Three Debts Paid: A Daniel Pitt Novel

Written by Anne Perry
Review by Trish MacEnulty

For those of us who love a legal thriller mixed with a murder mystery, Perry’s latest Daniel Pitt novel provides the perfect rainy-day pleasure. Taking place in the gloom of winter in 1912 London, a sinister atmosphere pervades throughout the story. Daniel Pitt is the lawyer son of Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, the protagonists of another of Perry’s series. In this novel, Daniel shares the stage with his friend, Inspector Ian Frobisher, and his love interest, Miriam fford Croft, a budding forensic pathologist. The presence of these two intelligent and sensitive characters substantially enhances the pleasure gained from reading the book.

While Daniel figures out the legal maneuverings to save an ill-tempered, but brilliant former professor from public humiliation and possible financial ruin, Ian is on the trail of the “Rainy-Day Slasher,” so dubbed by the press for slashing his victims during rainstorms so violently that one character protests, “It doesn’t rain like this in hell. If it did, it would put out all the fires.” Miriam, meanwhile, is in the morgue with her mentor, the fierce Dr. Hall, puzzling over the mutilation of the victims’ corpses, testing her mettle for the first time in the “real world.” Daniel becomes involved in the case because of his growing affection for Miriam, but none of them seems able to solve it or figure out what a blind priest has to do with the murders.

The solution to the crimes comes on yet another stormy night and brings with it more than one surprise. The gloomy wintry atmosphere of 1912 London is a character in its own right. This series gets better with each installment, as Daniel comes into his own as lawyer, and as Miriam’s presence in his life grows. But my favorite character, whom I hope we’ll see more of, is without a doubt the widowed police detective Ian Frobisher.