For Miriam Gardiner, at her engagement party at the London home of her fiance, Lucius Stourbridge, it should have been one of the happiest days of her life. But, leaving suddenly, Miriam disappears without a trace. Reluctant to cause a scandal, Lucius seeks out William Monk and tells him that the only lead concerns their coachman, Treadwell, who ...
For Miriam Gardiner, at her engagement party at the London home of her fiance, Lucius Stourbridge, it should have been one of the happiest days of her life. But, leaving suddenly, Miriam disappears without a trace. Reluctant to cause a scandal, Lucius seeks out William Monk and tells him that the only lead concerns their coachman, Treadwell, who is also missing. Monk, not usually a sentimental man, is moved by Lucius's distress, and assumes that his recent marriage to Hester Latterly is to blame. When Treadwell's murdered body is found, Monk becomes convinced that his death is linked to a terrible secret in Miriam's past that someone, desperate keep it hidden, has killed for, and may well do so again, unless he can stop them.
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Anne Perry's mysteries are always so well researched that they are totally engrossing, and edge-of -the seat exciting, history lessons.
This book is one of the Inspector Monk series and I can't say it is the best because they are all so excellently done.
In this one, a well-to-do young man's fiance bolts in the middle of a party but why? He comes to William Monk to find the reluctant bride.
Monk's wife, Hester, is a nurse in a time when nurses were so low on the social scale that they were paid, partly, in ale. Now that she is married, she is working as a volunteer in a hospital. She had been with Florence Nightengale in the Crimea during that brutal war, and had learned to do real nursing, as we think of it today. However, the establishment in England stil does not recognize nurses for what they can do for the patients.
She wokrs with some nurses who are good at their jobs and even one who goes out to help in her community.
Monk's case takes him to the neighborhood where this nurse lives, and visits, thus Hester gets drawn into the investigation.
Between the search for the missing woman and the secrets the characters are hiding, we have an abundance of suspects. I never figured out the right one but I came close.
Read the book and see how you do with Perry's misdirections and twisting plot.
You will have a thoroughtly enjoyable read.
Feb 8, 2008
Perry at Her Best
There are times when I feel hoodwinked by Ann Perry when she contrives a surprise ending with no hints--indeed, being led away from important clues. This is not one of her writings, which are prolific by any standard. This mystery is part of the Monk series, whose characters, by this time, are part of my own family. The novel has two or three themes, all of which were dealt with in a brilliant fashion. It features Monk's wife, Hester, one of Florence Nightingale's nurses in the Crimean War, her husband William, now a private detective, and a young man who has fallen in love with an older" woman, who runs away just before their marriage. The second (recurring) theme is the way nursing evolved into a profession in England. The third theme (if it is a separate entity) involves how the world's poor and elderly are treated even to today. The three plots intertwine in a complicated but fascinating narrative. The end, which I could not even imagine, stunned me. (Having read almost all of POerry's books, I didn't think it could happen.) I hesitated to get to there, waking up in the middle of the night to sneak a peek at the next pages or chapter, but limiting the amount I read, as if it were a delicious chocolate.. You will love this book!
Publishers Weekly, 1999-08-23 In this 10th entry in the popular series featuring prickly English investigator William Monk and his equally prickly bride, nurse Hester Latterly (A Breach of Promise, etc.), Perry mulls over the moral justification of criminal acts. Just back from his honeymoon in the summer of 1860, Monk tries to locate Mrs. Miriam Gardiner, a comely widow who inexplicably fled in a coach from her wealthy young fiancÚ's home. Monk's search takes him to Hampstead Heath, where the coachman's body is found?murdered, he deduces, by a single blow to the head. Could Miriam have struck that deadly blow as she fled, and if so, why? Cornered at last, Miriam refuses to explain her behavior or implicate the coachman's murderer, even though Monk suspects she's the victim of some atrocity. Meanwhile, Hester gears up to defend Cleo Anderson, a saintly nurse who admits to filching hospital supplies to treat impoverished war veterans. Plot mechanics grind away as Perry strains to connect the two crimes, resolving matters with an ending that reads like Henry Fielding without the laughs. Fans of earlier Monk and Latterly mysteries may enjoy Perry's sometimes overwrought depiction of the two-career couple negotiating who cooks supper, but the many other anachronisms just don't wash (says Hester's colleague: "you want to have nurses visit the poor in their homes? You are fifty years before your time"). Despite the characters' tendency to sermonize self-righteously, Perry's theme is the hazy nature of guilt?a topic sure to intrigue those who've followed her career. For thrills, however, readers should turn to other books in the series. Mystery Guild selection; Random House audio. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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