This was my second Anne Perry book and I liked it even more than the first! Set in Victorian England the murder mystery has so many ups and downs - all the while our detective pitting himself against the combined power of the aristocracy at its very height - Queen Victoria's son who seems ineffectual, puny and very aristocratic.
A prostitute is found dead with her throat slashed - in a linen cupboard of all places. But and this is the significant but - it is no ordinary linen cupboard - it is a cupboard at Buckingham Palace and the prostitute was brought in (along with another two ladies) to entertain the Prince and two others. So she was there officially and accounted for. Then she was discovered naked, murdered and wrapped in monogrammed sheets of the Queen. The only suspects are HRH The Prince and his four friends. All four influential, rich and aristocratic and all needing a kick in the ass. The men are infuriating, condescending in the extreme and all intent on fixing the blame for the murder on someone other than their exalted selves. They are also rude and crude to the detectives who are trying within very narrow parameters to solve this crime.
Fortunately we have Pitt, a man of ordinary, simple beginnings, not intimidated by any of them and determined to solve the murder. The only Royal who saves the day is the Princess - known for her humanitarian approach and kindness as against the pomposity and priggishness of the other characters. I liked the twists and turns of the book and I admired Pitt's tenacity along with Phipps (who was a housemaid in Phipps's own house) who became the eyes and ears of Pitt inside the palace acting as a housemaid in order to uncover any hidden agenda amongst the staff.
Another interesting facet of Anne Perry is that she herself was convicted for murder - a particularly brutal one - where she and her friend repeatedly hit her friend's mother (49 times) with a brick, so that they could kill her. Escaping the death penalty Perry whose actual name is Juliet Hulme was sentenced for five years and then released. Whether her knowledge of crime and prison and detection aided her in her prolific career is anyone's guess.
I am back in Sri Lanka after a three week stay in Melbourne. Glad to be back home returning to hubby, but very sad to leave the three children behind. Such is life!