Clemency Shaw, the wife of a prominent doctor, is killed in a tragic fire in Highgate. But the blaze was deliberate, so was she or her husband the intended victim? Could the doctor have set it himself to inherit Clemency's large fortune? While Inspector Thomas Pitt tries to build a case from the scarce clues, his wife Charlotte retraces the dangerous path that Clemency walked in the last months of her life, finding herself enmeshed in a sinister web that stretches from the lowest slums to the loftiest centres of power.
From the Back Cover
FAMILY SECRETS UP IN FLAMES
A ferocious fire shocks genteel Highgate Village. But when it proves to be arson, Inspector Thomas Pitt finds himself in charge of a complicated case of murder.
While the city of London and Bow Street station reel from the repulsive crimes of Jack the Ripper, Highgate remains untouched. But its cosy society is not as spotless as it would like to appear. Dr Shaw has made many enemies there with his outspoken opinions and the common view is that he was the intended victim of the blaze. But his wife had been campaigning against slum landlords, thus gaining powerful enemies herself. And she is the one who has died.
Inspector Pitt and his aristocratic wife, Charlotte, approach the case from different angles. He has the opportunity to question suspicious neighbours and dismissive colleagues, but her access to Society gossip can lead to unexpected clues. And unexpected dangers …
Praise for Anne Perry
“She has carved a substantial career as a writer … her books have a strong social and ethical element”