I'm not sure why I enjoyed this one so much; it is not the most believable of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt novels, and at one point Pitt seems to contradict himself: he says he did not tell one character about X, when, in fact, it seems as if he did mention X. The plot is a bit convoluted in places and the pacing is alternately fast-paced and draggy.
I enjoyed the adventure into France, but less so the part in Dublin. I don't usually read Perry's novels for the extreme mystery but more for the atmosphere and characterization (though sometimes the characters run together). The characters are and are not products of their time, which is a bit annoying and a bit refreshing - you don't want someone living in 1895 to be too modern, too close to 2012 standards; at the same time, it can be frustrating. Charlotte goes off unchaperoned with a man to Dublin (unheard-of? or do we just think it's unheard-of?) but none of the characters, including Pitt, who grew up as the son of a workingclass man, thinks that there's much wrong with the dear old monarchy.
I have stopped collecting Anne Perry books, but I still am invested enough to find the latest one at a used book store just to keep up with what's happening, because in the end I do enjoy the escapism and the settings, but I admit I miss the more straightforward mysteries. The political plots are too convoluted and not nearly as fun to read as the earlier books, when we'd get to go to the dingy London underworld and the salons of the upper class and find out dark dirty little secrets. I do wish Pitt would go back to the police force! But I gave the book such a high rating because, when it comes right down to it, I had a lot of fun reading it - total escapism.