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Not everything in England was merry

Perry’s Pitt struggles  in new job,  thwarting terrorists and subversives

By Lucia Anderson

For The Free Lance–Star

COULD the assassination of a minor Austrian royal pitch the whole of Europe into war?

See Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Sarajevo, August 1914.

Anne Perry has taken that reality and moved the premise back to 1896. Thomas Pitt has just recently been named head of Special Branch, charged with keeping Britain safe from terrorists and other subversives.

He learns of a possible plot to kill an Austrian duke while that worthy is on his way to London to visit the English royal family. Such an occurrence would be a horrible embarrassment to British security forces, and, given the touchy state of European alliances, could easily lead to a major conflagration.

Pitt can’t pin anything down, and officials in the Foreign Office are less than helpful.

Pitt’s innate doubts about his competence are exident   here, his first really important case in such an exalted position. Is a former policeman, son of a gamekeeper, really up to the task?

Since everything about his job is now a state secret, Pitt can’t confide in Charlotte as he used to do as a policeman. Nevertheless, she and her Aunt Vespasia manage to get themselves involved in pulling threads out of the tangle, as does Victor Narraway, Pitt’s predecessor at Special Branch.

There are a couple of seemingly unrelated murders and a lot of ferreting out before everything comes right in the end.  Pitt fans won’t be disappointed.

Lucia Anderson  is a freelance writer  in Woodbridge.


By Anne Perry

(Ballantine, $26, 352 pp.)


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