This novel comes quite far on in a series featuring Pitt, Anne Perry’s later 19th century detective figure and, while the story stands alone, it seems like a novel that would be improved by being read in its place in the sequence. Standing alone, it felt a little slight – tantilising hints of that offer a baffingly incomplete glimpse into the regular characters’ depths start to irritate after a while.
The story follows the aftermath of the murder of a prostitute in the guest quarters of Buckingham Palace, currently occupied by a group of businessmen pitching an ambitious trans-African railway project to the Prince of Wales, and their wives. The plot is pleasingly twisting but hampered by the fact that the murderer is obvious from the start and his motives apparent not long after.
The sections told from the point of view of one of the businessmen’s wives offers interesting insights into the lives of upper-class women, but at the price of a soapy star-crossed lovers sub-plot.
Enjoyable while it lasts, but utterly forgettable after the last page.