Besides having a short amount of time, penetrating an opaque mist of secrecy surrounding each inhabitant and solving additional mysteries arising from each clue make solving the case more difficult for both men. As Pitt tries to make sense of his discoveries inside Buckingham Palace, he finds himself entangled in a web of moral decay in which the most respectable of men will compromise himself for selfish interests. He is appalled to find the epitome of propriety teeming with greed, hedonism, and personal suffering. Meanwhile, Narraway seeks additional help from contacts who take him into the Africa wilderness where a scandal from years ago proves to be his most significant clue.
By illustrating how her characters of all classes grapple with following their consciences or their professional duties, and how some people will disregard human life for personal gain, Perry, again, provides a lot of insight into human psychology and social customs of Victorian England.