Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Fatal Flaw by Anne Perry
Series: Daniel Pitt #3
Published by Ballantine on April 7, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
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When a desperate woman comes to Daniel Pitt seeking a lawyer for her boyfriend, Rob Adwell, Daniel is convinced of the young man’s innocence. Adwell has been accused of murder and of setting a fire to conceal the body, but Daniel is sure that science can absolve him—and Miriam fford Croft is the best scientist he knows. Miriam connects Daniel with her former teacher Sir Barnabas Saltram, an expert in arson, and together, they reveal Adwell’s innocence by proving that an accidental fire caused the victim’s death. But it’s not long before Adwell is killed in the same fiery fashion. If these deaths are, in fact, murders, what essential clue could Daniel and Miriam have missed?
As their investigation deepens, one of Saltram’s former cases comes into question, and Miriam finds herself on the defensive. If the reasoning Saltram used in that case is proved false, several other cases will have to be re-tried, and Saltram’s expert status—not to mention Miriam’s reputation—will be ruined. Haunted by Saltram’s shady tactics in and outside of the classroom, Miriam is desperate to figure out truths both past and present and protect herself in the face of Saltram’s lies. What started as an accidental fire in Adwell’s case seems to be linked to a larger plot for revenge, with victims accumulating in its wake, and Miriam and Daniel must uncover who or what is stoking these recurring flames—before they, too, find themselves burned.
A tender heart and a crusader for justice spirit lands young lawyer, Daniel Pitt, in a maelstrom of fire when one arson murder becomes two and an expert witness gets debunked in a spectacular way placing Daniel, and even his family and friends, in danger. It built slowly, but when it got there the tension was breathlessly taunt in this historical mystery by a favorite author.
One Fatal Flaw is the third of the Daniel Pitt series which originally spun from the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series. The story could standalone, though it is also strongly connected to what comes before both in the series and the previous series.
One Fatal Flaw is set in 1911 when England is in the last years of the Edwardian Era and seeing great advancements in the sciences, specifically forensic science. This latest Daniel Pitt tackles arson. Daniel is a young, intelligent, and hardworking, but he can lead with his heart which lands him and his friends into all sorts of trouble including this latest case about poor warehouse gang members. Daniel is a junior at Marcus fford Croft’s law firm and meant to assist Kittering, a promising trial lawyer. I have to laugh each time because the senior Kittering ends up being dragged into troublesome underdog cases by Daniel each time. Daniel does the investigating and Kittering does the trials and Miriam fford Croft and Dr. Ottershaw act as the forensics team for the firm. Love seeing them all working together on these intense cases.
The previous books focused mostly on Daniel, but this one split the narration between Daniel and Miriam. This is because Miriam was at the heart of the story. She is a woman interested in forensic science which is a career closed to her, just as she studied at university and took all the classes, but could not have the actual degree. For the sake of justice and her friendship with Daniel (which I keep thinking is slowly turning into something more- very slowly, but there), she goes to a person from her past, sacrificing pride to ask one of her old professors now a famous and brilliant forensic expert to examine the evidence to see if there is anything to get Daniel’s client off. Miriam faces her inner demons in this one, just as Daniel gets a bit more of his naïve newbie shine wiped away when he makes mistakes and learns a lesson about reading people and their motives.
The author writes her characters, their situations, the historical backdrop and social history so articulately and brilliantly. There are layers of development that immerse the reader in the people and their story, so it’s not just a historical mystery. This one does have some disjointed places and got off to a slower start, but that didn’t stop me from engaging completely with the story once it got rolling.
Like earlier books by the author, I can highly recommend this one/series to historical mystery fans.
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