Death with a Double Edge: A Daniel Pitt Novel

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Trish MacEnulty

In Anne Perry’s latest mystery, solving murders is a family affair. Daniel Pitt, a junior barrister in a respected London law firm, is the son of Special Branch head Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, the sleuths in another of Perry’s mystery series. When police ask Daniel to identify a murder victim, he discovers that the corpse belonged to a distinguished colleague in the same law firm. Brutally stabbed with a double-edged blade in Mile End—a notoriously dangerous London slum—Jonah Drake performed legal miracles in the courtroom, but he led a lonely personal life. Daniel’s parents offer advice and support as Daniel combs through Drake’s earlier cases in the hunt for clues to his death. His father joins in the investigation when the son of a powerful shipping tycoon, whom the dead lawyer once proved innocent of murder, is also slain.

The story takes place during the run-up to World War I, when Britain must maintain its naval superiority at all costs. The government is anxious to protect the shipping magnate from scandal even though he is “a frightful man,” and this dilemma adds a fascinating historical aspect to the novel. While Sir Thomas Pitt tries to steer Daniel clear of political trouble, the costs of compromise prove too steep when villains threaten Charlotte’s life. Then father and son must work together quickly to save her.

The book gets bogged down in legal minutiae in the early chapters, but once the investigation gets underway, the pace picks up, turning into a veritable page-turner as we get close to the finish line. Perry is a skilled craftsperson, and she delivers an exciting and satisfying resolution.