Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry

First Sentence:  Daniel rang the doorbell, then stepped back.
Jemima Pitt has returned to England with her American policeman husband Patrick.  As well as visiting the Pitt family, they’ve come to ask a favor of her brother Daniel, now a lawyer.  British Diplomat Philip Sidney attacked Jemima's friend, Rebecca, in her bedroom and stole a necklace whilst Philip was stationed in Washington, D.C.  Under protection of diplomatic immunity, he returned to England.  Jemima and Patrick want Daniel's help in bringing Sidney to justice.  Brought up on charges of embezzlement, Sidney asks Daniel to represent him.  After a murder back in Washington, and the possibility of the case becoming a major international incident, Daniel, along with forensic scientist Mariam fford Croft, travel to the Channel Island to learn the truth.
One often worries as to what an author will do when the protagonist of a long-running series ages.  Ms. Perry solved the problem by having the protagonist's children age as well and now, for the second time, we have Daniel Pitt stepping into the foreground.  So as not to lose readers, new or old, Perry summarizes the backgrounds of the members of the Pitt family.  This is particularly helpful to those who are new to Anne Perry's very well-done historical mysteries.
The story, quite appropriately, raises the issue of prejudice against Jews and the Irish, the latter seamlessly incorporated by the fact of Rebecca's husband, and Daniel's brother-in-law, both being of Irish heritage.  That there is a role-reversal between Jemima and Patrick when discussing Rebecca's situation is interesting and very well done.  Penny does a masterful job of presenting both sides of the situation and its possible outcome.  Moreover, she places doubts in one's mind regarding the motives and possible guilt of the characters.  There is so much "here" here.
Perry can make even basic English cooking sound delicious—"Lamb chops; the freshest of peas, as mild and delicate as possible, with a little mint and plenty of butter, and boiled potatoes." However, the transition from food to a very astute observation—"Have you noticed how often it is not the crime or the disaster of a scandal that brings down an otherwise great man, but the lies he tells to avoid admitting it?"—is extremely well done.
Perry's characters are some of the most fully-developed one will find. Each has complexity and definition.  Even the most severe of them can occasionally make one smile; if not at a bit of dialogue, then at the very human attributes.  Mariam fford Croft is one such character and, true to form, only Perry could create such a strong connection between two characters without its being romantic.
The occasional bon mot lightens a scene—"Not another corpse to dig up, I trust?  You're a little early.  We don't do that sort of thing until midnight.  It tends to disturb the locals." Those are balanced by ideas that make one stop and consider—"We all make mistakes, Jem.  It's how we live with them afterward that matters.  Accept that we really were wrong, don't make excuses or blame anyone else.  The moment you say 'I was wrong' you can begin to move on."
"Triple Jeopardy" is an extremely well-done story of families, loyalty, and betrayal.  Filled with excellent characters, it is brought to a dramatic and explosive conclusion.

TRIPLE JEOPARDY (HistMys-Daniel Pitt-London-1910) - VG
      Perry, Anne – 2nd in series
      Ballentine Books – April 2019

1 comment:

  1. I really do like Perry's ability to evoke that earlier time. She's very skilled at setting the context, I think. And it sounds as though that works well here, too. Glad you enjoyed it.