Thomas Pitt has angered the Inner Circle, a secret group controlling the Tories, so much that he will not be allowed to return to Bow Street. In fact, he cannot even take a well-deserved family vacation but must report to the Special Branch division for a new case.

Charles Voisey, a Tory and Pitt's archenemy, is running for a seat in Parliament, a seat that has always gone liberal. His opponent, Aubrey Serracold, seems a certain winner but the Special division wants to make sure there's no chicanery going on and that, in the upcoming election, peace is kept. Pitt is ordered to keep his eye on things.

Although Pitt's suspicions are always aroused by the Inner Circle, there is nothing to rile him up until a medium, Maude Lamont, is killed. Serracold's wife had been involved with the medium and scandal is sure to brew. Pitt can't help but wonder if this is a simple case of murder or something more sinister, an Inner Circle plot that would ensure victory for the Tories.

As always, Anne Perry makes the dangers and intrigues of the Victorian era bloom into life. Some mystery fans, however, may feel that the emphasis placed on political conspiracy detracts from the murder mystery. (Mar., 336 pp., $25.00)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg