cover image The Whitechapel Conspiracy

The Whitechapel Conspiracy

Anne Perry. Ballantine Books, $25 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-345-43328-2

In her 21st novel featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, Edgar Award-winner Perry pulls out the stops and delivers one of the finest performances of her career. Four years after the Ripper terrorized London, Thomas's testimony in a murder case is enough to convince a jury to convict distinguished soldier John Adinett of the murder of his friend, Martin Fetters, despite Adinett's having no clear motive for the killing. Upon conclusion of the case, Thomas finds himself removed from command of the Bow Street Station and sent to work undercover for the Special Branch in the East End. Somehow, unknowingly, he has offended the powerful members of the sinister Inner Circle, and his banishment to the slums puts him in the middle of alleged anarchist plots and dangerous conspiracies. His only allies are his wife, Charlotte, their servant girl, Gracie, and his subordinate officer, Tellman. As a team, they dig into the puzzle behind the Adinett-Fetters murder, believing that, if they can understand why the murder occurred, they can restore Pitt to his job. What none of them realize, however, is that the murder is only a small part of a terrifying conspiracy, one that threatens the very fabric of English society. That the conspiracy itself is so plausible is a testament to Perry's knowledge of her period. This is a mesmerizing and suspenseful tale, rich in period detail, rife with articulate and believable characters. (Feb. 1)