, he takes her to a nightclub to prove she has not died. She only has become a bar singer, a huge scandal that they cover up by claiming that she is dead – one suspect freed from suspicion.

Tomrod Lagarde has an accident and becomes paralyzed and his devoted sister Eloise is beside herself with grief. Enough characters? In a small book, this makes your head spin a bit. This is no Game of Thrones Series to put in so many characters, now, is this?

Then the story twists around, with the denouement coming almost in the last page. The solution for the missing items is interesting. But the answer to the mystery is not.

Populated with Ada Church, the most famous musical performer, Amyrillis Denbigh a spiteful old woman, Dr Mulgrew who seems to be the physician for all these rich people, the story lacks the tightness of some of Anne’s best works, for instance Whited Sepulchres.

The book is not bad. But there is nothing to set it apart from any of the mysteries that abound. This book deserves a 4/10

–        – Krishna

October 20, 2012

Book: Cain His Brother by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:29 pm

This is another one of William Monk Adventures by Anne Perry. We have reviewed other Anne Perry Books  in this forum. Find these, if you are interested, using the Anne Perry Tag in this post.

This book has her usual Victorian setting. Here Monk, Hester Latterley and Rathbone figure in the understated triangle of affections, as usual. The story this time begins when Monk is hired by Genevieve Stonefield to find the whereabouts of Angus Stonefield, her brilliant businessman husband, a caring father of his children and as unlike his twin brother Caleb Stonefield as he is alike in appearance, the needle of suspicion points strongly towards Caleb. His wife suspects as much and his uncle, Mr Milo Ravenbrook, also suspects him chiefly as well.

Monk’s investigations reveal Angus to be totally devoted to Caleb, going over to meet him in spite of danger to himself and sometimes personal injuries, as seen when he returns from these meetings.

With Angus missing, Gienvieve is struggling to stay independent of Mr Ravenbrook and without the body to prove Angus dead, she may have to go live with Milo Ravenbrook. His wife Enid Ravenbrook is known to Hester and Lady Callandra as she is helping out
typhoid victims in the slums of England, and almost succumbs to the disease herself.

In the meanwhile, Monk meets the very beautiful and charming Drusilla Wyndham, and she seems to take a personal interest in his case, and more amazingly, in him. Monk is charmed and flattered and finds every excuse to meet and spend time with her. But when she suddenly frames him for assault and almost ruins his entire career, he is shocked and puzzled, as he can find almost no reason why she should do this. It takes all of Hester’s ingenuity to rescue him from this pickle.

In the meanwhile, Monk almost catches up with Caleb once, and before he infuriatingly escapes from the grasp of not just Monk but a whole assorted posse of policemen. But in a brief moment where they were face to face, Caleb admits that he has destroyed Angus and taunts Monk with the statement that he will never find the body of Angus to prove it. Here is an admission from the perpetrator himself, but there is no way to use it in court, even if they managed to catch Caleb.
The story unfolds with the usual personal issues of Monk and Hester and the unfolding surprises of the case Monk is investigating.

The story is told well, and is enjoyable. The minor twists and surprises exist here and some of them take you completely off guard, which is why Anne’s books are popular.

However, the main plot is hackneyed and I for one could guess the major twist about halfway through the book. In addition, unlike other Anne books, all the strands do not come well together, for instance the piece about Druscilla, though interesting, does not gel with the rest of the story.

And yet, the book is good, the tension is retained, especially in the courtroom scenes, and the denouement, though known in advance, is satisfying.

I would give it a 5/10

— Krishna

April 18, 2012

Book: A Sudden, Fearful Death by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 11:14 am

This tells the story of the violent death of a nurse, able one, very strong willed, with experience in Crimea with Florence Nightingale and comes from a well educated strata of society (no, Hester Latterley does not die) which in itself is unusual in Victorian times. The lady in question is Prudence Barrymore.

The story starts with Monk being hired to investigate an assault on the person of a London woman. With little evidence but with some legwork and brilliant deduction, he solves the case in short order. (You are left wondering how the book will move on at about 25 pages into it or so.)  Cleverly this, the strangulation of Prudence Barrymore,  forms the  backdrop for the real core of the book,

Runcorn, Monk’s ex superior wants to hang this one on the convenient peg of the only foreign doctor in the hospital with the strange accent. Lady Callandra Divot, one of the directors of the institution (and related to Hester) firmly believes his innocence and hires Monk to solve the mystery of who the real killer is.

For inside information, Monk arranges Hester Latterley to take up position in the hospital. When Monk turns up an explosive evidence that seems to implicate the chief surgeon (Sir Herbert Stanthorpe) of the hospital, Monk is relived of the case. But Sir Herbert hires Oliver Rathbone as his lawyer, and Oliver is convinced of his innocence, and he hires Monk to do further investigations because again the wrong guy seems to be accused of murder.

The plot, as you can see, meandears more than Anne Perry’s novels do, but if you like Anne Perry, this is one of her moderately good books that keep the interest alive, and the story moves along. The twist at the end is unusual, if a little cliched (considering how many authors have employed it) but it still managed to surprise me.

Well told, the Victorian elements are all there as in other Anne Perry’s novels.

I would say, definitely, a 5/10

— Krishna

April 11, 2012

Book: Whited Sepulchers by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:32 am

Another good book  by Anne Perry. For those of you who love the Victorian setting and the lifestyle in those times, like all of her other books, this one too has an abundance of the ambience created.  For other books reviewed in this Blog by Anne Perry, click here. )

The story is very gripping too. Sir Oliver Rathbone is approached by the brilliant architect Killian Melville to defend him in a breach of promise case by his employer Barton Lambert, he refuses to take the case as there is no valid reason why the situation cannot be explained away, and Killian seems to be wilfully heading into a case that could ruin his reputation and cost him his entire budding career for reasons that he would not explain to Rathbone. But in a moment of weakness, he changes his mind and agrees to represent him, to his later regret.

The case seems hopeless and is made worse by the sneering and obnoxious attorney for the Lamberts, Sachavarall. In desperation, he enlists Monk to discover what the hidden reason for Killian’s refusal is. The case seems hopelessly doomed to end in defeat for Rathbone and frustration for Monk, when the unexpected happens…

It is a very well told story, and one of the major denouements happen right about the middle of the story. The side story of Heather Latterly and her assignment to look after a disfigured soldier who returned from India and his young wife trying to come to terms with their lives changed for ever, the search of the missing, disfigured twins born to her sister by the housekeeper of that house etc are all twined into the main story skillfully.

It has the explosive twist that comes with the better stories of Anne Perry. It is sure to delight mystery fans, fond of an upgraded Agatha Christie like mystery…

I would give it a 7/10

— Krishna

March 30, 2012

Book: Bethelehem Road by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:31 am

This book is a rather disappointing offering from Anne Perry

Yes, the Victorian details are there, the Anne Perry imprimateur is also present, in describing the involvement of Thomas Pitt, his compassion, Charlotte and Aunt Vespasia’s detective work to help unravel the personal details of the people connected with murder. (Emily, Charlotte’s sister, is away in Paris and elsewhere on her honeymoon). And yet, the result is unsatisfactory.

Thomas is called in to investigate the murder of an MP in a brazen manner. His throat was slashed as he walked home from a late sitting of the Parliament, and that too on a bridge – a public place – and he was propped up tied to a lamp post with his own scarf! He is Sir Lockwood Hamilton and there was a wife and an adopted son, whose animosity with each other was interesting. Before Pitt could make headway, there is another MP killed in exactly the same way, Sir
Vivyan Etheridge, and the case takes a bizarre turn. Is it now a political crime? (The two had identical views – against giving women the right to vote – but so had most MPs). Anarchists were also suspected. (Which is by the way, historically correct. Anarchists were the feared terrorists of the turn of the last century and before, equivalent, though less able to cause so much mayhem, to the religious terrorists we find everywhere today).

Etheridge had caused deep offense by helping take away Florence Ivory’s daughter based on the accusations of her husband of Florence being an incompetent mother. Also, the son in law of Etheridge, James Carfax, was waiting for his death so that the considerable money he possessed could pass into the hands of the pliant and adoring wife of his, Helen Carfax. Could it be a personal vandetta after all, the first murder being a mistake, or worse, an attempt to hide this one in
the manner of ABC murders (Agatha Christie’s brilliant novel)?

Before they can unravel it, yet another MP is murdered in the same manner and the case looks hopeless…

Of course in the end they unravel it, but the disappointment is in the fact that there are no clues upfront as to who could be the culprit, and it is almost on the lines of  ‘Oh, by the way, the Butler did it!’. It is unsatisfactory, especially from an author who has made whodunits her genre.

For this reason alone, if nothing else,  it deserves only a 3/10

— Krishna

March 27, 2012

Book: Ashworth Hall by Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 1:06 pm

I view Anne Perry’s books as a kind of updated Agatha Christie mysteries, woven in a much more complex manner and set unerringly in Victorian times, as I have mentioned in a previous review of Bluegate Fields, another one of her books.

This book also set in Victorian times, a trademark  Anne Perry characteristic. Chief Inspector William Pitt is sent to Ashworth Hall, the mansion owned by Jack, who is Emily’s husband, to protect the participants of a large political group that discusses the vexed Irish Question. (Of course, it was very much an issue then too). Since no crime had actually taken place, Pitt goes as an invited family member, since Emily is the sister of his wife Charlotte. Tellman goes (disguised) as his valet, and Gracie of course, accompanies Charlotte as her maid.

A murder takes place under the very nose of Pitt and the person murdered is Ainsley Graville, the member of the group most likely to have driven the conference towards a solution. Jack takes his place temporarily and Emily is terrified for his safety, which only intensifies when he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Investigations reveal that  everyone  had an alibi and Pitt and Tellman are stumped, until Gracie’s keen eyes reveal some vital pieces of evidence that point Pitt  in the right direction.

The cast of characters includes important members of the delegation from the Irish and British sides, attempting to find a solution to the Irish question. Therein lies the weakness of this novel. Typically, you find empathy with the characters of Anne Perry’s novel. Here the cast of characters (at least to me) was so complex and non humane, that I needed to draw some kind of a chart to keep track of who is who and whose valet is who and whose maid is who!! Add to the fact that Ainsley’s son Pierre brings his fiancee Justin unexpectedly to the castle and announces her to his startled parents, the cast becomes a bit more complex.

There are some interesting things about the book in terms of the hatred that comes across between two groups that are purportedly meeting in a friendly atmosphere with the intent of solving a longstanding problem. Also the description of how facts and fiction intermingle to keep partisan views on each side alive is fascinating. Gracie’s romance with one of the valets is interesting.

However, the mystery in itself is weak, and the denouement weaker still. Missing is the usual Agatha Christie style cleverness in the story  and the stunning denouement that normally is present in many of Anne’s books.  (But not all, as noted in the review of Bluegate Fields

This is the least interesting book she has written (among the ones I read so far) and readers, except die-hard fans of Anne,  would be well advised to give this one a miss.

I would give it no more than a 3/10

— Krishna

March 23, 2012

Book: The Whitechapel Conspiracy By Anne Perry

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:23 am

For Anne Perry, this is an unusual topic to take. Usually, she writes like an Agatha Christie updated for modern times. As usual, she has set this one in Victorian England, and she has more than usual references to the political and historical happenings of the day.

This novel features Thomas Pitt and Charlotte Pitt. They are married now with two children, and Tellman and Gracie know each other very well. (Tellman is his assitant, who did NOT get along with him in earlier times in other novels.) They look like they are heading for marriage too. As I said before in an earlier review, Anne Perry sprinkles her mysteries with the personal lives and emotions of the detectives, which is nice.

Thomas Pitt’s evidence convicts John Adinett, in spite of otherwise lack of evidence on the charge of his murdering Martin Fetters. There seems to be no motive as Adinette and Fetters were the best of friends and held almost identical views and interests, but despite the lack of motives, the circumstantial evidence was strong enough for Judge Voisley to pronounce the death sentence on Adinette. It seems to be more complex than it actually is, when powerful forces are arraigned against Thomas Pitt, who is summarily ordered transferred to Bow Street, which is one of the worst and most unhygenic areas to assign a person to.

Charlotte is devastated, as Thomas has to leave the family and live there, maybe  forever. She sets out to find the motive for the murder (and thus the cause of her husband’s banishment) and slowly uncovers a fearsome conspiracy that attempts to change the fundamental way the British government is organized, leading to possible anarchy and chaos, in the name of eliminating injustice and order. A very powerful group of invisible patrons called the Inner Circle is determined to have its way and has punished Pitt with the transfer. Its reach seems to pervade even the police department that Pitt works for.

In the meanwhile Pitt is involved in uncovering a seemingly unrelated conspiracy to murder the sugar factory owner and make it seem like suicide.

Anne ties all these into a neat little knot, and also, unusually for
her, links it to a set of serial murders that rocked England at that
time.

It is classic Anne, except that there is no real great surprise at the end a la Agatha Christie. The ending is good, though, just different.

I would give it a 6/10.

— Krishna

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