Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Daniel Pitt #3
Publication Date: 4/7/20
Number of Pages: 304
Tightly wrapped within the cocoon of this superb, well-plotted mystery series, you will find the nuggets of early forensic science. This story deals with the effect of arson and intense heat upon bones – particularly the skull – and the way an arrogant, self-centered, selfish, vengeful ‘expert’ can warp the judicial system for his own reward.
The story is tightly plotted, well written, and filled with historical accuracy. I loved Daniel Pitt immediately because I loved his parents first. Daniel is a wonderfully honest, dedicated, and very honorable twenty-five-year-old man who has been out of law school for just a couple of years. He’s on the bottom rung of the ladder at his law firm, fford Croft and Gibson, and rarely gets assigned a case himself. He sits as second chair to his friend and mentor, Toby Kitteridge.
When a young woman, Jessie Beale, arrives at the prestigious law firm and asks to see Daniel, it is because of an earlier case in which he had represented a party who was found innocent. It had seemed a near-impossible case, yet Daniel won it – and she wanted that same thing for her friend, Rob Adwell. After hearing what she had to say, Daniel couldn’t help but believe the man was guilty of the crime, but once he discussed it with Kitteridge and the firm head Marcus fford Croft, it was decided they would take the case. He was amazed when they won the case, but it was because of the expert forensic testimony of Sir Barnabus Saltram.
Weeks later, Daniel is called to defend Jessie herself. She is accused of murdering Rob in exactly the same manner as the first murder occurred. As Daniel investigates, he begins to wonder if his client might not be guilty of not one, but two murders. Yet, because of the expert testimony from Adwell’s trial, he can only assume she will be found innocent. That tears at him because he will be a party to letting a murderer go free. What a conundrum our erstwhile young lawyer has found for himself. How can he meet his obligations to his client and his conscience at the same time?
As more things emerge and information shifts, attacks happen, the tale gets filled with more twists and turns. Will Daniel’s minor case end up turning Britain’s justice system and the fledgling forensic sciences field on its head?
Miriam fford Croft is the forty-year-old daughter of Marcus fford Croft, Daniel’s boss. Miriam is a woman who has suffered for the times. She’s brilliant, dedicated, educated, and without a college degree or credentials even though she has completed all of the coursework and received exceptional marks. The field of forensic science is not one that is available for women. I have to say, I was a bit concerned about Miriam in about the first 35-40% of the book. She seemed to have given up on her pursuits and was feeling pretty ho-hum. Then, she perked up and things got moving for her. I was happy for her to finally come to some sort of resolution within herself.
I loved Miriam and Daniel working together and solving issues. I loved Miriam’s courage in the face of social ruin and I loved that Daniel let her make the decision about how to continue.
I keep wondering if there is going to be a May-December romance between Daniel and Miriam. They certainly care for each other, but is it romantic? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.