Just about the weakest of Perry's Victorian mysteries for Inspector Thomas Pitt (low-born) and wife Charlotte (high-born)--with endless chat, little humor, and a clichÃ‰d surprise solution. At first the only crime involved is theft: Charlotte's mother on classy Rutland Place is missing a locket--which just happens to contain the picture of a man other than Charlotte's papa! Then, however, neighbor Mina Spencer-Brown dies, apparently of poison. And as Charlotte sleuths she realizes that Rutland Place has been simmering with adulterous tendres, gossip, blackmail, etc.--with the focus on a gentleman-neighbor whom the dead woman seems to have adored. Was Mina killed because she nosily knew someone's secret? (That of Charlotte's mum, perhaps?) Or because her passion was in conflict with someone else's? The answer is an over-familiar Victorian shocker--and, aside from the nicely un-lethal explanation of one red herring (a possible second murder), there's virtually no zest here to balance the talky soap-opera.