cover image LONG SPOON LANE


Anne Perry, . . Ballantine, $25.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-345-46927-4

Carnage comes early in Perry's engrossing Victorian historical, the follow-up to Seven Dials (2003), when Special Branch investigator Thomas Pitt is summoned in the middle of the night to the aftermath of a bombing, the work of unknown anarchists intent on wreaking havoc in London in revenge for high-level police corruption. The chase leads to the group's lair in an abandoned building along grimy Long Spoon Lane, where the body of Magnus Landsborough, son of a well-connected lord, raises disturbing questions about both the young man's association with the underground cell and police procedures to combat terrorists. Pitt and fellow detective Victor Narraway soon find themselves up against a powerful secret society known as the Inner Circle. True-to-life parliamentary debate ensues over how much power police should be granted to quash the anarchist threat to Queen and country. The action slows when myriad characters, including wives, servants and politicians, hold excessively detailed discussions of the case, but the pace picks up with a spirited pursuit through London and across the Thames. Perry manages to paint a convincing historical backdrop with echoes of modern-day fears of urban terrorism. Agent, Donald Maass. 12-city author tour. (On sale Mar. 29)