Our protagonist Simon Becker is a Special Investigator for the British Crown tasked with "gathering evidence that determines whether or not someone is a Chancery Lunatic—afflicted with madness making them unfit to manage their fortunes—without tipping the hand of those whose resources often make them above the law."
There are two earlier novels featuring Simon Becker, but I didn't realize this when I read the book, which functions quite well as a stand-alone. However, since I found the novel quite entertaining, liked the quirkiness of Simon Becker's job, and found the characters intriguing, the earlier novels are on my library list.
There is no mention of William James, brother of Henry, but I wonder if Gallagher meant to call him to mind. At any rate, that is the William James the title suggested to me when I first saw it.
Stephen Gallagher has quite the background--no wonder the book appealed to me:
I will mention this one again closer to publication.
Historical Mystery. Sept. 30, 2016. Print length: 320 pages.