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Sexual violence is at the heart of bestseller Perry's engrossing 28th Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novel (after 2012's Dorchester Terrace), set in 1896 London. Pitt, the new head of Special Branch, and his ousted predecessor, Victor Narraway, are about to leave a party when a police officer informs another guest, financier Rawdon Quixwood, that his wife, Catherine, is dead. Pitt and Narraway accompany Quixwood to the financier's house, where they find the wife's battered body. After being raped by her assailant-someone she apparently let inside-she drank a fatal dose of laudanum. Later, Angeles Castelbranco, the Portuguese ambassador's daughter, plunges to her death in an effort to escape the rake who had been tormenting her. Pitt learns that she, too, was the victim of sexual assault. In an intriguing twist, Quixwood provides the alibi for the suspect in that case. Perry does a nice job exploring late Victorian attitudes toward sex crimes. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maas Literary Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.