William Monk, a private detective suffering from amnesia, is asked to work on a case involving possible railroad fraud which seems closely related to one in his past by a young lady whose finace may be involved. In seeking to find out if there is fraud, he must also delve into his past and perhaps discover his own secrets. Hester, Monk's wife and a nurse, is running a clinic for prostitutes. A rich business man also involved with the railroads has been found murdered in the area and the police are cracking down trying to find the killer. The police presence is causing a slowdown in business for the prostitutes and many are being beaten by their pimps. Hester gets involved to try and help them. Anne Perry paints a picture of the seamier side of 19th century England.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein
Ballantine, Oct 2002, 25.95, 352 pp.
William Monk considers himself very lucky that Hester loves him as much as he loves her. Their marriage is a good one despite the fact that William still suffers from amnesia and much of his past remains a blank. As an enquiry agent, William takes on various cases that his clients don't want the police to know about, such as the one with Katrina Harcus
Katrina wants Monk to find out if her suitor, Michael Dolgarno, a junior partner in a company building railroads, is involved in illegal activities, possibly land fraud. The deeper Monk digs into the case, old memories begin to reawaken and the enquiry agent is afraid that at one time he may have been involved in something illegal. Unable to turn for comfort to Hester, Monk is determined to find out the truth about his past once and for all and though he knows his client is a fool he starts making inquiries.
Fans of this series will be delighted to know that the tortured hero finally regains a good chunk of his memory and with it a measure of peace. The story line is fascinating with a climax so shocking that readers will remember it in the years to come and wonder how Anne Perry will top this vivid picture of what it means to be poor in the mid-eighteenth century England.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner