Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Acceptable Loss and Execution Dock, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Dorchester Terrace and Treason at Lisson Grove. She is also the author of a series of five World War I novels, as well as nine holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Homecoming, and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Byzantine Empire. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.
At the start of Perry's searing 18th William Monk Victorian historical (after 2011's Acceptable Loss), repeated screams prompt Monk, commander of the Thames River Police, to start rowing for shore. He disembarks at Limehouse Pier, where he encounters a hysterical woman pointing to an eviscerated female corpse. After identifying the victim as Zenia Gadney, the detective learns from Gadney's neighbors that she used to have a regular gentleman caller, who stopped visiting a few months earlier. Later identified as Dr. Joel Lambourn, the doctor took his own life soon after the government rejected a report he'd written advocating accurate labeling on opium products. Lambourn's researches prove to be of vital importance in cracking the murder case. After Monk begrudgingly arrests a suspect, his continued police work is supplemented by the courtroom efforts of Sir Oliver Rathbone, who has been retained for the defense. Much more than a whodunit, this book, possibly the author's best yet, is especially effective at providing a nuanced look at a vital controversy of the day. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.