The Fourth Enemy
Following up Perry’s longer-running Pitt series, this sixth in the Daniel Pitt series opens on a cozy domestic scene of father-daughter and husband-wife. Barrister Daniel Pitt (a suggestive name from British history) is married to a pathologist, Miriam, who is also the daughter of his employer, Marcus fford Croft, now the retiring head of a prestigious chambers at the Old Bailey. The subsequent choice of a new lead “silk,” Gideon Hunter KC, sets off a series of events in the lives of Miriam and her younger husband, Daniel. They have been married three months, and it shows in their tenderness, fervent glances, and sweet smiles. They have a lot to lose, in more ways than one. Miriam works at the city morgue as assistant to her mentor, another woman. Women unafraid to contribute to and take charge in this changing society is a heady, underscoring theme.
Gideon Hunter, known for his brilliance, has flamboyantly chosen to prosecute a splashy first case, potentially risking the chamber’s reputation, with Daniel as junior counsel. It’s 1912, anarchy is shaking Europe geopolitically, and England is at risk. The accused is a wealthy newspaper mogul, a well-known and celebrated Londoner with political ambitions. He also happens to support many charities and the suffrage movement. The novel’s first half progresses along the pretrial evidence gathering of fraud charges: a pyramid scheme that bilks the poor and middle classes.
Once the courtroom drama begins, the plot’s twisting and turning hardly subsides: the murder of an important witness complicates the trial, followed by another brutal attack and wild kidnapping, a change of scenery to an isolated northern coastline in a daring rescue. Meanwhile the reader dashes across pages to a satisfactory conclusion. Only an expert writer creates the interrelationships and psychology of so many characters.