Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
When a group of powerful Irish Protestants and Catholics gather at a country house to discuss Irish home rule, contention is to be expected. But when the meeting's moderator, government bigwig Ainsley Greville, is found murdered in his bath, negotiations seem doomed. To make matters worse, it appears the late Greville may have led a less than savory personal life.
Unless Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, can root out the truth, simmering hatreds and passions may again explode in murder, the home rule movement may collapse, and civil war may destroy all of Ireland. . . .
Originally published: 1997.
7 11 89
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Having mastered all the elements of top-notch historical fiction and mystery plotting, Perry adds high political drama to her Victorian-era Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. When prominent Irish Catholics and Protestants meet at Ashworth Hall to discuss legal reform, police superintendent Thomas Pitt (with his assistant, Tellman, reluctantly posing as valet) is charged with the task of discreetly guarding the meeting's chairman, Ainsley Greville of the Home Office. The assignment is natural, since Ashworth belongs to Emily Radley, Pitt's sister-in-law. Religious and national hatreds promptly crack any veneer of civility. But angry words over tea are merely prologue: Greville, considered indispensable to a peaceful resolution of Ireland's troubles, is murdered in his bath. While Pitt and Tellman ascertain that the murderer is neither an intruder nor a servant, Jack Radley, Emily's husband, assumes Greville's role and the meetings continue. Although Pitt learns that the philandering Greville was as likely to be murdered for personal reasons as political ones, Emily remains terrified for Jack's safety, and rightfully so: her guests' appetite for blood is far from satisfied. As absorbing and elegantly constructed as last year's Pentecost Alley, this mystery speaks directly to what is still a current political issueDand offers some very harsh words about the romanticization of historical grievances. By commenting on the seductive dangers of allowing anger to become habit, emotion to circumvent reason and legend to supplant history, Perry addresses much more than any one political problem, past or present. Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Perry, the reigning queen of historical mysteries, adds another jewel to her crown with this latest story, featuring Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt of Scotland Yard and his wife, Charlotte. It's 1890, and the recurring "Irish problem" has England and Ireland in turmoil. Leaders from the warring factions have been invited to a country-house party to try to establish a peaceful compromise, with Ainsley Greville, consummate politician, chosen to lead the meeting. Scotland Yard is fearful that violence will erupt, given the high emotions, long-standing hatreds, and volatile tempers of the participants. Who better to safeguard Greville and the other participants than Pitt? The meeting begins with high hopes--until Greville is found murdered. Pitt knows that the peace process, the future of the two countries, and certainly his own career hang on whether he can find Greville's killer. Perry's gift is her superb mastery of authentic period details and her ability to bring history alive with carefully crafted plots. Her latest story is especially fascinating, providing a glimpse of the history behind the current situation in Ireland. An intriguing read with well-drawn characters and some unexpected twists, this book is sure to be a hit with Perry fans. Expect high reader demand, and buy plenty. --Emily Melton
Kirkus Book Review
There's trouble afoot as negotiators open a crucial 1890 conference on the fate of Ireland. Magnetic Protestant Nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell is snarled in the divorce that will bring him down and leave the country leaderless. Closer to London, the conference chair, Ainsley Greville, has already survived one assassination attempt, but a Battersea constable who infiltrated the local Fenians has been less fortunate. Since his wife's sister will be hostess of the gathering at Ashworth Hall, Bow Street Supt. Thomas Pitt reluctantly agrees to attend, keenly aware of the parvenu status that makes even the subordinate masquerading as his valet look down on him. The stage is set for violence--but hardly for the romance Kezia Moynihan discovers when she surprises her brother, extremist Protestant negotiator Fergal Moynihan, in flagrante with nationalist poet Iona O'Leary, wife of equally rabid Catholic negotiator Lorcan McGinley. Murder follows apace, and although Perry (Weighed in the Balance, 1996, etc.) seems more assiduous in pursuing the finer points of backstairs blarney (the Pitts' maid Gracie is smitten by McGinley's valet) than in unraveling the mystery, the air of pumped-up intrigue is skillfully maintained till the abrupt final curtain. The Troubles perfectly suit Perry's gift for rooting large- scale social conflict in the minutiae of domestic intrigue. Fans of the series will be delighted. (Author tour)