This novel is one of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, a favorite of mine. It's the Victorian era in London and in this story Thomas has been removed from the police in Bow Street to work in Special Branch. I love the characters, not only Thomas and Charlotte, his wife, but her aunt Lady Vespasia, the Pitt's servant girl Gracie, and Gracie's fiance Tellman who used to work with Pitt at Bow Street.
In this story anarchists are bombing poor neighborhoods and no one can understand why. As Pitt responds to a bombing, he and his boss Narraway follow the bombers to Long Spoon Lane where a shoot-out ensues. Afterward, a body is found and identified as the son of a member of Parliament who just happens to be a friend of Lady Vespasia's. What was he doing with the anarchists? Was he a hostage? Surely he couldn't have been one of them.
The investigation unearths police corruption in several stations including Bow Street which involves some high officials. Not knowing who to trust, except Tellman, Pitt sets out to get at the root of the problem and discovers very disturbing evidence. As usual, Lady Vespasia plays a vital role in the investigation.
Along the way as you read Perry's books you learn about Victorian London. There are scenes with the wealthy and powerful and others with the poorest of the poor. Tellman takes Gracie to the theater and you see what appealed to the masses at the time. There are scenes along the Thames and others in the slums, then the scene shifts to a drawing room of a wealthy family. I love this kind of thing and Perry is an expert at putting the reader right into each setting.
I dread the day I run out of Perry novels to read so I save them for just the right time. This one was certainly worth the wait.
Source: Trade with friend