This second case for fledgling Edwardian lawyer Daniel Pitt (Twenty-One Days, 2018) shows him making a serious bid to emerge from the long shadow of his father, Sir Thomas Pitt, head of Special Branch.
Daniel hasn’t seen his elder sister, Jemima, since she moved to America and married police officer Patrick Flannery. Now his brother-in-law introduces himself to Daniel with a disconcerting request. Rebecca Thorwood has been attacked in her bedroom and robbed of a diamond pendant by a fleeing assailant her father, Washington philanthropist Tobias Thorwood, has identified as British diplomat Philip Sidney. Before he could be arrested, Sidney fled to the British Embassy and then sailed for England, where he’s claimed diplomatic immunity. Could Daniel help make him pay for his outrage, for example by arranging for him to be arrested on some other charge of which he could be tried and convicted? While Daniel’s puzzling over whether and how he really wants to get entangled in this case, Sidney is providentially arrested on a charge of embezzling embassy funds while he was still in America, and Daniel, at Patrick’s urging, insinuates himself onto his legal team, aiming to provide a defense just plausible enough to allow him to be convicted. Two sudden turns change his plans dramatically: Senior barrister Toby Kitteridge is forced to withdraw from the defense, leaving Daniel as Sidney’s sole attorney and under significant pressure from head of chambers Marcus fford Croft to get him exonerated; and the body of Morley Cross, the embassy staffer who compiled an extensive dossier of evidence against Sidney, is fished out of the Potomac River shot to death. Now Daniel wonders if his client really is guilty of assault, theft, embezzlement, murder, or none of the above.
Veteran Perry dials back the period detail and the updates on the lives of the continuing characters to focus on one of her most teasing mysteries, this time with a courtroom finale that may be her strongest ever.