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by Anne Perry

Pub Date: April 11th, 2023
ISBN: 9780593359129
Publisher: Ballantine

Barrister Daniel Pitt is thrown into the prosecution of a powerful man accused of a swindle that will remind readers of much more recent times than 1912.

Already thrown off balance by the retirement of his father-in-law, senior partner Marcus fford Croft; his replacement by Gideon Hunter KC; and the elevation of his own brilliant but untried friend Toby Kitteridge to head of chambers, Daniel is knocked off his feet by Hunter’s determination to lead the prosecution of wealthy, socially connected Malcolm Vayne, whose advanced views on women’s suffrage have won him admirers even more numerous than the investors whose money his Big Ben Investments has lost. Convinced that Vayne has been running a Ponzi scheme dependent on endless waves of new investors to pay off the old, Hunter presses Daniel to serve as his junior counsel on the case. The trial is a disaster from the first witness, businessman John Sandemann, who abandons his earlier account about Vayne’s wrongdoings to sing his praises effusively. Vayne’s international liaison Richard Whitnall, a second witness, doesn’t answer the summons to testify because he’s lying on his kitchen floor with a knife in his belly, and others offer testimony a great deal more muted than Hunter and Daniel had been led to expect. The outcome of the trial will be determined largely by two women: Nadine Parnell, the bookkeeper who does her best to lead the jury through the layers upon layers of Vayne’s fraud, and Daniel’s wife, pathologist Miriam Pitt, who could dispel the rumors that Whitnall’s death was a suicide if she hadn’t been kidnapped, driven to Northumberland, and stashed away in a tidal cave.

Familiar fare well served in Perry’s plush, comfortable prose.