Death might be commonplace in 1857 in the Royal Free Hospital in London's Gray's Inn Road, but murder certainly isn't. When the body of Prudence Barrymore, a gently bred, dedicated and passionate nurse, is discovered stuffed into a laundry chute no one - high born or low - can be beyond suspicion. But the police seem determined to concentrate ...
Death might be commonplace in 1857 in the Royal Free Hospital in London's Gray's Inn Road, but murder certainly isn't. When the body of Prudence Barrymore, a gently bred, dedicated and passionate nurse, is discovered stuffed into a laundry chute no one - high born or low - can be beyond suspicion. But the police seem determined to concentrate their efforts on proving Dr Kristian Beck the culprit - because he is foreign. Concerned and unhappy with this state of affairs, Lady Callandra Daviot of the Board of Governers asks Investigator William Monk to pursue the case. Monk, frustrated by the lingering traces of amnesia caused by an accident, agrees, and calls upon his old colleagues to aid him. Hester Latterly, an independent young woman who served with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, knew the dead woman there; Hester's profession provides the perfect cover for her to obtain work at the Royal Free. And Oliver Rathbone, a brilliant barrister, who is brought in as counsel for the defence. But under the ever-present shadow of the gallows, and inching towards the appalling solution, the three begin to despair of justice ever prevailing.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-09-06 In this surpassingly excellent historical and psychologically intricate mystery, the fourth to feature ``inquiry agent,'' William Monk, former policeman in Victorian England, Perry ( Defend and Betray ) makes deft use of history to cast additional light on modern-day issues. After determining, with sorrow and anger, the identity of the man who raped a young woman in the garden house of her sister's home, Monk investigates the fatal strangling of a dedicated young nurse in a London hospital. Hired by his benefactress, Lady Callandra Daviot, who sits on the hospital's Board of Governors, Monk discovers in the victim's letters suggestions of a broken relationship with Dr. Herbert Stanhope. Stanhope is arrested for the murder and engages counsel Oliver Rathbone to disprove his guilt. Rathbone, in turn, asks Monk to continue his probing of the murder. Unconvinced of Stanhope's innocence but ``sure there is more to the story than we have discovered so far,'' Monk agrees. Aided by his friend, nurse Hester Latterly, and by Lady Callandra, Monk probes the murky, limited strata of women in Victorian society, realms that are harshly illuminated during Stanhope's lengthy, riveting trial. The plot follows a dark and twisting course as Monk and the others, including Rathbone, attempt to ferret out the facts of the case and serve both truth and justice. 50,000 first printing; author tour; Mystery Guild selection. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1994-08-29 In this excellent historical mystery, Victorian detective William Monk investigates the suspicious death of a young English nurse. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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