Among Anne Perry's other novels featuring investigator William Monk are Weighed in the Balance, Cain His Brother, and Defend and Betray. She also writes the popular novels featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, including Pentecost Alley, Traitors Gate, The Hyde Park Headsman, Highgate Rise, Ashworth Hall, which was a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and Brunswick Gardens. "Her grasp of Victorian character and conscience still astonishes, said The Cleveland Plain Dealer about the author. Hundreds of thousands of readers agree.
Although lacking the panache of last year's Weighted in the Balance, William Monk's eighth outing adds to Perry's convincing yet disturbing picture of early Victorian London. Hired to find men whose evening entertainment runs to raping and beating prostitutes in the slum of St. Giles, Monk soon brushes up against murder: Leighton Duff, a respectable solicitor, was found beaten to death in St. Giles, with his son, Rhys Duff, nearby, barely alive. Despite his receiving excellent care from Hester Latterly, the nurse with whom Monk shares a volatile relationship, physical and emotional injuries have reduced Rhys to virtual silence: he can't speak and his hands are broken. Inquiries conducted by Monk and by the police suggest that Rhys was in the right place to beat the women (which interests police not at all) and murder Leighton (which interests them greatly). But, as in other Perry mysteries, it takes more than one perspective to reveal the truth, and Latterly maintains that Rhys, despite his displays of inarticulate rage, is innocent. When Latterly recruits barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone to Rhys's cause, and Sir Oliver naturally hires Monk to gather evidence, the investigator must question what he thinks he knows. Although the young man's silence and the suspicions surrounding him are ultimately resolved and tied neatly into the plot, readers may feel they are bearing the weight of this contrivance like so much overpacked luggage. (Oct.)
Prolific murder-mystery writer Perry has evaded the scientific precision of modern forensic fact-finding by weaving current-day issues and characters into a richly detailed Victorian-era milieu. One man is found murdered and another on the edge of death in the notorious London slum called St. Giles. Although it looks as if they may have engaged in a mortal fight, they are in fact father and son from a well-to-do family. Later, links develop between these men and a series of violent rapes of prostitutes. Hester Latterly, nurse and protector of the surviving son, Rhys, counterbalances detective William Monk in their mutual pursuit of the truth. By the novel's end, revelations of corruption and depravity break through the severe conventions of upper-class Victorian prudery in a dramatic courtroom scene. Perry followers and others will enjoy this new addition. Highly recommended.‘Michelle Foyt, Fairfield P.L., Ct.
"[Perry's] early-Victorian series . . . has deepened and darkened its insights into the social evils that burdened London's underclasses."--"The New York Times Book Review""The action careers between the low- and high-born in Victorian society. The denouement is shocking, and the characters are so richly drawn that you'll miss them when they're gone."--"Los Angeles Times""From the Trade Paperback edition."