One Fatal Flaw (Daniel Pitt Mystery 3)

Written by Anne Perry
Review by K. M. Sandrick

A man is found dead from head trauma in the rubble of a burned-out factory. A rival gang member is put on trial for his murder. A high-profile independent forensic specialist leads a jury to acquittal, testifying that the trauma was an accident of the fire and its excessive heat. Months later the gang member himself is found dead in similar circumstances. Have barristers from the fford Croft legal chambers been duped by a budding criminal mastermind, manipulated by a self-serving forensic scientist, or led astray by nascent criminal sciences?

One Fatal Flaw is third in the series of Daniel Pitt legal thrillers set in 1910 London. The Daniel Pitt novels are themselves spinoffs of Anne Perry’s highly successful Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Victorian mysteries, focusing on Charlotte’s and Thomas’s son, the 25-year-old junior barrister in the fford Croft legal chambers. Characters are rich and multi-faceted, and their development skillfully merges details from the past with hints of the future. Young women, in particular, are fleshed out in unexpected-of-the-times ways.

The reliance on courtroom testimony detracts, however. The cases tried in court are so similar that the testimony and machinations of legal counsel become repetitious. A tangential scene that threatens Daniel Pitt’s friend, Miriam fford Croft, with fiery injury is gratuitous. The denouement is abrupt and therefore not wholly satisfying. One Fatal Flaw, nonetheless, captivates with both major and minor characters that readers will look forward to following.