Terrorism isn’t just a 21st-century issue. Even Victoria’s England was rife with treason, murder, socialism and blackmail. Thomas Pitt is getting a crash course in conspiracy, with his wife Charlotte’s help. Opening with a murder and laying the groundwork for a tense confrontation in the halls of the queen’s favorite residence, Perry gives readers another top-of-the-line Victorian mystery.

It’s 1895 and violent political unrest is sweeping across Europe, heading straight for the Home Office. Inspector Thomas Pitt, late of the Special Branch, follows an alleged terrorist from London to France. In the meantime, Victor Narraway, Pitt’s superior and friend, is removed from office after being accused in the death of an Irish informant. Knowing her husband’s career is linked to Narraway, Charlotte accompanies their old friend to Ireland to clear his name. It’s soon clear that both men are on a wild goose chase and Pitt begins to wonder why they’ve both been drawn away from home at this crucial time. Both realize they’ve been duped and that not only the British Empire but also, perhaps, the monarchy itself is in jeopardy. (BALLANTINE, Apr., 320 pp., $26.00)

Reviewed by: 
Pat Cooper