If you are a fan of the Pitt mystery series, you will absolutely love the next installment by Anne Perry. Twenty-One Days, has the Pitt son, Daniel, now a newly minted Cambridge lawyer, defending accused murderers in court. Now of course, you want to root for young mister Pitt. Afterall his parents are legends. But you are not quite sure about his clients.
In truth, as with all good lawyers, he understands that it is his job to save the accused from the hangman. Unfortunately, even if it means the client is guilty. Of course, there is the oft heard excuse that lawyers are servants of the law, and in the place of justice lawyers are duty bound to follow the law as it is laid out. No doubt this does not sit well with Pitt-the younger. However he does his job.
What is interesting about this book, and all the Pitt novels, is that we are propelled back in time before DNA, before blood evidence, before fingerprints. The police really only had eye witness testimony, and circumstantial evidence to piece together crimes where the perpetrator was not caught red handed. Miscarriage of justice was rife throughout.
However, Daniel, being a decidedly modern youngman, uses the science route. He is able to extricate a client due to the new fangled fingerprint science. Unfortunately he is not given much time to savor his victory as the owner of his law firm unceremoniously puts him on another trial. But, there is something about this new trial, that leaves Daniel very uneasy. And here begins our new murder mystery.
There are twists, turns and an ending that you least expect. The new client, accused of killing his wife, is quite unlikeable, but is he really guilty? Simply because someone is a cad doesn’t mean they are a killer. Can science prove that he did not commit the crime? Why is everyone in his household so sure he is a murderer? Moreover, the accused, a biographer, in true tabloid fashion has some damaging information about Daniel’s father, which if Daniel saves his client may actually end up hurting the man he loves most in the world. Yet more importantly, the secrets that the biographer is threatening to expose may harm national security. So who committed the murder, and what was their real motivation? So, caught between his father, the law, and possibly abetting treason, what is Daniel to do?
Daniel though does not go into this battle alone. He has a new acquaintance, Miriam Fford Croft. A brilliant young woman who sat for her doctor and chemistry exams at Cambridge, passed with brilliant grades, but was refused her degrees because of her gender. She is a scientist, a doctor, a level headed young woman who becomes essential to Daniel’s science defense. She is also the daughter of his boss. What she discovers turns the case around.
There is the grateful client, and former policeman, Blackwell, saved from the hangman’s noose by fingerprint evidence, and his mother,Mercy, who investigate the deceased woman Ebony Graves. Who was she? What was she like? What is the true story of her life and marriage?
Then there is the estimable Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. Giving Daniel the support the needs and reminding him that honor and truth are the only hand he should work from. That he is supposed to try to save his client, even if it means public disgrace for his father. Duty comes first.
From the courtroom, to prison, to fashionable turn of the century London, once again the reader is drawn into the world of Edwardian England. From politics, to law, to societal upheaval it is all here in this novel. All having its own pull. All coming together to help solve a murder that may not have actually happened.
This book is available April 10, 2018.