Hester Monk's voluntary work in Coldbath Square is increasingly demanding. Every night she tends to a stream of women of the streets who have been injured or become ill as a result of their trade. But the injuries are becoming more serious, and now a body has been discovered in one of the area's brothels. The dead man is none other than the ...
Hester Monk's voluntary work in Coldbath Square is increasingly demanding. Every night she tends to a stream of women of the streets who have been injured or become ill as a result of their trade. But the injuries are becoming more serious, and now a body has been discovered in one of the area's brothels. The dead man is none other than the wealthy and respectable Nolan Baltimore, head of Baltimore and Sons, a successful railway company. With calls for the police to clean up the streets, Hester decides she must intervene to protect these women who stand to lose everything. Meanwhile her husband, William Monk, has been approached by Katrina Harcus, who suspects that the company her fiance works for may be guilty of fraud. That company is Baltimore and Sons. As Monk endeavours to prevent a serious crime, possibly even a tragedy, taking place, he faces some staggering revelations. And with the link between the two cases becoming ever clearer, Monk finds that the time has come to confront his own demons - even if it means losing all that he now holds dear...
Publishers Weekly, 2002-09-09 Bestseller Perry's latest novel (after 2001's Funeral in Blue) to feature mid-Victorians William Monk and his wife, Hester, offers an ingenious and baffling plot, compelling characters, both major and minor, plus plenty of courtroom drama, but is something of a diamond in the rough. In London's East End, Hester, a former nurse with Florence Nightingale, has established a shelter for prostitutes where the ill and injured can be treated. One night, a well-known railway magnate is found dead in a nearby brothel, and the police presence in the area grinds the illicit business of the pimps and prostitutes to a halt. William, meanwhile, has undertaken a private investigation into possible fraud. His client, the fiance of a young executive for the same railway as the murder victim, fears her betrothed may be implicated in the fraud scheme. As William recognizes parallels with the past, memories that he lost in an accident seven years earlier start to haunt him. Unfortunately, the book suffers from hasty execution, as reflected in repetitious phrasing, pronouns with unclear antecedents and confusing narrative transitions between Hester and William and between William in the present and William before his amnesia. The result is a challenging read, though established fans will likely forgive the author her lapses because she tells such a wonderful story. (Oct. 1) Forecast: Perry is also the author of the Thomas Pitt Victorian series, most recently Southampton Row (Forecasts, Jan. 14), which was up to her usual high standard. Pressure to deliver the same quality on the first of her forthcoming WWI quintet may account for the relative weakness of what seems like a wrapup of the Monk series. Nonetheless, this entry should sell well enough. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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