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by Anne Perry
Ballantine, April 2022
304 pages
ISBN: 0593358732

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THREE DEBTS PAID by Anne Perry is a suspenseful tale that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. A serial killer is on the loose in London and people are fearful of being in the streets. This murderer, known as the rainy-day slasher, attacks his victims during heavy downpours, slashing their bodies and then mutilating them by cutting off the top joint of a finger. Daniel Pitt, a young barrister and the son of Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, is drawn into the investigation when he visits his old friend Miriam at a workplace, a pathology lab. She has recently earned her degree and is one of a very few female pathologists in London. When Daniel arrives, she is working on the body of one of the victims. They begin to discuss her findings, and Daniel is drawn into the case. He is also very drawn to Miriam, although he is fifteen years her junior.

He is already involved in a case of his own, that seems quite simple on the surface. A famous history professor and writer, Nicholas Wolford, has been accused of plagiarism, and this accusation outraged him to such a degree that he had a physical altercation with his accuser, seriously injuring the man. Professor Wolford is a difficult client, however, and Daniel has a hard time making him understand how he must approach the case, that he must make the jury understand that being accused of such a career-destroying act provoked his assault. But Professor Wolford is unpredictable and often seems out of control.

Detective Ian Frobisher, an old friend of Daniel's, is in charge of investigating the murders. His job becomes more difficult when he is warned off looking too deeply into the life of the last victim. As he follows various leads, he realizes that the victim may have been involved with Special Branch—sort of like our CIA-- and his activities warrant secrecy. How can he pursue his investigation if he is being constricted in this way? Daniel's father Sir Thomas Pitt is in Special Branch and through Daniel, Ian is able to discuss the case with him.

Ian tries to find a relationship between the three victims. As he looks into the people who may have known all of them, he discovers that they all seem to have had some sort of connection to a blind reverend and his wife. How could these kind people be involved?

All of the threads and people in this novel come together in a most satisfying and unpredictable conclusion. THREE DEBTS PAID is the best Daniel Pitt novel to date.

§ Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, June 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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