(hb; 2008: twenty-fifth book in the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series)
From the inside flap:
"The Prince of Wales has asked four wealthy entrepeneurs and their elegant wives to the palace to discuss a fantastic idea: the construction of a six-thousand-mile railroad that would stretch the full length of Africa. But alas, the prince's gathering proves disastrous when the mutilated boyd of a prostitute hired for a late-night frolic (after the wives have retired to bed) turns up among the queen's monogrammed sheets in a palace linen closet.
"With great haste, Thomas Pitt, brilliant mainstay of Special Services, is summoned to resolve the crisis. The Pitts' cockney maid, Gracie, is also recruited -- to pose as a palace servant and listen in on the guests' conversations, scan their bedrooms, and scrutinize their troubled faces for clues to hidden rivalries and attachments that could have led to murder. If Pitt and Gracie fail to find out who brutally murdered the young woman -- as seems increasingly likely -- Pitt's career will be over, and the scandal may just cause the monarchy to fall..."
Good entry in the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series. Perry skillfully weaves most of the series' key characters (at least peripherally) into the storyline, though the set-up for the murders [and by extension, the identity of the killer(s)] are somewhat obvious.
It's not for the lack of feasible suspects, or red herrings: it's simply that, as an ongoing Perry reader, I was able to spot her plot set-up.
The denouement, quietly dramatic and ripe with future-novel animosities and twists, is a stunner.
Check this series out!
Followed by Treason at Lisson Grove.