The Whitechapel Conspiracy

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The Whitechapel Conspiracy is Anne Perry’s twenty-first mystery in her Thomas Pitt series, and like its predecessors, it features the paraphernalia, manners, and language of late Victorian England.

The plot relies on complications that accrue from the murder of Martin Fetters, an antiquarian, by his friend John Adinett, an adventurer, both of whom support the republican ideals of the revolutions of 1848 in Europe. At first Fetters’ death is regarded as a suicide, but Thomas Pitt, a police detective, proves it is murder, and so Adinett is found guilty and hung, without revealing his motive.

Adinett had belonged to an Inner Circle of upper class republicans, including Charles Voissey, an appeals court judge furious at not being able to reverse Adinett’s verdict. As for Pitt, he is banished by the Inner Circle from his police work in Bow Street to the East End, London’s most volatile slum, as an undercover agent for the Special Branch, which fears an uprising in the district. In their attempt to uncover why Adinett killed Fetters, and thereby rescue Pitt from disgrace, Pitt’s wife Charlotte, their housemaid Gracie Phipps, and Pitt’s former sergeant Samuel Tellman mount their own investigation.

While Pitt stays with a Jewish couple, does odd jobs for a silk weaver, and works as a nightwatchman in a sugar factory for his cover, Charlotte and Fetters’ wife Juno hunt for Fetters’ secret papers, and Tellman and...

(The entire section is 441 words.)