I have only read the first several books in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, so it was quite a change to fast-forward ahead to book #32! Instead of being a lowly policeman, Pitt is now the head of Special Branch, a mysterious wing of the government that investigates treason, espionage, and any murders related to the aforesaid.
The story opens with Queen Victoria commissioning Pitt to investigate Alan Kendrick, a questionable associate of the Prince of Wales. The last person that Victoria asked to investigate Kendrick has died under mysterious circumstances. The Queen needs to know just what Kendrick is involved in before his connection with the Prince of Wales can damage the reputation of the British Crown.
Pitt, understandably, takes the assignment very seriously and does NOT want Charlotte butting her nose into such a perilous and classified case. Being the good helpmeet that she is, Charlotte can’t resist providing her assistance. While Pitt calls on old allies to get close to Kendrick, Charlotte enters the high society world of Kendrick’s wife. Between the two of them, the Pitts soon uncover some perplexing secrets with profound political implications for the sunset of the Victorian world.
Throughout it all, Pitt struggles to shoulder his new and weighty responsibility as head of Special Branch. With the secrets of British intelligence at his disposal, he must decide on the morality of blackmail in the midst of a high stakes game. If the good of the British Empire demands that he “get his hands dirty,” should he abandon his own code of ethics?
This book was a satisfactory, although somewhat slow-paced, mystery and Pitt’s solution in the final pages showed finesse by both the character and the author. I enjoyed how this mystery tied so directly into British history, and it makes me interested in learning more about the Prince of Wales who succeeded Victoria as Edward VII.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publishers via Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.