When a distraught young woman begs Daniel Pitt to defend her boyfriend from charges of arson and murder, Daniel is duped into taking a case where his client might in fact be guilty. He turns to Miriam fford Croft, a female scientist in the male-dominated world of 1910 England, for help. Fire is not her specialty, however, and she refers Daniel to Sir Barnabas Saltram, a man with whom she has a complicated past relationship and a forensic expert on the effects of fire on the skeleton. Even though Saltram wins the day for Daniel, later events prove that his science might be more showmanship than truth. Will Daniel be brave enough to make an enemy of the powerful Saltram and clever enough to overturn an unjust ruling?
A play in three acts, this book gradually ratchets up the tension by piling successive law cases on each other, each one with higher stakes than the last. Daniel and Miriam’s romantic interest continues to simmer, and we learn more about Miriam’s university days back when Saltram was her salacious instructor. Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, from Anne Perry’s previous series, provide needed insight for their son, and the case (which starts as a struggle for leadership in a local gang) soon has ramifications across the decades. As usual, Perry makes a compelling mystery with memorable characters. Recommended.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.