When the body of a man is found on the steps of General Brandon Balantynes posh Bedford Square home, Superintendent Thomas Pitt is called in to investigate. Though Balantyne denies knowing him, the dead man was clutching a snuffbox that came from Balantynes collection. The investigation is going to be more difficult than Pitt imagined not only because of Balantynes social position, but because the identity of the dead man is unknown.
Pitts wife Charlotte was born into a superior station in life, and is most helpful. Using her charm, Charlotte visits the General as a friend and learns that he had been a victim of an unusual form of blackmailno demands, yet he received a letter stating that an unpleasant story about him would be publicized.
Both Charlotte and Thomas feel that there must be a connection between the dead man and the blackmail letters, and Pitt uses all the technology available to him in 1890 to solve the crime.
Played out against the very real Tranby-Croft scandal of 1890, BEDFORD SQUARE is a multi-layered novel of deception, love, murder, and ultimately, the meaning of honor. This is a fabulous series, and Charlotte and Thomas are a great sleuthing couple. (Apr., 330 pp., $6.00)