...when I went into the library ... and looked around at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might dream or idle exactly as I chose ... how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that brought me here ... — from Elizabeth and her German garden, by Elizabeth von Arnim
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April 6, 2018
As a devoted reader of series mysteries, there is a long list of writers whose books I look forward to, and a long list of writers who write long lists of books. :) Anne Perry is one of them; I have greatly enjoyed her historical mysteries about Thomas and Charlotte Pitt and William and Hester Monk. Like most good series, in my humble opinion, the pleasure of reading them is as much (more, really) about the characters and their personal and family lives than about the mysteries they solve. So when I read the last, and apparently the last, Thomas Pitt novel last year, I liked the hint that Anne Perry was going to take the series in a new direction, bringing in some new characters along with the old.
Time has moved forward, to 1910, and Thomas and Charlotte's son Daniel is now a young lawyer, placed in prominent chambers through the intervention of his father. As the book opens, he's in over his head, defending a roguish special agent accused of murder. It's only a small spoiler to say that he succeeds, because he's immediately called away to assist a more senior lawyer in representing a famous biographer accused of murdering his wife. When there's a guilty verdict, the lawyers have only the statutory 21 days to file an appeal, or find another culprit, before their client is hanged. When their client won't talk, the elderly head of chambers tells Daniel to "act like a detective" and investigate.
What Daniel finds could ruin the reputations, and the lives, of characters in the earlier series, and as a plot device in this one, it seems a little over the top. Daniel thinks and talks a little too much like his father to be an especially interesting new character, though there are other promising ones, such as Miriam, the daughter of the head of chambers, who has studied medicine and does autopsies in her basement. But all in all, I didn't mind; the sameness in these books has always been part of their charm, this is a very creative way to continue a series, and I'll look forward to reading the next book.
Twenty-One Days is being published next week by Ballantine Books; it was a treat to read and enjoy it a little early, courtesy of NetGalley.
Twenty-One Days: a Daniel Pitt novel
Ballantine Books, 2018
Advance copy, courtesy of NetGalley
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