Book Reviews

Book Review: Three Debts Paid

By Anne Perry

Publication Date:  April 12, 2022

304 pages

Anne Perry is one of my favorite authors in the historical mystery genre.  The late Victorian era comes alive in the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt and William Monk series and I eagerly read each installment for years.  I took a hiatus for a year or two and found myself in a situation I’m sure others would also find themselves in when they step away from a prolific author – trying to catch up with a new series.  Fortunately, I was able to jump right back in and wondered why I’d strayed in the first place.

Three Debts Paid is the fifth installment in the Daniel Pitt series.  Daniel, the son of Thomas and Charlotte, did not follow his father into the police force or Special Branch, but rather into law.  In this novel, Daniel takes on the defense of his former Cambridge history professor who was publicly accused of plagiarism and subsequently charged with assault.

I enjoyed seeing the grown-up Daniel and the attention and care he gave to the case, which was made much more difficult by his defendant’s ego.  I also loved the subtle and sweet romance between Daniel and Miriam fford Croft, a pathologist forging her way in a man’s occupation.  I may go back to read the previous books in this series just to see how this unlikely romance blossomed.

The real standout character in this novel was Inspector Ian Frobisher, who led the investigation into a serial murderer dubbed the “Rainy-Day Slasher.”  Three people with no apparent connection to each other were viciously stabbed to death.  The only thing in common with the killings, aside from the killer’s signature, was that they all happened on rainy, winter evenings.  Ian has very little to go on to link the victims and, making his investigation almost impossible, Special Branch orders that he must not investigate the third victim. But without that connection, he has no way of identifying the killer before he strikes again. 

“Three Debts Paid” interpreted by Wombo Dream

As I’ve come to expect from an Anne Perry novel, period details are so deftly woven in that the world of late Edwardian London comes alive.  She is very much a character-driven novelist so readers who enjoy fast-paced thrillers might find her books a bit slow, but I appreciate the attention she gives to developing every relationship, whether they be for a main or supporting character.  As expected, there were several red herrings inserted in the story to keep the reader guessing the killer’s identity.

I did find a few things repetitive in the novel, particularly with backstory, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of diving back into Anne Perry’s London.

An engrossing read, I rated this novel 4 stars.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I want to thank Random House and NetGalley for providing access to this Advance Reader Copy.  I have left an honest review voluntarily.

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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