Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Buckingham Palace Gardens and Long Spoon Lane, and the William Monk novels, including Execution Dock and Dark Assassin. She is also the author of a series of five World War I novels, as well as seven holiday novels, most recently A Christmas Odyssey, and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Scotland.
The strain of publishing two major novels a year continues to show in bestseller Perry's 14th historical to feature private inquiry agent William Monk and his wife, Hester, despite the fresh start for Monk, who has recovered from the amnesia that afflicted him in Death of a Stranger (2002). In the autumn of 1873, because he needs the money, Monk agrees to recover valuable cargo stolen from a ship waiting to be unloaded at an East End London dock for the ship's owner, Clement Louvain, with the proviso that Louvain will also prosecute the thieves for murdering the ship's watchman. Monk enlists the aid of a young Cockney orphan, Scuff, who doubts Monk's ability to investigate a Docklands crime: "Yer in't got the wits fer it, nor the stomach neither. Yer stick to wot yer can do-wotever that is." Meanwhile, Hester, who receives no pay for the clinic she runs for streetwalkers, must deal with an unexpected death that she suspects may be murder. Unfortunately, the author too often tells rather than shows. The reader waits impatiently for the "ruthless" Monk to say or do something that suggests that quality. Still, with its focus on the lower classes and the Thames, the plot will resonate with fans of Dickens's riparian novel, Our Mutual Friend. And, as always, Perry uses her characters and story to comment on ethical issues that remain as relevant today as they were in Victorian times. Expect another bestseller. Agent, Donald Maass. (On sale Apr. 27) FYI: Perry has recently edited a mystery anthology with a Charles Dickens theme, Death by Dickens (Forecasts, Feb. 23). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In her 14th William and Hester Monk mystery, Perry continues to explore the ethical vicissitudes of Victorian London. Private investigator William is hired by Clement Louvain to recover ivory stolen from Clement's ship just arrived from Africa. Hester's clinic for prostitutes is strapped for money, but matters take an even worse turn after Clement deposits a woman there identified as a friend's spurned lover. The woman is killed, and the Monks work separately to solve several related mysteries and protect London from a deadly epidemic. The Shifting Tide is more talky than usual for the author and drags in places, but, as always, the characters and their milieu remain vivid. Perry wraps up the moral dilemmas created by Clement's greed with a powerful conclusion as a Dickensian nightmare turns Melvillean. David Colacci's reading is both subdued and stirring. Recommended for popular collections.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.