In this 13th outing for Victorian-era Police Inspector Thomas Pitt and his well-born wife Charlotte (Belgrave Square, etc.), it's Gracie, the Pitt maid of all work, who uncovers the most telling and dramatic clue. The story starts with the poisoning murder of Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Stafford, in his box at the theater. Pitt's job is to determine whether the motive is connected to the hanging execution, five years before, of Aaron Godman, convicted of a particularly gruesome killing that roused anti-Semitic hysteria at the time. On the day of his death, Stafford had visited several of the lawyers involved in the Godman trial and subsequent appeal. Had he found something that might clear Godman's name--the goal of a persistent campaign by Godman's actress sister Tamar? Could the discreet affair between Stafford's wife Juniper and lawyer Adolphus Pryce have a bearing on the crime? When Constable Paterson, a major witness in Godman's trial, is found hanged in his bachelor lodgings, the case assumes an urgency that pushes Gracie to the impulsive act that marks the beginning of the end. Perry's expert hand with the Victorian scene is verbosely overplayed here, as is the florid, not-always-convincing plot. The same mixture, then, but suffering an attack of bloat.