For readers everywhere, the arrival of a new novel featuring Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, is cause for rejoicing an occasion to bask once again in the matchless panorama of life in Victorian England, where gaslight gleams on cobblestones and silver spoons clink gently on fine china; where honor and shame keep close company; where the end is sometimes used to justify the most murderous means. The Whitechapel Conspiracy is the series masterpiece, based on real events that shock us today as much as they chilled Londoners more than a century ago.
It is spring, 1892. Queen Victoria persists in her life of self-absorbed seclusion. The Prince of Wales outrages decent people with his mistresses and profligate ways. The grisly killings of Whitechapel prostitutes by a man dubbed Jack the Ripper remain a frightening enigma. And in a packed Old Bailey courtroom, distinguished soldier John Adinett is sentenced to hang for the inexplicable murder of his friend, Martin Fetters.
Though Thomas Pitt should receive praise for providing key testimony in the Fetters investigation, Adinetts powerful friends of the secretive Inner Circle make sure he is vilified instead. Thus Pitt is suddenly relieved of his Bow Street command and reassigned to the clandestine Special Branch in the dangerous East End. There he must investigate alleged anarchist plots, working undercover and living, far from his family, in Whitechapel, one of the areas worst slums. His allies are few among them clever Charlotte and intrepid Gracie, the maid who knows the neighborhood and can maneuver it without raising eyebrows. But neither of them anticipates the horrors soon to be revealed.
The Whitechapel Conspiracy resonates from the degraded depths of the East End to the seats of the mighty. Anne Perry weaves history into a rich and seamless tapestry of suspense.
The Whitechapel Conspiracy
The courtroom at the Old Bailey was crowded. Every seat was taken and the ushers were turning people back at the doors. It was April 18, 1892, the Monday after Easter, and the opening of the London Season. It was also the third day in the trial of distinguished soldier John Adinett for the murder of Martin Fetters, traveler and antiquarian. The witness on the stand was Thomas Pitt, superintendent of the Bow Street police station.
From the floor of the court, Ardal Juster for the prosecution stood facing him.
"Let us start at the beginning, Mr. Pitt." Juster was a dark man of perhaps forty, tall and slender with an unusual cast of feature. He was handsome in some lights, in others a trifle feline, and there was an unusual grace in the way he moved.
He looked up at the stand. "Just why were you at Great Coram Street? Who called you?"
Pitt straightened up a little. He was also a good height, but he resembled Juster in no other way. His ...
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